Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Television

Subscribe to Television RSS Feed

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

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