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Category Archives: Political Broadcasting

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Washington Issues for TV Broadcasters – Where Things Stand at the FCC

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting, Television
There is never a shortage of Washington issues for broadcasters to consider, and the rapid pace of change since the new administration took over in January has made it even more difficult to track where all the issues stand. While we try on this Blog to write about many of the DC issues for broadcasters,… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack Deadlines and GMR License Extension

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Political Broadcasting, Television
Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for… Continue Reading

Complaints Filed Against TV Stations for Public File Violations on Political Issue Ads

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Television
Earlier this week, the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, two political “watchdog” organizations, filed FCC complaints against two Georgia TV stations, alleging violations of the rules that govern the documents that need to be placed into a station’s public inspection file regarding political “issue advertising” (see their press release here, with links to the… Continue Reading

Modernization of Media Regulation – What Rule Changes Should Broadcasters be Requesting?

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It is not every year that the FCC seriously asks broadcasters for suggestions as to what rules it should abolish or modify, but that is exactly what the FCC is doing in its Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding (about which we wrote here and here). Comments due the week after next, on July 5, and… Continue Reading

Reminder – FCC Political Rules Apply to Off-Year Elections for Vacant Congressional Seats, and for State and Local Offices

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
In odd years like 2017, most broadcasting stations don’t think about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. But they should – both for special elections to fill open seats in Congress, and for state and local political offices.  Recently, I have received a number of calls about elections to fill seats in Congress that were vacated by… Continue Reading

What’s Up for Broadcasters in Washington Under the New Administration – A Look Ahead at TV and Radio FCC Issues for the Rest of 2017

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
A new President and a new Chair of the FCC have already demonstrated that change is in the air in Washington. Already we’ve seen Chairman Pai lead the FCC to abolish the requirement that broadcasters maintain letters from the public about station operations in their public file (which will take effect once the Paperwork Reduction… Continue Reading

Undoing the Past – New FCC Rescinds Rulings on Noncommercial Ownership Reports, Political Broadcasting Sponsorship Disclosure and Shared Services Agreements

Posted in Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Television
With the change in administration at the FCC, there are opportunities for certain actions to be taken very quickly, without going through the full process of a rulemaking requiring public notice of the proposed rule change and time for public comment.  At the end of this last week, we saw the FCC’s Media Bureau take… Continue Reading

FCC Clarifies Public File Obligations for Identifying Issues and Sponsors for Political Ads – Admonishes Numerous TV Stations for Violations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Television
Late Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued an order (at this time available in Word format only, here) clarifying its public file rules for political ads – both ads from candidates and from third-party groups.  The FCC’s clarifications require broadcasters who run candidate or issue advertising to include information about not only the candidates mentioned… Continue Reading

A Broadcasters Calendar of Regulatory Obligations for 2017

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Internet Radio, Political Broadcasting, 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 2017 is available here.  The dates set out on the calendar include FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the… Continue Reading

License Renewal Shows FCC Does Not Regulate Content – Implications for Calls to Regulate Fake News?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, License Renewal, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Last week, the full FCC issued a decision upholding the license renewal grant of a Pacifica-owned radio station in New York. A listener was complaining that the station broadcast favorable statements about an individual who had shot a police officer. The FCC first noted that the listener had not provided details of the statement, but… Continue Reading

What Broadcasters Can Learn from the Rolling Stone Defamation Case

Posted in Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
At the end of last week, the press reported on the jury verdict finding Rolling Stone magazine to be liable for defamation for its story, later retracted, about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. The case was brought by a University administrator who was portrayed negatively, including making her sound as if she… Continue Reading

November Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, EAS, Political and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting
November is one of those few months where there is a very light load of routine regulatory filings for broadcasters.  This is a month with no routine FCC ownership or children’s television reports.  There are no routine EEO reports for the public file, and no other FCC regularly-scheduled deadlines. Of course, there are several other… Continue Reading

What to do When a Local Political Candidate Appears in a Spot Advertisement for a Commercial Business

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
This has been an unusual political year, as the number of political broadcasting legal issues that have arisen seems far smaller than in past election cycles. Perhaps broadcasters are all on top of the issues this year, or maybe the questions that often arise in connection with attack ads simply pale in comparison to some… Continue Reading

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Drones, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Television
Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here. This update was published today, and provides a summary of the status of legal and regulatory issues ranging from the… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: EAS Test, Reg Fees, Lowest Unit Rates, Incentive Auction Stage 2

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Television
September is one of those unusual months, where there are no regular filing dates for EEO public inspection file reports, quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports.  With the unusual start to the month with Labor Day being so late, and the lack of routine deadlines, we didn’t get our usual monthly highlights of… Continue Reading

Reminder: Lowest Unit Rates for the November Election Start Tomorrow

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
It’s election season, and for the 60 days before any general election, broadcast stations are required to charge political candidates the “lowest unit rate” for comparable advertising time that runs on their stations. That means that, for each class of advertising time on any particular station, the candidate can only be charged the lowest rate at… Continue Reading

Programmatic Advertising Buying and the FCC’s Political Broadcasting Rules

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
With the national presidential conventions complete, and most of the state primaries for Congressional, state and local offices either behind us or to occur in the next few weeks, the most concentrated period for the purchase of political advertising on broadcast stations is now upon us, to peak in the late October/early November frenzy. While… Continue Reading

Covering Breaking News and Local Emergencies – FCC Issues to Consider

Posted in Emergency Communications, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In recent weeks, tragic events in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge and elsewhere engender thoughts for the victims, their families and their communities.  Events like these have become all too common, and certain normal routine has developed, with broadcast stations devoting substantial amounts of airtime to coverage of the event until some new story takes away… Continue Reading

Legal Issues for Broadcasters – Updates on Pending Matters

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
There are so many legal issues that facing broadcasters that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with them all. This Blog and many other activities that those at my firm engage in are meant to help our clients and other broadcasters keep up to date on all of the many regulatory challenges with which… Continue Reading

Appearances by Political Candidates on Talk Program Exempt from Equal Opportunities – New FCC Declaratory Ruling Explains Why

Posted in Political Broadcasting, Television
Yesterday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued a Declaratory Ruling, deciding that a syndicated television program, “Matter of Fact with Fernando Espuelas,” was a bona fide news interview program – meaning that appearances on the program by legally qualified candidates for public office would not give rise to equal opportunities (or “equal time” as it is… Continue Reading

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

Political Candidate Ads Without the Candidate’s Voice or Image – What is a Station to Do?

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
From time to time, questions come up as to whether it is acceptable for broadcast stations to air ads from a political candidate which do not feature the voice or, for TV, the image, of the candidate.  Ads from Federal candidates should almost never be missing the recognizable voice or image, as there are Federal… Continue Reading