Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the last week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- FEMA officials announced at the NAB Show that there will be no national EAS test in 2022. FEMA is planning for the next test to occur in the early part of 2023.
- The FCC released a draft Order that, if adopted, would allow FM and LPFM broadcasters using directional antennas to use computer modeling to verify the antennas’ directional patterns. The current requirement is that an FM or LPFM directional antenna’s performance measured relative field pattern must be verified using either a full-scale mockup or a scale model on a test range or in an anechoic chamber. The proposed rule change would bring the FM rules in line with those for AM and DTV directional antennas. Watch for a vote on this item at the FCC’s May 22 Open Meeting. (Draft Order)
- The chief of the Media Bureau’s Audio Division, Al Shuldiner, told NAB Show attendees that the migration of applications and forms from the FCC’s legacy filing portal CDBS to its current portal LMS will continue next month. LMS users should watch for a Public Notice in mid-May. This will include moving STA requests, now submitted by email, to LMS. In the same session, Video Division chief Barbara Kreisman encouraged licensees and their attorneys to ensure that their LMS contact information is correct so that the FCC can contact the proper person when necessary, particularly to resolve issues with pending renewal applications. Media Bureau Chief Holly Sauer urged broadcasters to respond to FCC inquiries about Biennial Ownership Reports, as the FCC staff has been reviewing the reports filed at the end of last year and identifying corrections that are necessary, and it wants to complete that review shortly. She also indicated that the FCC would be bringing back the FCC Form 395, annually reporting the breakdown by race and gender of each station’s employees. That form has not been used for the last two decades. We wrote about the proposal for the return of that form, and the issues the FCC is considering, in an article on our Broadcast Law Blog, here.
- The FCC announced the status of the fourteen applications submitted in Auction 112, the June auction of construction permits for 27 new full-power TV stations. Seven applications are complete, and those applicants can move forward and submit their upfront payments. Six applications are incomplete and need to be amended, and one application was rejected because it proposed a noncommercial educational station and the auction rules do not allow for the inclusion of noncommercial applications in a commercial auction where there are commercial applicants for the same channel. To continue in the auction, those with incomplete applications must submit amendments, and all participating parties must make upfront payments, both to be submitted by 6 p.m. Eastern on May 6. Bidding will begin on June 7. See the Public Notice for more details. (Complete Applications) (Incomplete Applications) (Rejected Application)