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Category Archives: Programming Regulations

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More Big Penalties for Use of EAS Tones in Non-Emergency Programming

Posted in Advertising Issues, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC seems to be making another statement – releasing one decision upholding two very large fines against major cable programmers for improper use of EAS tones in ads for a movie, while just two days later releasing another decision approving a consent decree with a broadcaster imposing a penalty and monitoring conditions for using … 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

FCC Regulation of Internet Video? – Dates Set for Comments on Treating Over-the-Top Video Providers like Cable and Satellite TV

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
Who says that the Internet is not regulated?  Whether to treat Internet video providers by the same rules that apply to cable and direct broadcast satellite systems is the subject of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the FCC just before Christmas, notice of which was published in the Federal Register today, setting the … Continue Reading

Beware of the Trademark and Copyright Issues in Ads and Promotions Involving the Super Bowl

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations
With the college football champion now decided, and the NFL league championships this coming weekend to decide this year’s Super Bowl teams, it’s that time when we post our warning about being careful with using the phrase “Super Bowl” in your promotions and commercials.  Both copyright and trademark issues can arise at Super Bowl time.  … 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

Remember Children’s Television Compliance Obligations – The FCC Does Not Forget

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, Programming Regulations, Television
With the obligation of television stations to file the quarterly Children’s Television Reports on FCC Form 398 by Monday (as the usual January 10 date is on a weekend) and the simultaneous requirement to place into their online public file documentation of compliance with the commercial limits in Children’s programming, it is worth reminding stations … 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

FCC Sets Dates for Comments on Proposed Changes to Required Disclosures of Broadcast Contest Material Terms

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Television
We recently wrote about the proposed changes in the FCC’s rules about station-conducted contests, here.  The FCC has proposed that much of the required disclosure about the material terms of these contests be allowed to be conducted online, rather than having to be announced on-air often enough so that listeners to the station are likely … 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

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