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Category Archives: Public Interest Obligations/Localism

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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 Approves 100% Mexican Ownership of Radio Stations in California and Arizona – Further Showing Foreign Ownership Limitations Less Significant in Today’s Broadcast World

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC yesterday issued a Declaratory Ruling approving the acquisition by a company owned by two Mexican citizens of 100% of the ownership interest of a company that owns two radio stations in California and Arizona. Currently, the company owned by the Mexican citizens had only a 25% interest in the parent company of the… 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

What’s Next for the FCC’s Radio Ownership Rules? – Do Changes in the Audio Marketplace Justify Changes in Ownership Limits?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With the NAB Convention upon us, and much of the talk being centered on television issues including the repacking of the TV band after the incentive auction, the conversion to the next-generation of TV transmission as allowed by the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard, and the effects of the FCC’s changes in the local television… 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

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – First Quarterly Issues Programs Lists in Online Public File for All Radio Stations and Other Important Dates

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
April brings with it a milestone – as it is the end of the first quarter since all radio stations have had to have their online public inspection file “live” so that anyone, anywhere, can view a station’s compliance with rules that previously could only be judged by going to the station and reviewing the… Continue Reading

With April Fools’ Day Coming Up, Plan Your On-Air Pranks with Care – Remember the FCC Hoax Rule

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With April Fools’ Day falling on a Sunday this year, perhaps the potential for on-air pranks is lessened. But, then again, who knows what weekend talent may be planning? So, as we do every year about is time, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our reminder that broadcasters need… Continue Reading

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Online Public File for Radio and Biennial Ownership Reports, Effective Date of ATSC 3.0, Comments on TV National Ownership and Media Modernization, and GMR Extension

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
March is one of those months where without the Annual EEO Public File Reports that come up for different states every other month, or without the Quarterly Issues Programs List and Children’s Television Report obligations that arise following the end of every calendar quarter. But this March has two very significant deadlines right at the… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing on Multilingual EAS Obligations for Broadcasters

Posted in AM Radio, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
As we wrote here, MMTC (a DC-based public interest group) had petitioned the US Court of Appeals for a Rehearing on its decision (about which we wrote here) upholding the FCC decision deciding not to impose any multilingual EAS obligations on broadcasters.  The full Court of Appeals has just issued a one sentence order denying… Continue Reading

With the March 1 Deadline Looming, What Should Radio Stations Be Doing to Prepare Their Online Public File? – Five Questions About Station Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues
On a day when the rest of the country is thinking about chocolate and Champagne, many radio stations need to be considering the FCC requirement that their public inspection file be made available online in a system hosted by the FCC. From the calls I have received in the last few days, it appears that,… Continue Reading

Commissioner O’Rielly to Head FCC Review of KidVid Rules

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly today released a statement announcing that Chairman Pai has requested that he lead an effort to review the FCC’s “KidVid” rules – the rules that govern the amount of educational and informational programming that each broadcast station is required to air to meet the needs of children. Commissioner O’Rielly recently wrote… 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

Appeals Court Denies Request to Put Changes in FCC Ownership Rules on Hold

Posted in EEO Compliance/Diversity, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
In a very short order, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the request filed by certain public interest groups that had asked that the Court stop the new FCC ownership rules from taking effect and suggesting that a special master be appointed to oversee the FCC’s ownership review process. We wrote… Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set on National TV Ownership Caps – Can and Should the FCC Amend the 39% Audience Cap?

Posted in Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
At its December meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to review the national ownership cap for over-the-air television, which limits one owner from having attributable interests in television stations reaching more than 39% of the national audience. That Notice was published in the Federal Register on Friday, setting February 26 as the… Continue Reading

What Issues Should Broadcasters be Considering When Taking Advantage of New Rules Abolishing Main Studio and Staffing Requirements?

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC this week published a Small Business Compliance Guide for companies looking to take advantage of the FCC’s elimination of the main studio rules and the studio staffing requirements associated with those rules (see our articles here and here summarizing the rule changes). The Compliance Guide points out that stations looking to eliminate their… 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

First Appeal of Multiple Ownership Rule Changes Filed by Public Interest Groups

Posted in Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project, public interest groups who have been opponents of relaxation in the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules, have filed the first Petition for Review of the FCC’s Order on Reconsideration of the Quadrennial Review of those rules. In November, the FCC by a 3 to 2 vote eliminated the rule requiring that… Continue Reading

Washington Legal Issues for TV Broadcasters – Where Things Stand in the New Year

Posted in Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Indecency, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It’s a new year, and a good time to reflect on where all the Washington issues for TV broadcasters stand at the moment, especially given the rapid pace of change since the new administration took over just about a year ago. While we try on this Blog to write about many of the DC issues… Continue Reading

Next Media Modernization Proposals – Eliminate FCC Filing Requirement for Certain Broadcast Licensee Contracts and Expunge Analog TV Rules

Posted in AM Radio, Assignments and Transfers, FM Radio, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
At its next open meeting to be held on January 30, the FCC will consider two more proposals in its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative.  As with many of the other proposals that have been advanced by the FCC as part of this initiative thus far, these proposals address relatively minor matters concerning paperwork obligations… Continue Reading

Ownership Rule Changes Effective February 7; Comments on Incubator Programs to Foster Diversity in Broadcast Ownership Due March 9

Posted in Assignments and Transfers, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Published today in the Federal Register were two notices from the FCC implementing November’s decision on the FCC’s ownership rules. First, a summary of the changes in the rules was published in the Federal Register. These changes particularly affect the local TV ownership rules (changes that we summarized here). Changes included, among other things, the… 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

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, FM Translator Window, Main Studio Rule Change and Streaming Requirements

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The holidays are over, and while the regulation never stops, it is time to once again buckle down and look at what is on the horizon for broadcasters. While, in the next few days, we will have our typical look ahead at the broadcast regulatory agenda in Washington for the New Year, we also need… Continue Reading