So just what legal, regulatory and legislative issues are currently facing broadcasters in Washington? On Tuesday, I did a panel at the Connecticut Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention in Hartford with Kelly Cole, the Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the NAB. In putting together our presentation, one of the most striking things to me was the number of different issues facing broadcasters with which the NAB is dealing. 57 different issues are set forth on the slides from the presentation (available here). They range from Congressional matters such as spectrum auction authority (about which we recently wrote here), retransmission consent reform, and the performance royalty; to FCC regulatory issues including ownership reform, rural radio issues and the FM translator/LPFM debate; to issues pending in many other venues – including international intellectual property reforms and issues at the FTC and Copyright Office. Even this list is incomplete, as there are other slides that we discussed during our presentation, including issues such as the upcoming consideration at the FCC meeting next week of an online public inspection file requirement for broadcasters (see our recent article here), video captioning of internet programming repurposed by broadcasters from materials already shown over-the-air (see our article here) to more mundane but nevertheless very important issues like the December 1 deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports for commercial broadcasters (see our article here). Also, as set out in the slides, there are all sorts of new deadlines coming up for broadcasters in addition to the Biennial Ownership Report, including the National EAS Test, the implementation of the CALM Act and the requirements for captioning video repurposed to the web, political broadcasting lowest unit rate windows that may be open or opening in many states, as well as license renewal deadlines for many broadcasters.
Plenty to be concerned about, and plenty to follow and, where appropriate, to let your voice be heard on the many topics of importance.