Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Indecency

Subscribe to Indecency RSS Feed

Ten Years After Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Clothing Malfunction, FCC Indecency Rules Remain in Limbo

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Indecency, License Renewal, Programming Regulations
Last night’s Super Bowl didn’t offer much in the way of excitement on the field, as the game was seemingly over by the end of the first half.  But, for the last decade, the half-time show itself may offer some anxiety to the stations carrying the game.  10 years ago, Janet Jackson had her infamous … Continue Reading

What’s Up in Washington For Broadcasters in 2014? — Part 1, FCC Issues

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Uncategorized
It is the beginning of another year – and a time to look ahead to look ahead at what broadcasters should expect from Washington in the coming year.  With so many issues on the table, we’ll divide the issues into two parts – talking about FCC issues today, and issues from Capitol Hill and elsewhere … Continue Reading

Odds and Ends: Extension of Biennial Ownership Report Deadline, $110,000 Penalty for Indecency, Deadline for UHF Discount Comments, and Closing of the LPFM Window

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Television
Last week brought a number of Washington developments that we’ll write about in more detail soon, including the FCC’s decision to relax the limitations on foreign ownership of broadcast stations.  But there were also a number of other actions that bear mention – including the decision released late Friday to extend the deadline for the … Continue Reading

Tom Wheeler Confirmed As FCC Chair – What Broadcast Issues Will the New FCC be Addressing?

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Programming Regulations, Uncategorized
At long last, it appears that we will soon have a complete FCC, as the Senate has approved the nomination of Tom Wheeler to be the next FCC Chairman, and Michael O’Rielly for the other vacancy on the FCC.  The nomination of Mr. Wheeler had been held up by Senator Ted Cruz on grounds that he … Continue Reading

August FCC Regulatory Deadlines for Broadcasters – Including Renewals; EEO; Comments on Indecency, the Online Public File and Cross-Ownership

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fees, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues
Another month is upon us, along with all of the FCC regulatory obligations that accompany it. August brings a host of license renewal obligations, along with EEO public file obligations in a number of states, as well as noncommercial Biennial Ownership Report filings in several states. We also expect that the FCC will notify stations of the … Continue Reading

July FCC Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Children’s Television Reports, Indecency and Ownership Comment Deadlines

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, General FCC, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
July has many FCC obligations for broadcasters, both regularly scheduled and unique to 2013. There are the normal obligations, like the Quarterly Issues Programs lists, that need to be in the public file of all broadcast stations, radio and TV, commercial and noncommercial, by July 10. Quarterly Children’s television reports are also due to be submitted … Continue Reading

June 19 Comment Date on Indecency Policies – What the FCC is Not Proposing to Do, No Matter What the Internet May Say

Posted in Indecency
The deadline for comments on the FCC’s indecency rules was extended until June 19, confirmed in a notice published in the Federal Register this past week. Given this extension, it is worth reviewing what the FCC proposed to do in this proceeding, as there is a significant amount of misinformation circulating in certain publications and in rumors floating … Continue Reading

June FCC Obligations for Broadcasters – Renewals, EEO, FM Translator and Auction Filings, and Comments on Regulatory Fees, Indecency, and Incentive Auction Band Plan

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Television
As is the case with most months, June brings a number of FCC deadlines for broadcasters, both standard regulatory filings and comment deadlines in important regulatory proceedings. The regular filing deadlines include license renewal applications due on June 3 (as June 1 is a Saturday) for Commercial and Noncommercial Full-Power and Class A Television Stations, TV … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comments on Its Indecency Policy – How Should the Commission Enforce Its Policies After Last Year’s Supreme Court Ruling?

Posted in Indecency
The FCC’s indecency policy has been in limbo since last year’s Supreme Court decision determining that the Commission’s fines on broadcasters for fleeting expletives had not been adequately explained before being imposed. On Monday, the FCC took a step to clarifying that policy by asking for public comments on what it should do now. Should it formally … Continue Reading

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball – What Washington Has In Store For Broadcasters in 2013

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Privacy, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Every year, about this time, I dust off the crystal ball to offer a look at the year ahead to see what Washington has in store for broadcasters. This year, like many in the recent past, Washington will consider important issues for both radio and TV, as well as issues affecting the growing on-line presence of … Continue Reading

What does the Supreme Court Indecency Decision Mean for the Long Pending License Renewal Applications?

