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Category Archives: Television

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Reminders: Nationwide EAS Test and Reg Fees Filing Deadline This Week!

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Television
Tomorrow, September 27, is the deadline for commercial broadcasters to submit their annual regulatory fees. We wrote about those fees and this deadline here and here. Don’t forget to get them in by the deadline, as the failure to file on time will result in processing holds on any subsequent application that your station may… Continue Reading

Eliminating the UHF Discount and Limiting the National Ownership Reach of Television Groups Without Reviewing the Media Marketplace

Posted in Digital Television, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
Last week, the FCC released its order eliminating the UHF discount. Under this discount, a TV broadcaster, in determining its compliance with the national ownership limit prohibiting any owner from having attributable interests in stations serving more than 39% of the nationwide television audience, would include in its count only one-half of the audience of… 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

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In the tentative agenda for that meeting released on Thursday, the FCC identified several issues that deal with the media including two big items on video issues – the decision as to what to… Continue Reading

Regulatory Fees Due By September 27 – Fee Filing Guides and Instructions for Waivers or Deferrals Released by FCC

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, FCC Fees, FM Radio, Television
The FCC today released a series of public notices setting September 27 as the deadline for the filing of Annual Regulatory fees.  We wrote here about the FCC Order setting the amount of those fees, and reminding TV stations, even ones looking to surrender their licenses in the incentive auction, that they must still pay… Continue Reading

FY 2016 FCC Regulatory Fees Released – With a Reminder to Incentive Auction Participants

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
Right as everyone was set to enjoy the last glimmer of summer over the long weekend, the FCC issued its Report and Order on the regulatory fees for 2016.  The FCC adopted all the fees for broadcast stations as proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (about which we wrote about here) with some adjustments… Continue Reading

Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz Given Tuesday’s declaration by the FCC that Stage 1 of the TV incentive auction did not meet its clearing target (in that enough was not bid in the forward auction to cover the amount needed to compensate television stations for… Continue Reading

Full Text of FCC Decision on Quadrennial Review of the Multiple Ownership Rules Released Today

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
In the last few minutes, the FCC has released its order on the Quadrennial Review of its multiple ownership rules, about which we wrote last week. The decision is available here, and includes dissenting opinions from the two Republican commissioners and a concurring statement from Commissioner Clyburn. In total, the text is 199 pages long,… Continue Reading

Reminder: EAS Form One Registration Due By August 26 for All Broadcasters

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, Television
In our reminder on August regulatory dates for broadcasters, we noted that broadcasters must register their stations in a new FCC filing system that will allow them to electronically report on the success of the next EAS National Test, to be conducted on September 28. The new registration system, called EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”),… Continue Reading

How To Follow the FCC Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
As the leaders of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force said in opening a post on the FCC’s blog last week, “Who says nothing happens in Washington in August?”  Bidding in the initial stage of the FCC Incentive Auction’s forward auction phase begins on Tuesday, August 16th, and with it, the longest pre-auction run-up period… Continue Reading

Preparing for the FCC’s Soon to be Released Decision on Changes to its Multiple Ownership Rules

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
While the trade press has been full of reports that the FCC has voted on an order addressing the issues raised in its Quadrennial Review of its multiple ownership rules, and that the decision largely left those rules unchanged (including the broad ban on the cross-ownership of daily newspapers and broadcast stations), no final decision… Continue Reading

Debunking a Few Myths about the FCC’s Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Jonathan Cohen, one of my partners at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, has been closely following the incentive auction by which the FCC is looking to clear a significant part of the television band and take that spectrum, slice it up into different size blocks, and resell it to wireless companies.  He has been guiding numerous companies through… Continue Reading

Sinclair Pays $9.4 Million to FCC to Settle Claims of Improper Joint Negotiation of Retransmission Consent Agreements

Posted in Cable Carriage, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
Last week, the FCC announced a consent decree with Sinclair Broadcast Group where Sinclair agreed to pay $9.495 million to the FCC to settle claims that it negotiated retransmission consent agreements involving stations that it did not own with MVPDs (cable and satellite companies).  Sinclair did not admit any liability – but stated that it settled the… Continue Reading

Quick Reminder – Nationwide EAS Event Code for Nationwide EAS Test to be Programmed into EAS Equipment by July 30

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Television
One last minute reminder for broadcasters – by this weekend, they need to have reprogrammed their EAS equipment with a new alert code to recognize alerts associated with nationwide EAS tests. This is supposed to be done by July 30, 2016 (the FCC set the date in paragraph 41 of last year’s FCC order reviewing… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Filing System to be Down This Weekend – Warning About the Deadline for Filing Royalty Claims by TV Stations for Copyrighted Programming Used By Cable and Satellite TV

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Television
The websites of the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office, which include the site used by the Copyright Royalty Board, will be down for maintenance this weekend. This includes the portal for filing cable and satellite royalty claims, which will be unavailable 5 p.m. ET, Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31. Claims by broadcast… 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

FCC Chairman Announces No Changes in Good Faith Negotiation Standards for Retransmission Consent Agreements Between TV and MVPDs

Posted in Cable Carriage, Television
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday used a blog post to announce that the Commission’s pending rulemaking concerning its retransmission consent rules is ending without the adoption of any additional rules.  This proceeding was to review the “totality of the circumstances” test in determining whether TV stations and MVPDs (cable and satellite television systems) were negotiating… Continue Reading

$700,000 to Be Paid By Media General to End Inquiry on its Attempts to Enforce a JSA – What are the Limits on the Enforceability of a Contractual Restriction on an FCC Licensee’s Sale of its Station?

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, FCC Fines, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday announced a consent decree with Media General by which Media General agreed to pay a $700,000 “settlement payment” to the US Treasury to settle the investigation of its attempts to enforce the provisions of a Joint Sales Agreement with Schurz Communications.  Media General had tried to enforce the JSA when Schurz tried to… Continue Reading

Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations Suddenly the Rage? – FCC Seeks Comments on Two Proposals for Alien Ownership to Exceed 25%, Including One for 100% Australian Ownership

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
In the last two days, the FCC has asked for public comment on two proposals for foreign ownership of US broadcast stations where that ownership would exceed 25% of the company – a limit that has for decades been seen as the upper end of ownership by foreign nationals.  While the FCC three years ago… 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

FCC Chairman Releases Summary of Media Ownership Reform Proposals – Little Change in Existing Ownership Rules, Reinstatement of JSA Ban

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week released a “fact sheet” setting out a summary of the draft order now circulating among the FCC Commissioners for review and possible approval. This order, if adopted, would resolve the Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules. As we wrote here, the US Court of Appeals for the Third… Continue Reading

Quick Reminder – New FCC Online Public Inspection File Goes Live Today – Top 50 Market Radio Stations To Start Transition

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Television
As we’ve written many times (see, for instance, the articles here and here), today is the day that the FCC’s new online public inspection file goes live.  For TV stations, the system is supposed to be more dependable and user friendly.  For radio, commercial stations in the Top 50 Nielsen radio markets are supposed to… Continue Reading