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FCC Starts First EEO Audit of Radio and TV Stations for 2019 – And Announces Upcoming Review of its EEO Audit and Enforcement Program

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, License Renewal

On Friday, the FCC issued its first EEO audit of almost 300 radio and TV stations across the country (see the model audit letter and list of stations affected here), the day after announcing its intent to abolish the Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report (see our articles here and here).  In the Order announcing the… Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Order to Eliminate the EEO Mid-Term Report and Starts Rulemaking Proceeding to Review Proceedings on Grants of New Noncommercial and LPFM Stations

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Translators and LPFM, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting

The FCC at its meeting yesterday adopted the two broadcast items that it was expected to consider (see our article on the agenda here) – one agreeing to eliminate the FCC Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report and a second starting a proceeding to reexamine certain aspects of the criteria used to select the applications to be… Continue Reading

Important Dates for Broadcasters in 2019 – A Broadcaster’s Calendar

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, License Renewal, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

While the shutdown of the Federal government delayed FCC activities in January, with the government back in business (hopefully for the long term), we have put together a Calendar of Important Dates for Broadcasters for 2019, available here. The calendar highlights normal regulatory dates like those for Annual EEO Public Inspection File Reports, Quarterly Issues… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Draft Order to Abolish FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, License Renewal

Along with the draft NPRM we wrote about yesterday to consider changes to the FCC’s rules for granting new construction permits for noncommercial stations and LPFMs, the FCC last week issued another draft order to be considered at its January 30 meeting, assuming that the partial government shutdown has been resolved and the FCC has… Continue Reading

FCC Starts Warning Stations of Noncompliance with Online Public Inspection File Rules

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

This morning, the FCC has started to email out notices to numerous radio stations throughout the country, notifying them that there are issues with their online public inspection files. The email notices do not reveal what the specific problem is – but instead simply say that there are issues and ask for notice of corrective… Continue Reading

Just Seven Months to the Beginning of the License Renewal Cycle – Is Your Station Ready?

Posted in License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

As we have written before, the next license renewal cycle begins on June 1, 2019, with radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia submitting their applications. Radio renewals proceed in with applications every other month from a state or group of states (the schedule is available on the FCC website… Continue Reading

FCC Reminder About Activation of the Online Public Inspection File – Potential Impact of Noncompliance at License Renewal Time

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues

By March 1 of 2018, all radio stations were to have activated their online public file. We wrote about how that activation should be done here, and answered other questions about the online public file for radio here. Yet, from my own review, and from what I have heard from engineers who conduct reviews of… Continue Reading

Another FCC Broadcast Case Designated for Hearing – With Much Different Stakes

Posted in FCC Fines, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, License Renewal

Yesterday, the FCC issued a hearing designation order – though one with much lower stakes than the last designation order issued by the FCC which seemingly resulted in the termination of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. Yesterday’s order was at almost the opposite end of the spectrum from a massive merger of TV companies – the… Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Public File Obligations, Nationwide EAS Test, Registration of C Band Earth Stations, and Comments in Numerous FCC Proceedings

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

October is one of the busiest months on the broadcast regulatory calendar, as it includes a confluence of routine EEO filing requirements, quarterly filing requirements for Children’s Television Reports, public file uploading for all stations for their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, a Nationwide EAS test, and comment dates in many FCC proceedings. Make sure that… Continue Reading

Comments Dates Set on FCC Rulemaking to Explore Reform of Children’s TV Rules – What Is Being Asked?

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, License Renewal, Television

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Children’s Television has been published in the Federal Register, setting the dates for comments on the questions that the FCC asks about changing the rules – particularly those rules dealing with educational and informational programming directed to children. Comments are due September 24, with replies due October 23.… Continue Reading

Moving FCC EEO Enforcement from the Media to the Enforcement Bureau – What Does It Mean?

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, License Renewal

The FCC yesterday adopted an order moving broadcast EEO enforcement from the FCC’s Media Bureau to its Enforcement Bureau. The change will be effective later, after certain procedural approvals are obtained and after notice is published in the Federal Register. As EEO enforcement is primarily aimed at broadcasters and cable companies, and has been part… Continue Reading

A Big Day at the FCC – Kids TV, EAS and C Band Proposals, Incubator and LPTV/FM Repacking Reimbursement Drafts, FM Translator Reconsideration, and NJ TV License Renewal Decision

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

There was lots of news out of the FCC yesterday that will give us issues to write about for weeks to come. Here are some highlights. At its open meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on potentially reforming the children’s television rules – including a review as to whether the current requirement… Continue Reading

