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Category Archives: Television

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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

The Online Public Inspection File– A Presentation on the Requirements for Radio, and an FCC Workshop for All Users on Procedures for Using the New System

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
The online public inspection file for radio stations becomes a reality for most Top 50 market stations on June 24. Yesterday, I conducted a webinar for members of 19 state broadcast associations, discussing the process for the transition to the online public file. I also outlined obligations for maintaining the public file and the required… Continue Reading

FCC Regulatory Fees for Broadcasters Proposed to Increase Significantly to Cover Cost of FCC Headquarters Move

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fees, FM Radio, Television
FCC regulatory fees come around each year, and it seems like they always go up.  This year is no different, as the FCC has asked for comments on its proposed fees to be paid later this year (probably in September), and the proposed fees go up significantly for broadcasters.  The fees are meant to recoup… Continue Reading

June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO and Noncommercial Ownership Reports, Incentive Auction, Radio Online Public File, and Comments on EAS and Regulatory Fees

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
While summer has just about arrived, FCC regulatory dates do not depart to the beach and leave the world behind.  Instead, there are a host of filing deadlines this month.  EEO Public Inspection file reports must, by June 1, be placed in the public inspection files of stations that are part of employment units with… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes to Eliminate Public File Obligations – No More Letters from the Public for Broadcasters, No Cable Headend Information for Cable Systems?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
At its open meeting earlier this week, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing changes to the public file rules for both broadcasters and cable systems. For commercial broadcasters, the FCC proposed to eliminate the requirement that they include in their public file copies of letters and emails to the station concerning station… Continue Reading

FCC Announces June 24 Effective Date for Radio Online Public Inspection File and New System for TV Stations Online File, Plus a Reminder to Upload JSAs

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
The FCC today issued a Public Notice that the obligation will begin on June 24 to start uploading documents to the online public file for radio stations in the Top 50 markets .   For Top 50 market commercial radio stations that are part of employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, the June 24… Continue Reading

Countdown to the Incentive Auction – FCC Announces Details of May 24 Workshop for Reverse Auction Participants, and Reminds Them to Preview the Auction System

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Yesterday, the FCC released a Public Notice setting out the agenda for the May 24 Workshop to explain the process of bidding in the reverse auction. The reverse auction is of course when broadcasters can bid to surrender their current channel to the FCC so that the FCC can repackage the surrendered spectrum and then… Continue Reading

New Federal Advertising Rules on E-Cigs and Other Tobacco Products Adopted – To Become Effective within Two Years

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FM Radio, Internet Radio, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
E-Cigs and vape shops have become a new advertising category for many broadcast stations over the last few years. Unlike ads for cigarettes, little cigars, and smokeless (chewing) tobacco, which are effectively banned on broadcast stations, there are currently few Federal rules on e-cigs. Ads currently cannot make health claims about the product (so the… Continue Reading

FCC To Consider Abolition of Requirement that Broadcasters Maintain Letters From the Public in their Public Files – Moving Toward the End of the Physical Public File?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Yesterday, the FCC announced its agenda for its May open meeting to be held on May 25. Among the items on the agenda is a proposal to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to abolish the obligation that broadcasters maintain in their public files copies of letters and emails from the general public about… Continue Reading

126 MHz Incentive Auction Clearing Target Set – Reverse Auction for TV Stations to Bid to Surrender their Spectrum to Wireless Users to Begin May 31

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
This morning, the FCC released a Public Notice, announcing that the spectrum clearing target for the initial stage of the Incentive Auction will be 126 MHz.  That means, that if the Incentive Auction is completed in the initial stage with the 126 MHz spectrum clearing target, TV channels 30-36 and 38-51 will be reallocated for… Continue Reading

May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, Comments on EAS, ATSC 3.0 and Set Top Boxes

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Emergency Communications, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting, Television
May is one of those off months in which there are not the kind of routine filings that pop up in most other months – no EEO Public File Reports, no quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports, no Biennial Ownership Reports for noncommercial stations (which will soon disappear anyway when noncommercial stations transition… Continue Reading

FCC Requests Initial Public Comments on ATSC 3.0 Proposal for Next Generation of Over-the-Air TV

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
The FCC has released a Public Notice, as promised by FCC Chairman Wheeler at last week’s NAB convention, asking for public comment on the proposal filed by the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Technology Association and others requesting that the Commission approve ATSC 3.0, the next transmission system for over-the-air television broadcasting. We wrote… Continue Reading

