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Category Archives: Programming Regulations

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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

FCC to Look at Program Producer Responsibility for Captioning of Video Programming – Likely Extension of New Rules on Captioning Quality

Posted in Digital Television, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC this week issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, suggesting that certain responsibilities for the captioning of video programming be reassigned from the Video Programming Distributor (the TV station or cable system) who has the direct contact with the viewer, to the producer of the programming as that is where the captioning … Continue Reading

A Week of Emergency Alert System Actions at the FCC – Fines Including One for $46,000 for EAS Tones in a Commercial, and Reviews of Best Practices for the System

Posted in Advertising Issues, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations
Perhaps Sunday’s anniversary of Pearl Harbor made the FCC want to make this week one which concentrated on emergency communications issues, or perhaps it is just a coincidence.  But the FCC has been active in the past 7 days dealing with emergency communications related items for broadcasters.  On Wednesday, it issued a consent decree by … 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

TV Station Agrees to $115,000 FCC Fine for Not Identifying Sponsor of Program Promoting a Sale at Auto Dealership

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations
On Friday, the FCC released an Order and Consent Decree by which Journal Broadcasting agreed to pay a fine of $115,000 and to enter into a compliance program to settle complaints that it had not adequately identified that a program aired on its Las Vegas TV station was sponsored by a local car dealership.  According … Continue Reading

$35,000 FCC Fine for TV Station that Tapes Telephone Conversations for News Broadcast Without Prior Permission

Posted in FCC Fines, Privacy, Programming Regulations
In a Consent Decree released the day after Thanksgiving, the FCC agreed to accept a payment of a $35,000 penalty from a former television licensee for recording two telephone conversations for inclusion in a newscast, where the station called an outside party and recorded those conversations for inclusion in the newscast – before getting permission … 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 Proposes To Amend Rules Governing Broadcast Contests – Suggests Allowing Disclosure of Material Terms of the Contest on the Internet

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Website Issues
The FCC on Friday proposed to amend its rules governing contests conducted by broadcast stations by allowing the required disclosure of the material terms of the contest on the Internet, as an option for broadcasters in lieu of the current requirement that these disclosures be made by broadcasting them on-the-air a reasonable number of times.  … Continue Reading

FCC Policy by Blog Post – Over-the-Top Internet-Delivered Television Programming Providers May be Treated as MVPDs, a Reaction to Aereo?

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC announced two significant policy initiatives by Blog post in the last week – perhaps recognizing that the Internet provides a better way of packaging a message about policy directions than an unpredictable news conference.  The two decisions announced this week by Blog post were (1) the Chairman announcing that he has directed that … Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, New Form for TV CP Applications, Comments on Captioning of Video Clips and Incentive Auction Reimbursement Form and More!

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Video, License Renewal, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
With regulatory fees behind us, October brings a number of the routine quarterly regulatory filing dates.  October 10 for all broadcast stations, commercial and noncommercial, is the date by which your Quarterly Issues Programs lists, setting out the most important issues that faced your community in the last quarter and the programs that you broadcast … Continue Reading

FCC Action on TV Issues Coming Soon – Sports Blackout Rule, White Spaces, Post-Auction Treatment of LPTV and TV Translators, and OET-69 Revisions

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Programming Regulations, Television
While many broadcasters have been watching Capitol Hill as Congress debates the issues surrounding the extension of satellite TV’s copyright permission to retransmit over-the-air television signals, and the attempts to add other provisions to the bill that could affect television stations, there are a number of issues teed up at the FCC that could also … Continue Reading

FCC Decisions, Including Fox TV Renewals, Focus on FCC Limits in Assessing Programming Claims in Reviewing License Renewals

Posted in License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Two recent decisions, the most high profile being the renewal of the Fox television stations in the New York City area, demonstrate the analysis that the FCC goes through in deciding if a station has operated in the public interest and if its license deserves to be renewed.  In the Fox case, the focus was … Continue Reading

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – New Captioning Obligations, Online Political File for Small TV Stations, Issues Programs List and Children’s Television Reports, and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fees, General FCC, Internet Radio, Internet Video, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
July brings a number of new regulatory dates for broadcasters – including the effective dates of two new compliance obligations for small market TV stations, as well as numerous routine regulatory filing dates.  July 10 brings one deadline for all broadcast stations – it is the date by which your Quarterly Issues Programs lists, setting … Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set on FCC’s Proposed Elimination of the Network Nonduplication and Syndicated Exclusivity Rules – Comments to be Filed by May 12

Posted in Cable Carriage, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC is now taking comments on the proposal to do away with the syndicated exclusivity and network nonduplication protection rules.  The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, about which we wrote here, was published in the Federal Register today, giving interested parties until May 12 to file their initial comments, and until June 9 to … Continue Reading

$44,000 Fine for 11 Missing Sponsorship IDs for Radio Station 45 Second Spots – Emphasizes Importance of Strict Compliance with All FCC Programming Rules

Posted in FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations
In a decision released this week, the FCC fined a Chicago radio station $44,000 for omitting sponsorship identification announcements on 11 on-air spots promoting the positions of the sponsoring organization on certain issues facing the local community.  Finding that the purpose of the sponsorship identification rules (Section 317 of the Communications Act and Section 73.1212 … Continue Reading

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

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

Mandatory Captioning of IP Delivered Clips of TV Programs? The FCC Seeks Information About Extending Internet Video Captioning Obligations

Posted in Digital Television, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
Closed captioning of video programming repurposed to the Internet has been an obligation of television stations for over a year.  Thus far, most stations have been able to comply with the requirements – as those requirements have only applied to full programs that were captioned when broadcast over the air, and then carried over to … 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

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

Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds 75 Years Later – What Would the FCC Do Now?

Posted in General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
This is the 75th anniversary of the Mercury Players broadcast of the Orson Welles production of the War of the Worlds – a radio broadcast that seemingly scared many Americans into thinking that the country was under attack by Martians, that my home state of New Jersey had been overrun, and that the rest 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