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Category Archives: Programming Regulations

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FCC Releases Draft Order to Abolish Main Studio Rule – To Be Considered at its October 24 Meeting

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday released the agenda for its October 24th Open Meeting, as well as draft orders of the matters to be considered at that meeting. For broadcasters, the single most significant proposal was a draft order (available here) to abolish the requirement that a broadcast station maintain a main studio in close proximity to… Continue Reading

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Obligations, Repacking Reports and More

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The beginning of a calendar quarter always brings numerous regulatory obligations, and October is one of those months with a particularly full set of obligations. All full-power broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, must complete their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and place these reports into their public inspection files by October 10. These reports are the FCC’s… Continue Reading

More and More Actions on Pirate Radio – What is Next?

Posted in FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations
It seems like virtually every day, the FCC announces that it has sent numerous Notices to pirate radio operators warning them that their operations are illegal and that, if the operations do not cease, legal penalties may follow. Yesterday, the FCC released ten such Notices, including ones sent to operators of pirate radio stations themselves… Continue Reading

Effective Date for Elimination of Last Remnant of Rule on Keeping Correspondence in Broadcast Public Inspection File

Posted in General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Earlier this year, the FCC eliminated the requirement that broadcasters maintain, in their public inspection files, copies of letters from the public about station operations (see our article summarizing that action here). One aspect of that rule change did not become immediately effective, as it was subject to review by the Office of Management and… Continue Reading

$17,500 Settlement by TV Broadcaster for Not Identifying Educational and Informational Children’s Programming – Reminder that the FCC is Still in the Enforcement Business

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC announced a Consent Decree with a New Jersey TV station where the licensee agreed to make a $17,500 payment to the US Treasury for failing to identify “core” educational and informational programming directed to children with the required “E/I” symbol on the programming itself. This programming was, according to the consent decree, run… Continue Reading

FCC To Hold Hearing to Determine Whether to Deny License Renewal of Radio Station that was Silent for Most of its License Term

Posted in FM Radio, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC yesterday took what some may suggest is an unprecedented action to potentially deny the license renewal of an FM broadcast station that was silent for all but one day each year during its license renewal term. According to the Hearing Designation Order, the station operated one day each year to avoid forfeiting its… 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

FCC’s Elimination of the Requirement that Letters From the Public be Kept in a Broadcaster’s Public Inspection File Effective Today

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Today, the order eliminating the requirement that broadcasters maintain in a paper public inspection file copies of letters and emails to their stations about station operations becomes effective. While the FCC abolished the requirement back in January, one of the first deregulatory actions of the new Chairman (see our article on that decision here), the… Continue Reading

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs and Children’s Television Reports, Comment Dates on Main Studio Rule Elimination and Modernization of Media Regulation, Incentive Auction CP Filing Deadline, Effective Date for Captioning Clips of Live and Near-Live Programming, and Window for FM Translators for AM Stations

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Video, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
July is a big month on the Washington regulatory scene for broadcasters. There are, of course, the routine quarterly regulatory obligations. For all stations, commercial and noncommercial, Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, summarizing the most important issues facing a broadcaster’s community, and the programs that were broadcast in the prior quarter to address those issues, must… Continue Reading

“Where seldom is heard a discouraging word?” Supreme Court Allows the Federal Registration of Disparaging Trademarks

Posted in Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated the statutory bar against the federal registration of disparaging trademarks, on the ground that it violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional. What does this mean for businesses in general, including, in particular, broadcasters and the Washington DC National Football League franchise? History of the Case The case involved… Continue Reading

Modernization of Media Regulation – What Rule Changes Should Broadcasters be Requesting?

