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Category Archives: Emergency Communications

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FCC Continues War on Pirate Radio – Seizes Equipment of Boston Stations While New Legislative Tools May Be on the Way

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC yesterday announced that they had seized the equipment of two Boston-area pirate radio stations that had refused to cease operations after receiving FCC notices to do so. The FCC Public Notice on the seizure thanks the US Attorney’s Office and US Marshall’s Office, and the Boston Police Department, for assisting the FCC Field… Continue Reading

FCC Requests Comments on Extension of Compliance Deadline for TV Stations to Convert Non-Textual Emergency Information into Audio on SAP Channel

Posted in Emergency Communications, Television
In 2015, TV broadcasters were required to convert textual warnings about emergency events that are broadcast outside of news programs  (e.g. weather alerts that are displayed as textual crawls during entertainment programming) into audio, and to transmit that audio on the station’s SAP channel. The deadline for that requirement was extended, and then paired back when… Continue Reading

With April Fools’ Day Coming Up, Plan Your On-Air Pranks with Care – Remember the FCC Hoax Rule

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With April Fools’ Day falling on a Sunday this year, perhaps the potential for on-air pranks is lessened. But, then again, who knows what weekend talent may be planning? So, as we do every year about is time, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our reminder that broadcasters need… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing on Multilingual EAS Obligations for Broadcasters

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
As we wrote here, MMTC (a DC-based public interest group) had petitioned the US Court of Appeals for a Rehearing on its decision (about which we wrote here) upholding the FCC decision deciding not to impose any multilingual EAS obligations on broadcasters.  The full Court of Appeals has just issued a one sentence order denying… Continue Reading

What Issues Should Broadcasters be Considering When Taking Advantage of New Rules Abolishing Main Studio and Staffing Requirements?

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC this week published a Small Business Compliance Guide for companies looking to take advantage of the FCC’s elimination of the main studio rules and the studio staffing requirements associated with those rules (see our articles here and here summarizing the rule changes). The Compliance Guide points out that stations looking to eliminate their… Continue Reading

New “Blue Alert” EAS Warning Order Published in the Federal Register – To be Implemented By Broadcasters by January 18, 2019

Posted in Emergency Communications
As we wrote here, the FCC recently adopted a new Blue Alert code to be added to the warning codes in the EAS system. This code is to be used for warnings about imminent danger to law enforcement authorities. The FCC’s Order (available in full here) has now been published in the Federal Register, making… Continue Reading

Washington Legal Issues for TV Broadcasters – Where Things Stand in the New Year

Posted in Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It’s a new year, and a good time to reflect on where all the Washington issues for TV broadcasters stand at the moment, especially given the rapid pace of change since the new administration took over just about a year ago. While we try on this Blog to write about many of the DC issues… Continue Reading

Request Filed for Rehearing of Court Decision on Multilingual EAS Alerts

Posted in Emergency Communications
As we wrote here, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently reached a 2-1 decision upholding the FCC’s decision to not impose obligations on broadcasters to broadcast multilingual EAS alerts. However, MMTC, the public interest group seeking the imposition of the requirements, has asked for what is… Continue Reading

December FCC Meeting to be an Important One for Broadcasters and Other Media Companies

Posted in Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Television, Tower Issues, Website Issues
Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the FCC released the tentative agenda for its December meeting. From that agenda, it appears that the meeting will be an important one for broadcasters and other media companies. Already, the press has spent incredible amounts of time focusing on one item, referred to as “Restoring Internet Freedom” by the… Continue Reading

Two Updates – Effective Date of Noncommercial Fundraising and EAS Form 3 Filing

Posted in Emergency Communications, Noncommercial Broadcasting
We wanted to remind you about two recent regulatory dates in case you have overlooked them. A number of trade press articles reminded broadcasters that yesterday was the due date for the filing of Form 3 of the ETRS reporting system, reporting on the results of this year’s Nationwide EAS tests. If you did not… Continue Reading

November Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Broadcast Ownership, ATSC, Main Studio, EAS, TV Improvements and FM Translator Settlements

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Digital Television, Emergency Communications, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
While November is an odd numbered month in which there are no deadlines for EEO Public File or Mid-term Reports, and it is not the beginning of a new calendar quarter when Quarterly Issues Programs Reports are added to a station’s public file and Quarterly Children’s Television Reports are filed with the FCC, that does… Continue Reading