Posted in Indecency
As you know by now, last week the U.S. Supreme Court found the FCC’s enforcement of its indecency policy unconstitutional in FCC v. Fox.  As Bob Corn-Revere and Ronnie London described in our Advisory , this case concerned the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards shows televised by Fox as well as a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Reaffirms Rejection of FCC’s “Fleeting Images” Policy, Reverses Super Bowl Fine

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals today issued its decision in the case dealing with the FCC’s fine for the Janet Jackson "clothing malfunction" Super Bowl incident.  The Court once again rejected the FCC decision - essentially upholding a 2008 decision that had found the FCC’s indecency fine to be an arbitrary departure from prior precedent.  The Court found that … Continue Reading

FCC Decides to Appeal Indency Cases to Supreme Court

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency
The FCC’s indecency rules have, in recent months, twice been declared unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – essentially finding that the FCC’s policies imposed unconstitutional restrictions on speech as they did not give broadcasters any way of determining what was permitted and what was prohibited.  After seeking several extensions of … Continue Reading

As License Renewal Cycle Approaches – Dealing With Last Cycle’s Applications Held Up By Indecency Complaints

Posted in Indecency, License Renewal
As the next broadcast license renewal cycle is about to begin in June (see our post here about that process), the last renewal cycle still has not ended despite the fact that the last renewal application due in that cycle was to have been submitted almost 5 years ago. At the NAB State Leadership Conference held in … Continue Reading

Further Analysis on the 2nd Circuit Decision to Invalidate the FCC’s Policy on “Indecent” Broadcasts

Posted in Indecency
As we wrote earlier this week, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday struck down part of the FCC’s indecency rules, finding that the rules were too vague and had an undue chilling effect on broadcasters.  DWT’s First Amendment experts have now taken a closer look at the Court’s decision in Fox … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Strikes Down FCC Indecency Rules

Posted in Indecency
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today struck down the FCC’s indecency rules, finding that the rules were so vague as to not put broadcasters on notice of what programming was prohibited and what was permitted.  Today’s decision was reached following a remand of this case to the Second Circuit by the Supreme Court.  … Continue Reading

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – What Can Broadcasters Expect from Washington in 2010?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, Digital Television, Fairness Doctrine, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Another year is upon us, and it’s time for predictions as to what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2010.  Each year, when we look at what might be coming, we are amazed at the number of issues that could affect the industry – often issues that are the same year to year … Continue Reading

Broadcast Indecency Can’t Hide – A Candidate for Governor, a TV Newscaster, Saturday Night Live and the Clothing Malfunction

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency
In the past several weeks, broadcast indecency has been back in the news – seemingly almost on a daily basis.  First, there was the story about Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor who, seemingly inadvertently, dropped the f-bomb, perhaps as a result of tripping over his tongue during a news interview on a news radio station … Continue Reading

Janet Jackson Case Sent Back to Court of Appeals – Could There Be An Even Greater Impact on Broadcast Regulation?

Posted in Indecency
In light of the recent decision upholding the FCC’s right to sanction licensees for violations of the FCC’s Indecency rules for "fleeting expletives" in the Golden Globes and Billboard music awards, i.e. isolated profanity on the airwaves, the Supreme Court also remanded the Janet Jackson case to the Court of Appeals.  The one sentence remand (see page … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds FCC Process in Deciding Fleeting Expletives Were Indecent, But Sends the Case Back to Court of Appeals to Decide Constitutionality

Posted in Indecency
In a decision released today, the US Supreme Court upheld the FCC determination that fleeting expletives in the televised broadcasts of the Golden Globes and Billboard Music Awards violated the FCC’s indecency rules.  In this case, called Federal Communications Commission v Fox Television Stations, Inc., the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which … Continue Reading