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Category Archives: Political Broadcasting

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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
Last week, we wrote about the FCC’s decision to require that radio stations move their public inspection files online.  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 the… 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

$540,000 FCC Penalty for Cumulus Station Missing Formal Sponsorship Identification on Issue Ad Campaign

Posted in FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
The FCC yesterday released, and trumpeted, a Consent Decree reached with Cumulus Radio for a violation at one of its New Hampshire stations where full sponsorship identification announcements were not made on issue ads promoting an electric company’s construction project in New Hampshire.  In the Consent Decree, Cumulus agreed to pay a $540,000 penalty to… Continue Reading

Confirmed – The FCC Will Act to Require Online Public File for Radio, Satellite and Cable This Month

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Last week, we noted that an order acting on the FCC’s proposal to adopt a requirement for an online public file for radio, cable and satellite had been prepared and was circulating among the FCC commissioners for their review.  Yesterday, in a post on the FCC’s blog, the FCC Chairman confirmed that the decision would… Continue Reading

Will the Proposal for an Online Public File for Radio and Cable and Satellite TV Be Adopted Soon?

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FM Radio, General FCC, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues
The FCC appears poised to decide what to do with its proposals for an online public inspection file for radio stations, and for cable and satellite TV systems. The FCC’s list of “Items on Circulation” (orders that have been written and are being considered for approval by the FCC Commissioners) indicates that the decision has… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Incentive Auction, FM Translators for AM Stations, Webcasting Fees, LUR Windows and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Television, Website Issues
While January starts off with some regulatory deadlines that apply to all broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs lists must be placed in a station’s public file by the 10th of January – there are many other dates that come due this month, dates to which broadcasters need to pay careful attention. For TV stations, they… Continue Reading

Understanding a Broadcaster’s Political Broadcasting Obligations Under FCC Rules – A Webinar Outlining the Requirements

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
While many broadcasters’ thoughts are on holiday celebrations, the political process leading to the 2016 elections marches on. Last week, Bobby Baker, the head of the FCC’s Office of Political Programming and I conducted a webinar for broadcasters in 16 states on the legal issues that need to be considered in connection with the upcoming… Continue Reading

More Complaints Filed Against TV Stations for Allegedly Not Disclosing the True Sponsor of PAC Ad on Political Issues

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Television
The Sunlight Foundation, along with Common Cause and the Campaign Legal Center, have filed with the FCC complaints against 18 TV stations claiming that these stations violated the FCC’s sponsorship identification rules by not identifying former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as the true sponsor of issue ads bought by the Independence USA political… Continue Reading

Political Broadcasting Issues that Radio and TV Stations Should Be Thinking About Now As We Approach a Very Active Election Season

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
With the broadcast and cable news (and the monologs of TV talk show hosts) already dominated by discussions of the 2016 elections, broadcasters thoughts may be turning to that election and the expected flood of money that may come into the political process.  We are, after all, only two months away from the first ballots in… Continue Reading

The Care and Feeding of the Broadcast Public Inspection File – Requirements and Retention Periods, A Presentation on the Issues

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC requires each full-power broadcast station, commercial and noncommercial, to maintain a public inspection file.  Even though this is a longstanding FCC requirement, there are always questions about what goes into the file, and how long those materials must be retained.  The week before last, I conducted a webinar for about 20 state broadcast… Continue Reading

TV Crime Watch Show is Bona Fide News Program Exempt from Equal Opportunities Requests from Political Candidates – Reviewing the Equal Time Rule

Posted in Political Broadcasting
The FCC yesterday issued a Declaratory Ruling at the request of the producers of a new syndicated Crime Watch Daily TV show, a program that will give a daily rundown of crime stories including ongoing court trials from around the nation, declaring that the program would not give rise to equal opportunities claims from political… Continue Reading

Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act Proposes that FCC Require Disclosure of Significant Donors to Entities That Sponsor Issue Ads

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
A bill introduced in the House of Representatives last week proposes that the FCC be required to amend its sponsorship identification rules to require not just the name of the sponsor of an ad addressing “a controversial issue of public importance,” but also the names of any “significant donors” to the sponsor. This bill is… 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

Comment Dates Set on FCC Proposal to Extend Online Public File Obligations to Radio, Cable, and Satellite

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FM Radio, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC has finally had published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to extend the online public file obligations to radio, satellite radio, cable operators and satellite TV providers. This publication starts the countdown to the filing deadline for the comments in the proceeding. Comments are due by March 16, and… Continue Reading

Comments Sought by FCC on Political Broadcasting Lowest Unit Rate Implications of Last In First Out Pricing

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
In a Public Notice issued yesterday, the FCC asked for comments from the public on whether broadcast stations should be able to enforce “Last In, First Out” (“LIFO”) pricing against political candidates in election races.  During the 45 days before a primary election or the 60 days before a general election, for advertising buys by… Continue Reading

Reminder – Political Broadcasting Rules Apply Even to State and Local Elections

Posted in Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
In odd numbered years like 2015, most broadcast stations don’t think about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. But they should – and we have been receiving many calls from clients about the perhaps surprising number of elections that are taking place this year.  These include many races for state and local political offices, everything from school… 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

A Broadcaster’s Regulatory Calendar for 2015, Plus Important Regulatory Deadlines for January Including Incentive Auction and Captioning Comments

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
A new year, and a new set of regulatory obligations and deadlines for broadcasters and others.  To help track many of the important deadlines for broadcasters in the new year, we have put together a Broadcaster’s Calendar of important regulatory dates for 2015, available here, which highlights many of the dates for the regulatory obligations… 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

The Election is Over, But the Complaints Keep Coming – Should Michael Bloomberg Have Been Identified as the True Sponsor of an Ad Run by his PAC?

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Television
Even though the election is over, political broadcasting issues have not stopped.  Yesterday, the same groups (the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, and the Sunlight Foundation) that had previously objected to the sponsorship identification of issue ads funded by PACs with a limited donor base have struck again.  This time, they have filed a complaint with… Continue Reading

Formal Proceedings to Begin to Revise Rules for Broadcasters’ On-Air Contests and Expand the Online Public File Obligations to Radio, Cable and Satellite

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Since our note Friday about November regulatory dates for broadcasters, it’s become clear that the FCC will be acting on two more matters of interest to broadcasters – particularly radio broadcasters though each have some implications for TV as well.  First, as we hinted at the end of our article on Friday (the rumors that… Continue Reading