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Category Archives: Noncommercial Broadcasting

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June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Public File Reports and Form 397, CALM Act Compliance Obligations, Incentive Auction Actions, Comments on Reg Fees and LPFM Rules, and More

Posted in Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
June brings some standard obligations for broadcasters in a number of states with anniversaries of their license renewal filing, plus the return of an obligation that we have not seen in 4 years- the obligations of radio stations in certain states to file an FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report. In addition to these routine… Continue Reading

A Seminar on FCC Rules for College Broadcasters – And an FCC Case on the Limits on Leniency on Fines For Rule Violations By Noncommercial Broadcasters

Posted in Appearances, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Last month, I did a seminar at the College Media Association about the FCC legal issues that college broadcasters need to think about – talking about required FCC filings, pubic file obligations, underwriting issues, and programming that can get the broadcaster into trouble. Slides from that presentation, which present only an outline of the more… Continue Reading

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Quarterly Issues Programs and Children’s Television Reports; Comments In Proceedings Including One on Digital Auxiliaries; and More Incentive Auction Seminars

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
April is one of those months with many routine FCC obligations. Quarterly Issues Programs lists need to be in your public file by the 10th of the month. This is an obligation for all full-power broadcast stations – commercial or noncommercial. Similarly, all TV stations have an obligation to submit their Children’s Television Reports on… Continue Reading

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Closed Captioning Quality Standards Effective Date, Comments on Online Public File, MVPD Status for Online Video Providers, LIFO for Political Ads, and FRNs for Biennial Ownership Reports

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Internet Video, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
March is one of those rare months on the broadcast calendar when there are few routine regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. As we are winding down in the television license renewal cycle, the month’s only license renewal obligations for TV broadcasters are the pre-filing license renewal announcements on the 1st and 16th of the month for… Continue Reading

Protecting Broadcast Investors’ Social Security Numbers for the Biennial Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcasters (and, Potentially, Noncommercial Ones Too)

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting
If all goes as scheduled, at the beginning of December, commercial broadcasters will file Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323. As we wrote when the obligation to file the current version of these reports was first adopted, the FCC’s intent was to be able to track the interests of broadcast investors across all of… Continue Reading

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – TV Renewals, EEO Reports, Lots of TV Incentive Auction Activity, OTT MVPD and Contest Comments, and Last-Minute January Deadlines for Webcasting

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Internet Video, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Television
As in any month, February has many impending deadlines for broadcasters and media companies – many routine regulatory obligations as well as some that are specific to certain proceedings.  First, let’s look at some of the routine filing deadlines.  On February 2, license renewal applications in the second-to-last filing window of this renewal cycle are… Continue Reading

FCC Standards for Comparing Service by Mutually Exclusive Applicants for New Noncommercial Radio Stations Clarified by Court of Appeals

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, FM Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Yesterday, we wrote about a case involving an applicant for a new commercial FM station, where the FCC clarified its policies on reasonable assurance of transmitter site availability – holding that an applicant in an auction process can amend to a new site if it is found that its originally specified site is not available… Continue Reading

Two Decisions Clarifying the Processing of FCC Applications for New Commercial and Noncommercial Broadcast Stations – Auction Applications and Reasonable Assurance of Transmitter Site Availability

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, FM Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Tower Issues
Last week, there were two decisions that clarified FCC processing policies for new broadcast stations – one dealing with applications for commercial stations, and the other with applications for noncommercial FM stations.  The commercial case made clear that an applicant for a new FM station in the auction process need not have reasonable assurance of… Continue Reading

$50,000 Penalty for LMA Operations – No Payments in Excess of Expenses for Noncommercial Licensees, and a Reminder that Licensee Must Remain in Control

Posted in FCC Fines, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
A consent decree, requiring $50,000 payment to the FCC by the licensee and programmer of a noncommercial radio station, demonstrates two potential problem areas for broadcasters involved in LMA or Time Brokerage (TBA) arrangements.  First, for noncommercial licensees it makes clear that the programmer cannot be paying the licensee any more for the programming time… Continue Reading

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2015 – Part 1, What’s Up at the FCC

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Each year, at about this time, we pull out the crystal ball and make predictions of the issues affecting broadcasters that will likely bubble up to the top of the FCC’s agenda in the coming year.  While we try each year to throw in a mention of the issues that come to our mind, there… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Public Notice on Mutually Exclusive LPFM Applications in the Southeast US – Deadlines for Petitions to Deny and Amendments to Applications

Posted in FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Right before Christmas, the FCC’s Media Bureau released a Public Notice announcing that they have reviewed the final set of mutually exclusive LPFM applications.  “Mutually exclusive applications” are applications for stations in the same geographic area which cannot all be granted without creating interference issues. The notice identifies tentative winners selected by the “point system”… Continue Reading

