Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Noncommercial Broadcasting

Subscribe to Noncommercial Broadcasting RSS Feed

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – FM Translators for Class A and B AMs; Quarterly Issue Programs and Children’s Television Reports; Comments on EAS, Letters from the Public and Regulatory Fees, Cable Royalty Claims; and More

Posted in Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
While TV broadcasters can enjoy an incentive auction respite in July as attention shifts to the “forward auction” where we will see whether wireless carriers come up with enough money to fund the $86,422,558,704 (plus $1.75 billion for repacking costs, plus auction-related administrative costs) needed for the buyout of TV stations who agreed to surrender… Continue Reading

Appeals Filed of Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Webcasting Royalties – What’s Next?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
SoundExchange last week filed an appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision on webcasting royalties (a decision which we summarized here and here), as reported by a number of trade press articles. Most of these press reports did not note that this was not the only appeal filed. At least two other parties, IBS (Intercollegiate… Continue Reading

FCC To Consider Abolition of Requirement that Broadcasters Maintain Letters From the Public in their Public Files – Moving Toward the End of the Physical Public File?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Yesterday, the FCC announced its agenda for its May open meeting to be held on May 25. Among the items on the agenda is a proposal to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to abolish the obligation that broadcasters maintain in their public files copies of letters and emails from the general public about… Continue Reading

FCC Application Processing Decisions – No Reasonable Transmitter Site Assurance Necessary for Auction Applications, Change in Control of Nonprofit Governing Board Fatal to Pending Applications

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Tower Issues
There were several recent FCC decisions on application processing matters worthy of note. One deals with the processing of commercial applications for FM stations or FM translators that are involved in an auction to resolve disputes, the others with the processing of noncommercial applications (in this case for LPFM stations). None break new ground –… Continue Reading

2016 is a Big Year for Radio and ASCAP, BMI and SESAC

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
The “performing rights organizations” – ASCAP, BMI and SESAC – don’t get as much attention in these pages as do the royalties paid to SoundExchange for the use of “sound recordings.” The PROs collect for the public performance of the “musical work” or the musical composition – the words and music of a song. These… Continue Reading

Looking at the FCC’s Indecency Rules – Does Anyone Know What’s Prohibited and What’s Permitted?

Posted in FCC Fines, Indecency, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
A Washington Post article published this weekend was titled “Is there anything you can’t say on TV anymore? It’s complicated.” And, it really is. The Post article presents a very good overview on the status of the FCC’s indecency rules. What will happen with those rules has been a matter of conjecture for several years,… Continue Reading

Appeal Date Set for Changes in FCC Rules for Biennial Ownership Reports – Why Many College and University Licensees are Concerned

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The changes in the FCC’s rules for Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323 were today published in the Federal Register. That publication starts the 30 day clock for petitions for reconsideration or requests for appeal of that decision. We summarized the changes in the requirements here – changes that include putting noncommercial stations on… Continue Reading

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports and Much More

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
April brings the whole panoply of routine regulatory dates – from the need to prepare EEO Public File and Noncommercial Ownership Reports in some states, to Quarterly Issues Programs lists for all full-power broadcast stations and Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports for all TV stations.  So let’s look at some of the specific dates that… Continue Reading

FCC Fines Public Broadcaster $10,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists – No Leniency Without Showing of Financial Hardship

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The FCC yesterday released an order fining a public broadcaster $10,000 for failing to prepare and place in its public file 13 consecutive quarterly issues programs lists. The licensee had pleaded that the radio station fine should be reduced given that the public file failure began when it acquired the station from a local college that… Continue Reading

FCC Order on Biennial Ownership Requirements – All Broadcasters, Commercial and Noncommercial, Need to Start Collecting Information from Attributable Owners and Directors for Next Year’s Filing

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Television
In an order released last month which has not received much attention, the FCC clarified its requirements for the filing of Biennial Ownership Reports. Much of the order deals with fixes to the report itself that will, for the most part, make the completion of the report administratively easier in terms of the physical data… Continue Reading

Changes in the Board of Nonprofit Corporation Doom FCC Application for New FM Station – Addressing Control Issues in Noncommercial Broadcasting

