The FCC has released the agenda for its Open Meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 27. The agenda is full of issues of importance to broadcasters, and several items may resolve issues that may be troubling – including issues relating to low power FM stations (LPFM) and resolving a long outstanding proceeding concerning the possibility of mandatory public interest obligations for TV stations. The Commission also has on tap initiatives to encourage the entry of minorities and other new entrants into the broadcast business – even though comments on the Commission’s proposals on this matter were received just a month ago.
First, the Commission is to release an Order on Low Power FM. We have written about some of the issues that could be decided previously – including issues of whether or not to allow the assignment and transfer of such stations (here) and whether to give these stations preferences over translators and even improvements in full power stations (here and here).
On the TV side, the Commission seems ready to issue an order on the public interest obligations of television operators. We wrote about the proposals – made as part of the Commission’s DTV proceedings (though to be applicable to all TV stations), here. Proposed rules included the standardization of quarterly issues programs lists, making station’s public fies available on the Internet, and quantifying other public interest obligations.
The proceeding to encourage minority ownership has a laundry list of new proposals, from allowing minority groups to buy expiring construction permits for new stations and giving them increased time to construct, to allowing various modifications of the multiple ownership rules that would allow investments by non-minorities in companies controlled by minorities or new entrants. We summarized those proposals here. With the last comments on these proposals just filed on October 15, this would be an exceedingly quick action – as actions on most rulemaking proposals usually take a year or more to resolve.
This could be an incredibly important meeting for broadcasters – so be sure to watch for the results on Tuesday.