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Category Archives: Television

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First Chance for New FCC to Deregulate – Abolition of Requirement to Maintain Public File of Letters from the Public About Broadcast Station Operations on January 31 Tentative Agenda

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday released its tentative agenda for its January meeting, to be held on January 31. This will be the first meeting of the post-Chairman Wheeler era, and the two Republican commissioners will be in the majority for the first time in 8 years. There is a single item on the tentative agenda –… Continue Reading

FCC Clarifies Public File Obligations for Identifying Issues and Sponsors for Political Ads – Admonishes Numerous TV Stations for Violations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting, Television
Late Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued an order (at this time available in Word format only, here) clarifying its public file rules for political ads – both ads from candidates and from third-party groups.  The FCC’s clarifications require broadcasters who run candidate or issue advertising to include information about not only the candidates mentioned… Continue Reading

A Broadcasters Calendar of Regulatory Obligations for 2017

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Internet Radio, Political Broadcasting, Television
At the beginning of each year, we publish our broadcaster’s calendar of important dates – setting out the many dates for which broadcasters should be on alert as this year progresses.  The Broadcasters Calendar for 2017 is available here.  The dates set out on the calendar include FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Ownership and EEO Comments, Copyright Issues and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Here we are at the start of a new year, and right away we have numerous regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. By the 10th of the month, all broadcast stations need to have placed in their public inspection files (online for TV and for those radio stations that have already converted to the online public file,… Continue Reading

Multiple Ownership Petitions for Reconsideration to be Published in the Federal Register Setting Dates for Public Comment

Posted in FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
Tomorrow, the Petitions for Reconsideration of the FCC’s multiple ownership decision is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register (see the pre-publication draft here). This will start the clock on comments on those petitions. If publication occurs as scheduled, comments will be due on Tuesday, January 17 and replies on Friday, January 27 (update:… Continue Reading

FCC Grants Extension of Time to Comment on Reconsideration of the Elimination of the UHF Discount

Posted in Digital Television, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
As we wrote here, the FCC has requested comments on a petition for reconsideration of the elimination of the UHF discount – which had counted UHF stations as reaching only half of their market in assessing an owner’s compliance with the National Ownership Rules for TV.  These rules limit an attributable owner from having an… Continue Reading

Should Online Recruiting Satisfy the FCC’s EEO Requirements for Wide Dissemination of Job Openings? – Comments Requested on Petition Saying that it Does

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, Television
The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice of the filing of a Petition for Rulemaking asking the FCC to declare that a broadcaster, by using its own airwaves and online sources to publicize job openings at its station, satisfies the requirement that a broadcaster widely disseminate information about job openings to members of all groups… Continue Reading

Reconsideration of FCC Order on UHF Discount Published in the Federal Register – Starts Clock on Comments and Consideration of the Multiple Ownership Rules by a Republican-Led FCC

Posted in FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television
While several parties went to Court to challenge the FCC’s decision ending the UHF discount, one broadcaster decided instead to ask for reconsideration. That petition for reconsideration has now been published in the Federal Register, giving interested parties until December 27 to comment, and other parties until January 6 to reply to any comments that… Continue Reading

Stage 4 Reverse Auction to Begin Tuesday, December 12 – 84 MHz Clearing Target

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
As expected, and as we wrote last week, the FCC announced Friday that the reverse auction phase of Stage 4 of the Incentive Auction will begin tomorrow, December 12, 2016. The FCC also, as expected, confirmed that the clearing target will be 84 MHz, meaning that the FCC will be looking to clear TV channels… Continue Reading

Incentive Auction News: Stage 3 Forward Auction Closes After One Round, Stage 4 to Commence Next Week; GAO Issues Report on Effects on LPTV; Court Dismisses Appeal of TV Station Exclusion from Auction

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
Yesterday was a busy day for the TV incentive auction, where the FCC is attempting to clear portions of the TV band by paying TV stations to surrender their licenses, and repurpose the cleared spectrum for wireless broadband users. As we wrote earlier this week, Stage 3 of the Forward Auction started yesterday, where wireless… Continue Reading

Stage 3 of the Reverse Auction is in the Books at $40 Billion – Forward Auction to Begin on Monday

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Television
The FCC last week announced that Stage 3 of the reverse auction portion of the FCC Incentive Auction is now complete, and the amount necessary to be paid to TV stations to vacate the required spectrum in this stage is $40,313,164,425.  This represents a drop from the $54,586,032,836 clearing cost that resulted from Stage 2 reverse… Continue Reading

FCC Extends for 18 Months the Requirement for TV Stations to Convert Visual Emergency Information to Audio on SAP Channel

Posted in Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC released an order last week giving TV stations an additional 18 months to comply with a requirement that emergency information conveyed to the TV audience during non-news programming in a visual or graphical manner (e.g. on-screen weather maps during entertainment programming) be converted to audio that is broadcast on the TV station’s SAP… Continue Reading

FCC Reminds TV Broadcasters that Reports on Ancillary and Supplementary Services (and Required Fees) Are Due By December 1

Posted in Digital Television, FCC Fees, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice reminding all TV broadcasters (full-power, LPTV, translator and Class A stations, both commercial and noncommercial, if they have digital operations) that they must, by December 1, file a report as to whether or not they provide ancillary and supplementary services through their broadcast spectrum. If they do provide such services,… Continue Reading

Trademark Basics, Part Five: Trademarks on the Internet

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, On Line Media, Television, Trademark, Website Issues
Once you have identified your marks and sought protection through registration for some or all of them, there are still going to be other issues that you will need to consider. Trademark owners have an obligation to police their marks and take steps to stop infringers. Otherwise, they may run the risk that someone else… Continue Reading

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Drones, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Television
Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here. This update was published today, and provides a summary of the status of legal and regulatory issues ranging from the… Continue Reading

What Could Possibly Go Wrong With a Broadcast Contest? – From the Legal Side

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Earlier this week, our friends at the broadcast and digital media consulting and research firm Jacobs Media posted an article on their blog called “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” dealing with the financial and reputational issues that can arise if a contest is not fully thought out. That article reminded me of all of the… Continue Reading

Emergency Communications Updates: FCC Hotline for Hurricane Matthew, Reminder on Accessibility of Emergency Warnings, and Possible Extension for Audio Conversion of Certain Visual Emergency Information

Posted in Emergency Communications, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
With the approach of Hurricane Matthew to the coast of the southeast United States, emergency communications is a high priority for all media outlets. Emergency communications have also been a hot issue at the FCC – with 3 notices in the last week dealing with this important subject. One notice was to provide emergency contact… Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Obligations, Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports, and Incentive Auction Comment Deadlines

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
Another month has started – and it is one with regulatory dates for broadcasters. All broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, have an obligation to complete their Quarterly Issues Programs lists and place them into their public inspection filed by October 10. For TV stations and large-market commercial radio, that means that these lists need to be… Continue Reading

FCC Updates Foreign Ownership Compliance Policies for Broadcast Companies

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Television, Uncategorized
At the FCC’s open meeting last week, the Commission adopted new policies for assessing and computing foreign ownership of broadcast companies – particularly such ownership in public companies. The Commission’s Report and Order on this matter is dense reading, dealing with how companies assess compliance with the rules which limit foreign ownership to 20% of… Continue Reading

How Do Bars and Restaurants Get Rights to Play Radio, TV, Audio and Video on Their Premises?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Television
Bars and Restaurants, to make their businesses more attractive to customers, often feature music or video, often broadcast radio or TV.  We wrote about the issues for businesses that play the radio on their premises here.  This week, Landslide, the magazine of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Division, published an article that I wrote… Continue Reading

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