FM Translators and LPFM

This week, Commissioners Carr and Starks issued a joint statement congratulating Chairwoman Rosenworcel for circulating an order to resolve the FCC’s long-pending proceeding about whether to authorize “zonecasting” or “geo-targeting” for FM stations.  Zonecasting would allow FM broadcasters to use FM booster stations operating on the same channel as their main signal, within a station’s existing service area, to originate different programming in different parts of their markets.  Theoretically, this would allow a station to run different commercials in different parts of a station’s service area during the same commercial break. The Commissioners applauded the technical innovation giving broadcasters a choice as to whether they will implement the new system.  While some small broadcasters have supported this proposal, many other broadcasters have vehemently opposed the idea.  Why would so many broadcasters oppose the idea that the Commission seems poised to adopt?

Many of the objections are technical in nature.  Even though the proponents of the system argue that they have minimized any interference that would occur from different FM boosters originating different programming on the same channel as the main station on the same frequency in the same service area, other broadcasters argue that no matter how good the technology, putting more signals on the same channel cannot avoid creating more FM noise.  In today’s electronic world, there are already innumerable sources of potential noise to over-the-air signals, and adding programming on the same channel cannot avoid adding to the problem.Continue Reading FCC Nears Decision on Zonecasting for FM Stations – What’s at Stake?

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.

  • President Biden signed a Continuing Resolution passed by Congress averting a federal government shutdown that was to begin on January

Expecting quiet weeks, we took the holidays off from providing our weekly summary of regulatory actions of interest to broadcasters.  But, during that period, there actually were many regulatory developments.  Here are some of those developments, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your

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

  • The FCC adopted a Report and Order establishing rules implementing the January 2023 Low Power Protection Act, which provides

The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice extending for two days the now-open window for the filing of applications for new LPFM stations – applicants now have until 12:00 PM Eastern Time on December 15, 2023 to file their applications.  See our articles herehere, and here for more information on the LPFM

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

  • The AM for Every Vehicle Act was scheduled for a US Senate vote this week through an expedited process

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

Even with the holidays upon us, regulation never stops.  There are numerous regulatory dates in December to which broadcasters need to keep in mind.  Furthermore, as the 2024 presidential campaign is already underway, there are political advertising deadlines to watch out for.  Here are some of the upcoming deadlines:

December 1 is the filing deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports by all licensees of commercial and noncommercial full-power TV/AM/FM stations, Class A TV stations, and LPTV stations.  The reports must reflect station ownership as of October 1, 2023 (see our article here on the FCC’s recent reminder about these reports).  The FCC has been pushing for stations to fill these out completely and accurately by the deadline (see this reminder issued by the FCC last week), as the Commission uses these reports to get a snapshot of who owns and controls what broadcast stations, including information about the race and gender of station owners and their other broadcast interests (see our article from 2021 about the importance the FCC attaches to these filings). Continue Reading December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Biennial Ownership Reports, Annual EEO Public File Reports, LPFM Filing Window, LUC Political Windows for 2024 Election, 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.

  • The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced that comments responding to the Bureau’s proposed final deadlines for the submission of reimbursement

November is a month where there are no regularly scheduled regulatory deadlines.  But the big question for broadcasters may be whether the FCC will continue to function throughout the month. The last-minute continuing resolution passed by Congress on September 30 extended federal government funding through November 17 – which again raises the possibility of a federal government shutdown beginning in late November if Congress does not approve new funding measures for Fiscal Year 2024 by that date.  As we discussed in our previous article regarding October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters, if a government shutdown does occur, the FCC and other government agencies may have to cease all but critical functions if they do not have any residual funds to continue operations.  In late September, the FCC announced that it had sufficient leftover funds to keep operating for about two weeks after a shutdown.  We do not know if those funds are still available, so we need to be watching to see what happens between now and November 17.

Assuming that there is no shutdown, there are a number of other dates that broadcasters should be watching.  All broadcasters need to remember that November 20 is the deadline to file their ETRS Form Three to provide more detailed information regarding their stations’ performance during the October 4 Nationwide EAS Test.  See our article here regarding this year’s EAS test and broadcasters’ reporting obligations.  This deadline is important for many reasons – not just to avoid potential penalties for missing the filing deadline, but also to demonstrate broadcasters’ commitment to the emergency communications system as broadcasters’ role in that system is the principal reason for Congress to be presently considering the bill to require AM radio in every car.  See our article here for more on the importance of accurate reporting. Continue Reading November Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EAS ETRS Form 3, 12.5 GHz Registrations, C-Band Transition Comment Deadline, a Possible Government Shutdown, and More