Court Rejects Appeal of FCC Decision Not to Mandate Multilingual EAS Alerts – Highlighting Requirement that Broadcasters Report To Their SECC in Early November About Emergency Information to Non-English Speakers

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Television
The United States Court of Appeals yesterday issued an order denying the appeal of an FCC order that rejected a requirement that multilingual EAS alerts be provided in every market.  We wrote about the FCC’s proceeding here and here. The Court upheld the FCC’s decision as reasonable, finding that the Commission did not have enough… Continue Reading

FCC Reminder to Video Programming Distributors – Including Broadcasters – on Accessibility Obligations

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Television
With the recent hurricanes and last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the FCC Public Notice issued last week reminding all video programmers of the importance of making emergency information accessible to all viewers seems very timely. The public notice serves as a good refresher on all of the obligations of video programmers designed to make… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Guidance for Broadcasters and Other Regulated Services in the Path of Hurricane Irma

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Television
The FCC has issued a series of public notices to broadcasters and other FCC regulated entities in the path of Hurricane Irma. General guidance was issued by the FCC, here, discussing how stations can get special temporary authority to operate with facilities different than those specified in their licenses by email or even by telephone… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack Deadlines and GMR License Extension

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Political Broadcasting, Television
Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for… Continue Reading

Reminder – ETRS Form One to be Filed by August 27 By All EAS Participants – Including Broadcasters – In Anticipation of September Nationwide EAS Test

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Television
All EAS Participants – including all full-power broadcasters – must complete the 2017 ETRS Form One on or before August 28, 2017.  We wrote about this obligation here. The filing deadline was set for next week as the ETRS system is used so that stations can report on the results of nationwide EAS tests. With… Continue Reading

August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO, Translators, Media Regulation Modernization, EAS, Incentive Auction and More

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Programming Regulations, Television
It’s almost August, and despite it being vacation time for many, there are still regulatory dates that must be addressed by the broadcast industry. Routine filing dates this coming month include the need for EEO Public Inspection File Reports to be included in station’s public inspection files (either the online files for all TV stations… Continue Reading

More Details on FCC’s Upcoming Nationwide EAS Test Including August 28 Deadline to Update Information in ETRS Reporting System

Posted in Emergency Communications
We wrote earlier this week about the upcoming EAS Nationwide Test and the need for broadcasters to make sure that their EAS equipment is operating in compliance with all FCC rules. The FCC itself has now released its own Public Notice detailing the many things that broadcasters need to check at their facilities before the… Continue Reading

Proposed $66,000 Fine Reminds Broadcasters to Prepare for September Nationwide EAS Test

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has notified the FCC that it will be conducting the next nationwide test of the EAS system on September 27, 2017 (with a back-up date of October 4, 2017 – in the event potential real emergencies make the earlier date one that could cause confusion). The FCC has updated… Continue Reading

TV Station Agrees to $55,000 Payment for EAS Tones Used in Promotional Announcement

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
The FCC yesterday announced a consent decree with TEGNA, the licensee of a television station in Jacksonville, Florida, which used simulated EAS tones in a promotional announcement for the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. According to the consent decree, the station ran the announcement only 4 times. It was apparently produced by the team and inserted… Continue Reading

FCC Extends for 18 Months the Requirement for TV Stations to Convert Visual Emergency Information to Audio on SAP Channel

Posted in Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC released an order last week giving TV stations an additional 18 months to comply with a requirement that emergency information conveyed to the TV audience during non-news programming in a visual or graphical manner (e.g. on-screen weather maps during entertainment programming) be converted to audio that is broadcast on the TV station’s SAP… Continue Reading

EAS Coordinators in Each State Have One Year to Gather Information about Emergency Alerts to Non-English Speaking Listeners

Posted in Emergency Communications
Earlier this year, the FCC decided not to adopt a proposal that would have required at least one broadcast station in each community to provide emergency alerts to local listeners who do not speak English. The FCC decision deciding to not mandate multilingual EAS alerts is here, and our article on the initial proposal is… Continue Reading

November Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, EAS, Political and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Political Broadcasting
November is one of those few months where there is a very light load of routine regulatory filings for broadcasters.  This is a month with no routine FCC ownership or children’s television reports.  There are no routine EEO reports for the public file, and no other FCC regularly-scheduled deadlines. Of course, there are several other… Continue Reading

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Drones, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Television
Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here. This update was published today, and provides a summary of the status of legal and regulatory issues ranging from the… Continue Reading