Reminder – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists Must Be Placed In Public File Today

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

Last week, in our calendar of regulatory dates for broadcasters in July, we reminded broadcasters that their Quarterly Issues Programs lists needed to be placed in their public file by today, July 10. This quarterly requirement has been in place for over 30 years, but is still an obligation whose breach has led to more… Continue Reading

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EAS Reform, LPFM and FM Translators, C Band Earth Stations and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television

July brings the obligation for each full-power broadcaster to add a new Quarterly Issues Programs List to their online public inspection file. These reports, summarizing the issues facing each station’s community of license in the prior three months and the programs broadcast by the station to address those issues, must be added to the public… Continue Reading

Countdown to License Renewal – Recent FCC Decisions Highlight Some Issues to Consider

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

We are less than one year away from the beginning of the next radio license renewal cycle. By June 1 of 2019, radio broadcasters with stations licensed to communities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia must have their license renewal applications on file. Stations in certain southeastern states follow two months… Continue Reading

June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO, Translators, Political Rules and Earth Stations

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Political Broadcasting, Television, Website Issues

For radio and television stations with 5 or more full-time employees located in Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia, June 1 brings the requirement that you upload to your online inspection file your Annual EEO Public Inspection File Report detailing your employment outreach… Continue Reading

License Renewal Cycle Starts in a Year – Crackdown on Silent Stations and Online Public File Signal Warnings to Broadcasters

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television

Starting June 1, 2019, just over a year from now, the next broadcast license renewal cycle will begin. By that date, radio stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia must file their renewal applications. Every other month for the next 3 years will bring the filing of radio license renewals in another set of… Continue Reading

FCC Grants 39 Radio Stations 60 Days to Complete Online Public File Conversion – Reminder to All Other Broadcasters that their Conversion Should be Complete

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

The FCC yesterday issued an order granting 39 radio stations (almost all stations with very small staffs or those affected by recent hurricanes or otherwise non-operational) 60 days to comply with the requirement that all full-power radio stations complete the transition to the online public file by this past March 1. We wrote about this… Continue Reading

Five Fines of $10,000 or More Proposed for Radio Stations Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists in their Public File – New Concerns for Stations as Public File Goes Online and License Renewal Approaches

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, License Renewal, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television

The FCC’s Audio Division yesterday issued “Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture” to five radio stations; all owned by Cumulus Licensing. Each of these notices proposed a fine (called a “forfeiture” in FCC-speak) of either $10,000 (here) or $12,000 (here, here, here and here), all for violations of the FCC public file rules. All of… Continue Reading

Time for the FCC to Review Children’s Television Educational Programming Obligations of Broadcasters?  Commissioner O’Rielly Thinks So

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Programming Regulations

Last week, Commissioner O’Rielly published an article on the FCC blog, suggesting that one of the next steps in the FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation initiative should be the review of the FCC rules setting obligations for television stations to air educational and informational programming directed to children.  Stations are required to air an average… Continue Reading

Another FCC Hearing Designation Order for Radio Stations that Were Off the Air for Most of Their License Renewal Term

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

The FCC yesterday issued a Hearing Designation Order for two AM stations in Virginia as these stations were silent for most of their license renewal terms. One of the two stations was on the air for only 54 days out of the 3.4 years that the licensee held the station during the license term, and… Continue Reading

Attorney General Sessions Memo Frees Federal Prosecutors to Pursue Marijuana Cases – What Does It Mean for Broadcast Advertisements?

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a one-page memo (here) advising Federal prosecutors to use their discretion in pursuing marijuana prosecutions – even in states where state law has made marijuana legal for either medical or recreational use.  Even though some states have removed state law restrictions on the sale or use of marijuana, marijuana… Continue Reading

Differing Perspectives on Deregulation – Looking at Comments on FCC’s Proposal to Modify Rules on Public Notice of Broadcast Applications

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism

While some might think that the business of deregulation is easy, that usually is not the case, as comments on the FCC’s proposals to modify the public notice requirements for broadcast applications make clear. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about which we wrote here and here, as part of its initiative on the Modernization… Continue Reading

Two More Paperwork Burdens Proposed for Relaxation Under FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative – TV Ancillary and Supplementary Revenue Reports and Public Notice Requirements

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, Digital Television, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Television

In addition to the elimination of the main studio rule (about which we wrote here), another media item is proposed for consideration at the FCC’s October 24 meeting. A draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was released earlier this week proposing two changes in FCC requirements – neither change, in and of itself, offering any… Continue Reading