As Incentive Auction Draws Near, Focus Begins to Shift to TV Spectrum Repacking – and Even FM Broadcasters Take Note of Potential Issues

Posted in Digital Television, FM Radio, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television, Tower Issues
At the NAB Convention last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the timing of the incentive auction and how some of the remaining issues may soon be resolved. One subject of talk in a number of NAB sessions, as well as in the trade publications, has been how the repacking of broadcast television spectrum will… Continue Reading

FCC Says Pre-Auction Expenses Can Be Reimbursed to Stations that Have to be Repacked After the Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
Can expenses incurred by a TV station now in making moves to prepare for the post-incentive auction repacking of the TV spectrum be reimbursed if that station in fact is forced to move after the auction?  In a clarification “Declaratory Ruling” released on Monday, the FCC said that they can – in an aim designed… Continue Reading

Petition Asking FCC to Approve Next Generation of Over-the-Air Television, ATSC 3.0 – What is Being Requested?

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
On the eve of this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, the FCC has been asked to approve the next generation of TV transmission – ATSC 3.0.  A broad coalition – broadcasters through the NAB and APTS (the public television association), technology manufacturers (through CTA – the Consumer Technology Association formerly the Consumer Electronics Association),… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Expansion of Requirements for TV Stations and MVPDs to Provide Audio Description of Video Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Programming Regulations, Television
Last week was a busy one for the FCC, with decisions or proposals on a number of issues that can affect broadcasters, including changes to the EAS rules and proposals for the expansion of video description – the requirements that TV stations carry a certain amount of programming that is accompanied by audio descriptions to… Continue Reading

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports and Much More

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
April brings the whole panoply of routine regulatory dates – from the need to prepare EEO Public File and Noncommercial Ownership Reports in some states, to Quarterly Issues Programs lists for all full-power broadcast stations and Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports for all TV stations.  So let’s look at some of the specific dates that… Continue Reading

Does the FCC Use the Online Public File to Spot Rule Violations? $20,000 Fine to TV Station for Late-Filed Children’s Television Reports Suggests it Does

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
In a Notice of Apparent Liability released yesterday, the FCC proposed to fine a TV station $20,000 for being late in the filing of 4 years of Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398). While the penalty is consistent with the size of penalties that the FCC has been imposing for similar violations in… Continue Reading

Another Loss for FilmOnX in its Quest to Be Recognized as a Cable System Entitled to Rely on Statutory License to Retransmit TV Signals

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
FilmOnX, that Aereo copycat service that seeks to deliver the signals of over-the-air television stations to consumers’ computers for a fee, has lost another round in its attempt to be recognized as a cable system. Ever since the Aereo decision of the Supreme Court (which we summarized here), finding that services like Aereo and FilmOn… Continue Reading

Updated Political Broadcasting Guide – Questions and Answers about Broadcasters’ Obligations During this Election Season

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FM Radio, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Television
To help broadcasters sort out the confusing rules about political advertising, we have updated our Political Broadcasting Guide for Broadcasters (note that the URL for the updated version has not changed from prior versions, so your bookmarks should continue to work). The revised guide is much the same as the one that we published two… Continue Reading

Incentive Auction Moves Forward – Two Requests for Stay Denied and SecureID Tokens Distributed to Reverse Auction Participants

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The only significant legal issues that were potentially standing in the way of the broadcast incentive auction are slowly being removed. So far this week, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC has denied two requests for stays of the commencement of the reverse auction, scheduled to begin on March 29 with the submission… Continue Reading

FCC Says No to Court’s Enforcement of Contractual Rights that Limit Broadcast Licensee’s Control Rights – What Does this Mean for Broadcast Contracts? 

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
How far can a court go in ordering broadcasters to comply with the terms of a contract?  By trying to get a court to enforce a contract signed with a broadcaster, is the suing party infringing on a licensee’s control over its broadcast station license? These questions are addressed in a letter that the FCC… Continue Reading

Online Public Inspection File for Radio Still in the Future – Practical Impact Still a Few Months Away

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
In the last day or two, some broadcast trade press reports may have given the impression that the FCC’s new online public file rules for radio may now be “effective,” suggesting that Top 50 market stations with 5 or more full-time employees need to start uploading their new political documents into the file (the first… Continue Reading