Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

April brings to an end the four-year license renewal cycle that began in 2019 with the filing of renewals by radio stations in the Washington DC area. Our monthly updates, like this one, will thus not be highlighting license renewal dates again until mid-2027.  But there are always other regulatory dates which broadcasters need to note.  There are EEO Public File reports due in April for certain states (as they are every other month), the requirement for all full-power broadcast stations to upload to their public file their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, and there are a number of rulemaking comment deadlines of interest to broadcasters.  So, let’s look at some of the important regulatory dates for broadcasters in April.   

As April 1 is a Saturday, April 3 is the deadline by which television stations, LPTV stations, TV translators and Class A stations in Delaware and Pennsylvania must file their license renewal applications, bringing to a close the current TV license renewal cycle.  Renewal applications must be accompanied by FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396 Broadcast EEO Program Report (except for LPFMs and TV translators).  Stations filing for renewal of their license should make sure that all documents required to be uploaded to the station’s online public file are complete and were uploaded on time.  Be sure to read the instructions for the license renewal application and consult with your advisors if you have questions, especially if you have noticed any discrepancies in your online public file or political file.  Issues with the public file have repeatedly led to fines imposed on broadcasters during renewal cycles.Continue Reading April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – License Renewals, EEO Reports, Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists, Rulemaking Comments Including FTC Comments on Noncompete Agreements, and More

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • As widely reported, Gigi Sohn has asked President Biden to withdraw her nomination to become the third Democratic FCC Commissioner

Yesterday’s big news across the broadcast press was that Gigi Sohn, who had for well over a year been the nominee of the Biden administration to fill the open seat at the FCC, withdrew her name from consideration.  This may have been in reaction to circulated stories that there were several Democratic Senators who still were not committed to vote for her nomination without whose support she could not have been confirmed.  Until the Biden administration can make another nomination and have that nominee go through the confirmation process in the Senate, the FCC will continue to have two Democratic Commissioners and two Republican ones, potentially stalling action on some rulemaking matters where there is a partisan split on the pending issue.  We wrote in January in our look at the issues pending before the FCC about some of the issues that the FCC could face in 2023.  In light of the seeming extension of the partisan divide on the FCC, we thought that we would again highlight some of the issues likely to be affected by the current state of the Commission. 

But it is first worth noting that, merely because there is a partisan split among the Commissioners, this does not mean that nothing of significance will happen at the FCC.  As we wrote yesterday, the TEGNA merger was designated for hearing, potentially leading to its demise.  This was done not by an action of the Commissioners, but instead by its Media Bureau.  Interpretations of FCC authority in specific cases by the Media Bureau, the Enforcement Bureau or other lower-level bureaus and offices within the Commission can be just as impactful on any specific company as are the big policy decisions made by the Commissioners themselves.  Just as the TEGNA designation could have significant ramifications for broadcast dealmaking if its conclusions are taken to their logical ends, Bureau-level decisions can set day-to-day policy on many issues if the Commission itself cannot make broader decisions through their rulemaking process.Continue Reading Gigi Sohn Withdraws from Consideration for Open Seat as FCC Commissioner – What that Means for Broadcast Regulation

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • FCC Commissioner Simington issued a statement supporting a recent letter from former FEMA leaders to the Department of Transportation highlighting

Early this year, we provided our look into the crystal ball to see what was on the FCC’s agenda for broadcasters in  the coming year.  Yesterday, the FCC published in the Federal Register its own list – its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda – listing an inventory of the matters at the FCC awaiting Commission action.  The

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The Senate Commerce Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on February 14 on the long-delayed nomination of Gigi

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • On Tuesday, January 17, the Public Notice that initiates the 2022 quadrennial review of the FCC’s media ownership rules is

It’s a new year, and it’s time to look ahead at what Washington may have in store for broadcasters this year.  The FCC may be slow to tackle some of the big issues on its agenda (like the completion of 2018 Quadrennial Review or any other significant partisan issue) as it still has only four Commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans.  On controversial issues like changes to the ownership rules, there tends to be a partisan divide.  As the nomination of Gigi Sohn expired at the end of the last Congress in December, the Biden administration was faced with the question of whether to renominate her and hope that the confirmation process moves more quickly this time, or to come up with a new nominee whose credentials will be reviewed by the Senate.  It was announced this week that the administration has decided to renominate her, meaning that her confirmation process will begin anew.  How long that process takes and when the fifth commissioner is seated may well set the tone for what actions the FCC takes in broadcast regulation this year.

Perhaps the most significant issue at the FCC facing broadcasters is the resolution of the 2018 Quadrennial Review to assess the current local ownership rules and determine if they are still in the public interest.  As we wrote last week, the FCC has already started the 2022 review, as required by Congress, even though it has not resolved the issues raised in the 2018 review.  For the radio industry, those issues include the potential relaxation of the local radio ownership rules.  As we have written, some broadcasters and the NAB have pushed the FCC to recognize that the radio industry has significantly changed since the ownership limits were adopted in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and local radio operators need a bigger platform from which to compete with the new digital companies that compete for audience and advertising in local markets.  Other companies have been reluctant to endorse changes – but even many of them recognize that relief from the ownership limits on AM stations would be appropriate.Continue Reading Looking Into the Crystal Ball – What’s Coming in Broadcast Regulation in 2023 From the FCC