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting
In a decision released earlier this week, the FCC dismissed an application for a new noncommercial FM station based on a change in the majority of the applicant’s board of directors within a one-year period after the application was filed.  The change was deemed a major change in ownership, which the FCC rules says requires… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Order on Online Public Inspection File – Answering Questions about Compliance with Radio’s New Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Last week, we wrote about the FCC’s decision to require that radio stations move their public inspection files online.  Commercial stations with 5 or more full-time employees that are located in Top 50 markets need to make the transition to the online file later this year once the FCC gets its new rules approved by… Continue Reading

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Television
It’s February, and we’re back to the normal cycle of FCC filings. Due to be placed in the public files of radio and TV stations with 5 or more full-time employees are EEO Public Inspection File Reports for radio and TV stations in the following states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York,… Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Online Public File Requirements for Radio, Satellite and Cable – To be Effective for Large Market Radio Later This Year

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
The FCC today adopted rules to require that the public inspection files of radio stations (and of cable television systems and operators of satellite radio and television companies) to put their public inspection files online.  While, thus far, the FCC has only released a public notice summarizing its decision and not the full text explaining… Continue Reading

A Broadcaster’s Calendar of Important Regulatory Dates in 2016

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Internet Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
At the beginning of each year, we publish our broadcaster’s calendar of important dates – setting out the many dates for which broadcasters should be on alert as this year progresses.  The Broadcasters Calendar for 2016 is available here.  The dates set out on the calendar include not only FCC filing deadlines and dates by… Continue Reading

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2016 – Looking at the Legal Issues that the FCC Will Be Considering in the New Year

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Video, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It’s that time of the year when we need to dust off the crystal ball and make predictions about the legal issues that will impact the business of broadcasters in 2016.  While we try to look ahead to identify the issues that are on the agenda of the FCC and other government agencies, there are… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Set to Begin 3 New Royalty Proceedings – Mechanical Royalty, Sirius XM Satellite Royalty, and Noncommercial Broadcasting Over-the-Air Royalties

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
In tomorrow’s Federal Register, the Copyright Royalty Board will announce the commencement of three new proceedings to set music royalties for the 2018-2022 five-year period – each involving a different music right. The Board will begin a proceeding dealing with the digital public performances of sound recordings by satellite radio and “pre-existing subscription services” –… Continue Reading

Webcasting Royalty Decision Developments – Revised Rates and Terms from the CRB, Issues about Performance Complement and Small Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The actions and reactions in response to the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision from two weeks ago continue to roll in as the ramifications of the decision sink in. In the days before Christmas, two announcements were made that warrant note. One was a decision of the CRB itself, correcting the rates and terms that it… Continue Reading

CRB Announces Webcasting Royalty Rates for 2016-2020 – Lower Rates for Broadcasters Who Stream, Minimal Change for Pureplay Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
The Copyright Royalty Board yesterday announced on its website the royalty rates that webcasters will pay to SoundExchange for the use of sound recordings in their digital transmissions over the Internet and to mobile devices in the period from 2016-2020.  For commercial webcasters, the CRB set $.0017 as the per performance (i.e. the rate paid… Continue Reading

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Ownership and EEO Reports, Retransmission Consent and Foreign Ownership Rulemaking Comments, Incentive Auction and Accessibility Obligations

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Video, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
December is one of those months when all commercial broadcasters have at least one FCC deadline, and there are also many other filing dates of which many broadcasters need to take note.  For all commercial broadcasters, Biennial Ownership Reports are due on December 2.  Hopefully, most broadcasters have already completed this filing obligation, as FCC… Continue Reading

Closing the 2003 FM Translator Window – Mutually Exclusive Noncommercial Applications Set for Resolution by Point System Paper Hearings

Posted in FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting
While much of the attention paid to FM translators has recently come from their use to rebroadcast AM stations and the upcoming windows for, first, relocating existing translators to AM markets and, later, a window for new translators for AM stations (see our article here), many forget that there are still many translator applications pending… Continue Reading

The Limits on FCC Leniency on Fines for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations

Posted in Appearances, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting
In a decision released last Friday, the FCC made clear how far it is willing to go in extending to noncommercial stations leniency for fines for violations of its rules. As we have written before, the FCC changed its policy in a case in which we were involved so as to mitigate harsh penalties for… Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Many Routine Filings for All Broadcasters, Incentive Auction Actions, and More

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
October is one of those months where the regulatory stars align, when not only do broadcasters in many states have EEO Public File report obligations, but also Quarterly Issues Programs Lists need to be placed in the public files of all commercial and noncommercial stations, and Quarterly Children’s Television Reports need to be filed at… Continue Reading