Today FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin released a tentative agenda for the scheduled December 18, 2008 Open Commission Meeting. The tentative agenda, available here, contains a number of items that the Chairman has circulated to the other Commissioners for consideration at the upcoming Open Meeting. Whether these items actually make it to the agenda for that meeting remains to be seen, as the formal agenda for the meeting will not be released until one week before the meeting. Of particular interest to broadcasters are the following items:
- Program Carriage and Program Access– A Report and Order modifying the program carriage rules and procedures and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the practices of programmers and broadcasters.
- DTV Translators– A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing a new digital television translator service for analog loss areas.
- DTV Consumer Education Notice of Apparent Liability– An omnibus Notice of Apparent Liability against various companies for apparent violations of the Commission’s DTV consumer education requirements.
It is unknown whether the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (FCC-speak for a fine) will include broadcast television stations, retailers, multi-channel video providers, or some combination of all three, but the fact that the FCC intends to fine parties for failing to comply with the FCC’s DTV education rules is a strong indication of how seriously it is taking the DTV transition.