Online Public File for Radio – and Satellite and Cable – Moves Closer to Reality – FCC Issues Formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The online public inspection file for radio is moving closer to reality at an unusually fast pace.  Yesterday, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking to expand the online public file requirements that now apply to broadcast TV stations to radio (see our summary of the obligations here, and a presentation that we… Continue Reading

Typo in Geographic Coordinates Can Sink FCC Radio Application

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting
In a case decided last week, the FCC decided to clarify its policies on typos in FCC applications for radio stations.  While one might not think that a typo is such a big idea, in connection with FCC application filing windows, when multiple applicants may be seeking the same frequency or channel in the same… Continue Reading

FCC Denies Closed Captioning Waiver for Church Service – Clarifying New Standards on “Economically Burdensome” Exceptions to Captioning Requirements

Posted in Digital Television, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
We are often asked by television broadcasters if specialty programming – particularly local programming, like a local church’s broadcast of its Sunday morning church service – is covered by the FCC’s closed captioning obligations.  In a decision released on Friday, the FCC staff denied the request of a church for an exemption from the rules… Continue Reading

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Renewals, EEO Reports and Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports in Some States; TV Ancillary and Supplementary Revenue Reports; As Well as LPTV Rulemaking Comments and Many Other Expected Actions

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, FCC Fines, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Video, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
While we are in the Holiday season, the regulatory obligations faced by broadcasters don’t stop.  December brings a continuation of the TV renewal cycle, though we are nearing the end of that cycle.  Renewal applications for all TV, Class A and LPTV stations in the following states are due on December 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,… Continue Reading

FCC Declines to Allow Experimentation with Noncommercial Underwriting Rules

Posted in Advertising Issues, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The FCC yesterday issued an order declining to allow experimentation with the noncommercial underwriting rules that was requested by the licensee of noncommercial radio stations in the Phoenix area.  The licensee had asked the FCC for permission to conduct a three year experiment by relaxing the underwriting rules in certain ways to determine the effect… Continue Reading

Noncommercial Webcasters Royalty Rate Proposals for 2016-2020

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Noncommercial webcasters are often forgotten in the discussion of the current proceeding to set Internet radio sound recording royalties. But, along with the royalties for commercial webcasters (we wrote about the proposed commercial rates here), the current Copyright Royalty Board proceeding will also set the rates for noncommercial webcasters.  Various proposals for noncommercial royalties have… Continue Reading

More LPFM Applications for Broadcasters to Review to Assess Potential Interference Issues, and New Petition to Deny Deadlines

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting
We wrote last week about the FCC’s determination of which applicants are to be preferred in several groups of mutually exclusive applications for new Low Power FM stations.  We warned full-power FM broadcasters to review the preferred applicants as broadcasters have 30 days from last week’s public notice to file petitions to deny against such… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Starts Rulemaking to Change Recordkeeping Requirements for Commercial and Noncommercial Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
On Friday, the Copyright Royalty Board published in the Federal Register a proposal for changes in its recordkeeping rules – suggesting more detailed requirements for larger webcasters who are required to report the songs that they play on a “census” basis – that would be most webcasters who are required to report the songs that… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters and Webcasters – Children’s Television Reports, Quarterly Issues Programs List, Webcaster Elections and Minimum Fees, the Return of Lowest Unit Rates and More!

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, General FCC, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
A new month in a new year, and a number of new regulatory dates are upon us for broadcasters – and important dates for webcasters also fall in this month.  So now that the holidays are quickly becoming just a foggy memory, it is time to sharply focus on those regulatory obligations that you have… 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

Court of Appeals Upholds Communications Act Ban on Commercial and Political Advertising on Public TV Stations – Significant Analysis of the Standards for First Amendment Review of all Broadcast Regulation

Posted in Advertising Issues, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting
Section 399b of the Communications Act bans advertising for for-profit companies, as well as political and issue advertising, on noncommercial radio and television stations.  While Congress over 20 years ago loosened some restrictions on fundraising by allowing paid ads by nonprofit groups on noncommercial stations, and permitting commercial entities to provide some minimal information about… Continue Reading

December Regulatory Deadlines For Broadcasters – Renewals, Ownership Reports, CALM Act, and TV Form 317

Posted in Digital Television, General FCC, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
While we were sidetracked by the government shutdown in posting reminders about regulatory deadlines for broadcasters during the last two months, it’s about time to put that behind us, and to resume our monthly practice. While everyone may be looking forward to the holidays, they need to remember that December does bring a number of regulatory obligations for broadcasters… Continue Reading