While there are a number of regulatory deadlines scheduled for broadcasters in the month of March, there is also the potential for some of those to shift if we have a federal government shutdown. As of the date of the publication of this article, we do not know if a federal government shutdown will occur this month, with the FCC and FTC currently being funded only through March 8. As we recently discussed here, 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 during a shutdown. Therefore, if Congress fails to extend funding of the FCC and other government agencies past March 8, many of the regulatory deadlines discussed below will likely be postponed. If there is a shutdown, and any of the deadlines below apply to you, be sure to research how the shutdown affects your operations.
There are certain technical deadlines likely not affected by any shutdown. Those include the requirement that, by March 11, broadcasters using Sage EAS equipment implement the requirement that, when a station receives an over-the-air EAS alert, it must wait at least 10 seconds to determine if a CAP alert has been sent through the IPAWS system and, if it has, the station should rebroadcast that internet-delivered CAP alert rather than the one received over the air. We wrote more about that requirement on our Broadcast Law Blog, here. For stations using other EAS equipment, the deadline was December 12, 2023 to implement this requirement but as Sage was delayed in pushing out its equipment update, users of that equipment were given until March 11 to comply with this requirement. Continue Reading March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Sage EAS Compliance Deadline, Effective Dates of New FCC Rules, Comment Deadlines, Daylight Savings Time, Political Windows, and More