November is another of those months with no regular filing obligations – no EEO public file and Mid-Term reports, no noncommercial ownership reports, and no quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports. EEO public file reports and noncommercial station ownership reports, being tied to renewal dates, will be back in December. See our Broadcaster’s Calendar, here, for information about the states where stations have such obligations. For all commercial radio and TV stations, November also means that they should be completing their Biennial Ownership Reports, which are due on December 2 (extended from the November 1 due date by FCC action noted, see our article here). Those reports submit a snapshot of broadcast station ownership as of October 1, so they can be filed at any time in November.
The end of November also brings the effective date of the requirement that TV stations convert the text of their emergency alerts run in entertainment programs (like weather alerts) into speech, with that audio to be broadcast on the station’s SAP channel. See our articles here and here on that requirement.
The FCC just announced that Petitions for Reconsideration of the Auction 1000 Application Procedures Public Notice (see our article here on the establishment of rules for the conduct of the incentive auction) are due on November 30. The FCC is also seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget for its proposed new FCC Form 177, which is the form that television stations will need to file between December 1 and December 18 in order to participate in the incentive auction. Comments on the proposed form are due November 13 (see the Federal Register notice, here). Comments are also due on the FCC’s proposal to change regulatory fees to assess whether the allocation of FCC fees to broadcasters should change, potentially changing the allocation of fees among radio and TV, and even changing the allocation of those fees among various classes of radio stations, potentially creating a higher fee tier for larger stations. The Federal Register summary of those proposals is here.
On a non-FCC matter, we wrote here about the November 20 deadline for commercial radio broadcasters to opt into the Radio Music License Committee settlement of their antitrust lawsuit with SESAC. Opting in would entitle a station to be covered by the RMLC negotiations with SESAC to attempt to reach an agreement over rates for the next 3 years, and failing agreement, to litigate on those rates before an arbitration panel.
While this may look like a light month, there are plenty of deadlines coming in December, including applications by TV stations to be included in the incentive auction (see our article here) and comments on the FCC’s proposed changes to the good faith requirement for retransmission consent negotiations (see our article here, though an extension request has recently been filed by broadcast groups looking to push those comments back two months). Also in December, we will likely see the Copyright Royalty Board reach its decision on Internet Radio Royalties for 2016-2020 (see our article here about the hearings). No time to relax while you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!