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It is not every year that the FCC seriously asks broadcasters for suggestions as to what rules it should abolish or modify, but that is exactly what the FCC is doing in its Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding (about which we wrote here and here). Comments due the week after next, on July 5, and… Continue Reading

Radio Owner Forfeits Several FCC Licenses for Being Silent For Prolonged Periods of Time – Warning to Broadcasters for Next License Renewal Cycle

Posted in License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Last week, the FCC issued a consent decree entered into with a broadcaster who is the licensee of multiple radio stations, many of which were silent for long periods during the last license renewal cycle. As part of the deal, in order to get renewals for 12 stations granted, the licensee agreed to either surrender… Continue Reading

FCC Officially Starts Proceedings to Abolish Main Studio Rule and Review All Other Broadcast Rules

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
As expected, at its monthly open meeting yesterday, the FCC started two proceedings of particular importance to broadcasters. The first looks at the abolition of the main studio rules. The second asks for comments on all of the other rules affecting broadcasters and other media companies to see which are ripe for appeal. For the… Continue Reading

Plan Your April Fools’ Day On-Air Pranks with the FCC in Mind

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With April Fools’ Day only a few days away, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our annual reminder that broadcasters need to be careful with any on-air pranks, jokes or other bits prepared especially for the day.  While a little fun is OK, remember that the FCC does have a… Continue Reading

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Incentive Auction Closing Notice, AM Translator Site Relocation Relaxation Effective Date

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
April has many important dates for broadcasters – both radio and TV.  This includes both regular regulatory obligations and dates unique to this April for both radio and TV – including the release of the FCC’s Closing Notice for the TV incentive auction and the effective date for the new rules liberalizing the location of… Continue Reading

What’s Up for Broadcasters in Washington Under the New Administration – A Look Ahead at TV and Radio FCC Issues for the Rest of 2017

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Television
A new President and a new Chair of the FCC have already demonstrated that change is in the air in Washington. Already we’ve seen Chairman Pai lead the FCC to abolish the requirement that broadcasters maintain letters from the public about station operations in their public file (which will take effect once the Paperwork Reduction… Continue Reading

FCC Votes to Abolish Requirement for Retaining Letters From the Public on Station Operations – First Step in Broadcast Deregulation?

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC on Tuesday voted to abolish the 44 year old requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain, in their public file, letters (and emails) from the public dealing with station operations (see the full Order here). As noted by the Commissioners in their comments at the FCC meeting (and as we suggested here and here… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Ownership and EEO Comments, Copyright Issues and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Here we are at the start of a new year, and right away we have numerous regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. By the 10th of the month, all broadcast stations need to have placed in their public inspection files (online for TV and for those radio stations that have already converted to the online public file,… Continue Reading

Advertise Like Santa Is Watching – 6 Holiday Advertising/Marketing Tips to Help You Stay Off The Naughty List

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Trademark, Website Issues
It’s the holiday season, and many of us are turning our thoughts to celebrating with friends and family. It is also high season for shopping, which means the airwaves, social media, websites and print pages are full of opportunities to buy, sell, and advertise. Whether you consider that to be a feature or a bug,… Continue Reading

License Renewal Shows FCC Does Not Regulate Content – Implications for Calls to Regulate Fake News?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, License Renewal, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Last week, the full FCC issued a decision upholding the license renewal grant of a Pacifica-owned radio station in New York. A listener was complaining that the station broadcast favorable statements about an individual who had shot a police officer. The FCC first noted that the listener had not provided details of the statement, but… 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

Reminder: Free Webinar Next Week on Trademark Law – Protect Your Slogans and Brands

Posted in Advertising Issues, Appearances, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
The protection of brands, slogans, positioning statements and program titles must be a high priority of any electronic media company. These assets establish the identity of any broadcaster, webcaster or other media company.  Media companies need to protect these assets through the rights accorded by trademark law.  We have been running a series of articles on… Continue Reading

What Broadcasters Can Learn from the Rolling Stone Defamation Case

Posted in Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations
At the end of last week, the press reported on the jury verdict finding Rolling Stone magazine to be liable for defamation for its story, later retracted, about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. The case was brought by a University administrator who was portrayed negatively, including making her sound as if she… Continue Reading