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Category Archives: Programming Regulations

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FCC Releases Draft Order on Changes to Children’s Television Rules – Action Expected July 10

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Programming Regulations, Television
In anticipation of its July 10 open meeting, the FCC last week released its draft Order making changes to its rules requiring television stations to broadcast specific amounts of educational and informational programming directed to children.  The current rules require that stations air an average of three hours of such programming every week for every… Continue Reading

US Attorneys and FCC Combine to Shut Down Pirate Radio Station

Posted in FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations
The FCC yesterday issued a News Release about an unusual action taken by the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts entering into a consent decree with a pirate radio operator, where the operator agreed to surrender all of its operating equipment to the FCC, and to stop broadcasting illegally.  If the operator is again caught operating… Continue Reading

June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – License Renewal, EEO Reports, Reg Fee Comments, Ownership Appeal Argument and More

Posted in Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The license renewal cycle, about which we have been warning broadcasters for at least the last year (see, for instance, our posts here, here and here), is now upon us. June 3 is the filing deadline for license renewals for radio stations in Maryland, DC, Virginia and West Virginia. Radio stations (including FM translators and… Continue Reading

Looking at “Legal” Marijuana and CBD Advertising – A Presentation on the Issues

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Perhaps some of the most controversial areas in broadcast advertising are those surrounding the advertising of cannabis products. While many states claim to have legalized marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes, the Federal government still considers its possession and distribution a felony, and has specific laws that criminalize the use of radio frequencies, the… Continue Reading

Video Looking at the Basics of the Online Public Inspection File and Quarterly Issues Programs Lists

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Uncategorized
Looking for a brief explanation of the online public inspection file and Quarterly Issues Programs List, and how they will be viewed in connection with the upcoming license renewal cycle – including the potential fines for violations of the rules? The Indiana Broadcasters has just released this video of me discussing those issues available here.… Continue Reading

FCC to Hold Public Forum on ENT Captioning of Live TV Programming Tomorrow, May 10

Posted in Emergency Communications, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC tomorrow will hold a public forum on Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT) of captioning live TV programming tomorrow from 1 PM to 4:45 PM Eastern Time (see the agenda here). The forum will be available for viewing online (go to the FCC webpage here for information about connecting). This forum may provide a good… Continue Reading

Regulatory Issues from the NAB Convention: License Renewals, ATSC 3.0, Translator Interference, Ownership Rules, and Children’s TV

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Questions about regulations from Washington don’t disappear just because you are spending time in Las Vegas, and this week’s NAB Convention brought discussion of many such issues. We’ll write about the discussion of antitrust issues that occurred during several sessions at the Convention in another post. But, today, we will report on news about more… Continue Reading

FDA Schedules Hearing on Cannabis; FTC and FDA Send Cease and Desist Letters to Sellers of CBD Products – What is the Effect on Advertising?

Posted in Advertising Issues, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The developments surrounding the regulation of cannabis products, and the impact of that regulation on the ability of broadcasters and other media companies to run ads for these products, continue on an almost daily basis.  Of course, the developments don’t all point in a single direction.  As described below, at the same time as the… Continue Reading

FCC Sends More Warnings to Radio Stations that Are Not Compliant with Online Inspection Public File Obligations – Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists are the Biggest Target

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues
The FCC has once again started sending out email notices to broadcast stations that are not in compliance with their online public file obligations. This follows a set of notices sent in early December, where the FCC first warned specific stations that there were issues with their online public inspection files (see our article here).… Continue Reading

Do TV Program Ratings Do a Good Job Telling Families Which Programs are Appropriate for Kids to Watch? Congress Wants to Know, So the FCC is Asking

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC this week launched an inquiry into whether the TV Parental Guidelines and the organization that oversees these ratings provide accurate information to viewers as to which TV programs are appropriate for children. The FCC released a Public Notice to initiate the inquiry at the direction of Congress in the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comments on Video Description Marketplace for Report to Congress

Posted in Programming Regulations, Television
Commercial television broadcast stations that are affiliated with one of the top four commercial television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) and are located in the top 60 television markets are required to provide 50 hours per calendar quarter of video-described prime time or children’s programming, and to provide an additional 37.5 hours of… 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

FCC Adopts Change in Rules Eliminating Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Certain Contracts

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations
The FCC yesterday adopted an Order eliminating the requirement that broadcasters file with the Commission copies of certain contracts, agreements and other documents relating to ownership and control – instead relying on the obligations to either upload the documents to a station’s online public file, or to place a list of the documents in the… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts, Relying on Online Public File to Make Documents Available

Posted in FCC Fines, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations
The FCC this week released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. Instead, the disclosure of these documents will be made simply by observing the current requirement that stations either (1) make those documents available in the station’s online public file,… Continue Reading

Advertising for E-Cigs – Concerns about Targeting Children

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising, Programming Regulations
E-cig advertising has been one of those areas where broadcasters and other media companies have been looking warily at the potential for regulatory intervention. So far, as we wrote here, the FDA has only required general disclosures that “e-cigs contain nicotine and that nicotine is an addictive chemical” – an obligation that took effect last month,… Continue Reading

FCC Reminds C-Band Satellite Dish Users – Including Broadcasters – To Register By October 17

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Television, Tower Issues
On Friday, the FCC issued a reminder to all operators “of fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band that were constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018 that the filing window to license or register such earth stations closes on October 17, 2018.” This frequency band is commonly referred to as… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Annual Regulatory Fees; Nationwide EAS Test; Comment Dates on FM Translator Interference, Audio Competition, Children’s Television Requirements, and Reimbursement for LPTV and FM Repacking Costs; and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Programming Regulations, Television
While September is one of those months with neither EEO reports nor Quarterly Issues Programs or Children’s Television Reports, that does not mean that there are no regulatory matters of importance to broadcasters. Quite the contrary – as there are many deadlines to which broadcasters should be paying attention. The one regulatory obligation that in… 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

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

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 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