Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2012

FCC Votes to Require Online Public File for TV Stations – Rejects Compromise for Political File

Posted in Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
At its meeting today, the FCC voted to require that television stations maintain most of their public inspection files online, in a database to be created by the FCC (see the FCC’s Public Notice here).  While the details about this obligation have not yet been released, from the comments at the FCC meeting, much is already evident.   All TV… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes to Liberalize Rules Against Noncommercial Stations Fundraising For Third-Party Non-Profit Groups

Posted in Noncommercial Broadcasting
The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggesting, with significant limitations, a liberalization of its rules that prohibit noncommercial broadcasters from raising funds for an entity other than the station itself if the fundraising suspends or alters normal programming of the station. As we’ve written before, the FCC prohibits noncommercial broadcasters from raising funds… Continue Reading

Extension of Time for Comments on Whether an Internet Delivered Video Service Is an MVPD Under the Communications Act

Posted in Cable Carriage, Internet Video
As we wrote last month, the Commission has asked for public comment on whether an Internet delivered video programming service can qualify under the FCC rules and the Communications Act to be treated as a multichannel video programming distributor (an "MVPD").  While the FCC has in the past determined that an MVPD needs to have facilities… Continue Reading

Is $10,000 the New Normal for FCC Fines for Public File Violations for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists?

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal
In three proposed fines issued in the last few weeks, the FCC proposed $10,000 fines for the failure of stations to have all of their required Quarterly Issues Programs Lists in their public files.  In one case, the deficiency was discovered by an FCC inspector, filing random reports missing from 2007-2009.  In two others (here involving a noncommercial… Continue Reading

All the Legal Issues Facing Broadcasters – Presentation to the Oklahoma Broadcasters and Summary in TV NewsCheck

Posted in General FCC
In the last few weeks, I’ve twice had the occasion to summarize the legal issues facing broadcasters, and it amazes me at how many issue there are and, how quickly the issues are changing. On April 12, I did an update on these issue to the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters at their annual convention – the PowerPoint slides for… Continue Reading

FCC Retracts Text-to-Speech Prohibition from New EAS Rules

Posted in Emergency Communications
The conversion of EAS alerts from text to speech by broadcast stations and cable systems, through systems contained in the stations and systems EAS equipment, was prohibited in the FCC’s Fifth Report and Order (summarized here) implementing the rules for the technology for the Common Alerting Protocol – the Internet-based alert system that must be activated… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Strikes Down Communications Act Ban on Political and Issue Advertising on Noncommercial Broadcasting Stations – Analyzing the Issues

Posted in Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting
The Communications Act’s ban on noncommercial broadcast stations running political and issue advertising was struck down as unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  While the Court upheld the prohibition on commercial advertising for products and services, the majority of the Court felt that the ban on political advertising could not be… Continue Reading

$11,000 FCC Fine to MVPD for EEO Rule Violations

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines
Broadcasters are not the only ones with FCC-regulated EEO obligations.  Cable system operators and other MVPDs have similar FCC EEO obligations, requiring wide dissemination of information about job openings and the maintenance of public file information.  In a decision released today, the FCC proposed a $11,000 fine to an MVPD for failing to widely disseminate information about… Continue Reading

Music Royalty Settlement Announced on Mechanical Royalties – Not A Decision on Webcasting Rates

Posted in Internet Radio, Music Rights
The broadcast and music trade press brought news of a settlement between music companies and digital media services regrading digital music royalties.  Some press reports jumped to the conclusion that the decision had something to do with the royalty rates that Internet radio companies pay SoundExchange for streaming their music on the Internet.  Others expressed disappointment that… Continue Reading

On the Schedule for the April 27 FCC Meeting: Television Public Interest Obligations, TV Channel Sharing and Third-Party Fundraising by Noncommercial Broadcasters

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Three broadcast items are tentatively scheduled for the next FCC meeting, to be held on April 27, according to the tentative agenda released today.  In one expected action, though perhaps moving more quickly than many thought possible, the FCC has indicated that it will adopt an Order in its proceeding requiring TV broadcasters to place… Continue Reading

May 7 Deadline Set for Comments on Proposed Rules on Interference to Full-Power FM by LPFM Stations, and on LPFM Service Rules (Including Proposal for 250 Watt LPFM Stations)

Posted in FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM
Determining how much interference to full-power FM stations is acceptable from LPFM stations is perhaps, in the long run, one of the most important issues discussed in the FCC’s two orders released two weeks ago clarifying the rules for LPFM stations.  The FCC’s proposals on this issue, and several others, has now been published in the Federal Register, asking… Continue Reading

Monitor Required Tower Lighting – FCC Proposes $17,000 Fine for Violations

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Communications towers that are not lit as required often bring big fines from the FCC.  In two decisions released today, the Commission followed that precedent.  In one case, the FCC proposed a fine of $17,000 to a tower owner after repeated promises to fix lights that were out did not result in any resolution of the issue after… Continue Reading

Online Video Services Prompt FCC to Ask for Comments on Definition of MVPD

Posted in Cable Carriage, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
As technology changes, the definitions in the FCC rules don’t always keep up.  In a public notice released last Friday, the FCC asked for public comment on what its definition of an "MVPD" – Multichannel Video Programming Distributor – means for purposes of its program access rules. These rules limit exclusive contracts for certain programming that one… Continue Reading

FCC Moving Toward the Auction of TV Spectrum for Wireless – More Class A Stations To Lose Protection and No Full Power Move-Ins to Major Markets

Posted in Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Television
While the FCC has not yet started a proceeding to set rules for the auction of television spectrum for broadband purposes, the Commission is taking steps to clear the spectrum in other ways.  Two weeks ago, we wrote about the FCC’s actions proposing to remove the Class A designation from certain LPTV stations that had… Continue Reading

FCC and Public Interest Groups Demand Copies of TV Stations’ Public Inspection Files, As FCC Nears Decision About Requiring That The Complete File Be Posted Online

Posted in General FCC, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
While rumors are flying that the FCC is rushing to adopt its proposals to require that TV stations put their public inspection files online (see our summary of the proposals here), both the FCC and public interest groups are targeting the public files of television stations – looking to copy some or all of those files.  Rumors… Continue Reading

Effective Dates for FCC Rules Requiring Captioning of Online Video Announced

Posted in Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
We recently wrote about the FCC’s new rules requiring the captioning of television video retransmitted on the Internet.  Those rules have now been published in the Federal Register, which sets the effective dates for the implementation of those rules.  The rules become effective on April 30, which means that any video that is broadcast on… Continue Reading