Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: Advertising Issues

Cigarettes and Sponsorship Identification Combine to Trap a Broadcasters into a $15,000 “Voluntary Payment” to Avoid FCC Enforcement Action

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
How do you advertise a business that sells tobacco products and has the word “cigarette” in its name? Apparently, you don’t, at least not on radio and TV stations – based on the teachings of the Public Notice released by the FCC this week, entering into a consent decree with a broadcaster. In exchange for dismissing its… Continue Reading

Using Music in Radio or TV Productions – Why ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Licenses Usually Are Not Enough

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
Using music in commercials and other broadcast station productions can be treacherous. As we’ve written before, contrary to what some stations might think (based on the questions we often get from broadcasters around the country), a station’s ASCAP, BMI and SESAC royalties do not give them the right to use popular music in their station… Continue Reading

March Madness is A Trademarked Term Like the “Super Bowl” – Watch Your Advertising and Promotional Uses

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
We’ve written many times before about those big name events, like March Madness, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Events that you and your advertisers are just dying to tie into your own local event – a sale, a party or maybe the introduction of some special new product or service. Well, like the Super Bowl, March Madness… Continue Reading

FCC Grants Certain TV Stations Limited Waiver from Online Public File Obligations for Documents from Prior Renewal Terms

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Earlier today, we wrote about the FCC’s reminder that TV broadcasters must, by February 4, complete the upload to their FCC-mandated online public inspection file all materials from the current renewal term that were created prior to the August 2 effective date of the online public inspection file requirement.  We noted that the FCC had not addressed the… Continue Reading

Advertisers Beware – Remember That “Super Bowl” is a Protected Trademark That Can’t Be Used in a Commercial Without Permission

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
With the league championship match-ups set, and the Super Bowl only 3 weeks away, broadcasters are once again getting ready for the onslaught of advertising opportunities that come with the big game. But, as we write every year at this time, broadcasters need to be extremely careful in using the term "Super Bowl" in any advertising… Continue Reading

Compliance Deadline for CALM Act December 13 – FCC Allows Waiver Filings Until that Deadline

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
The CALM Act, meant to end the dreaded "loud commercial," is set to go into effect tomorrow, December 13. We summarized the requirements for compliance with the Act here. Basically, TV stations must adopt certain practices set out in a series of standards known as A/85 Recommended Practice, adopted by the ATSC (the Advanced Television Standards Committee). As… Continue Reading

Legalized Marijuana – Why Broadcasters Should be Wary

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal
As personal marijuana use becomes decriminalized in the states of Washington and Colorado, we once again repeat our warning to broadcasters who may be looking to pot sales as a new source of advertising revenue – remember that the Federal government still thinks that the drug is illegal. The US Attorney’s Office in Seattle has reportedly… Continue Reading

CALM Act Waiver Requests Due By October 12

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
This Friday (October 12) is the deadline for requesting a waiver under the FCC’s Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act implementing procedures, intended to combat "loud commercials."  We wrote about the implementing rules and the obligations of television stations to come into compliance with the standards set out in the rules, adopting a protocol that… Continue Reading

Some PACs Stop Running “Electioneering Communication” Ads to Avoid Reporting Requirements

Posted in Advertising Issues, Political Broadcasting
In recent days we have seen political action committees (PACs) claiming they are "prohibited" from running political ads in primary states due to "new rules" regarding "electioneering communications."  As explained below, these claims are incorrect.  What they are really doing is trying to avoid the need to reveal the identity of their contributors, following a US District Court decision… Continue Reading

MARCH MADNESS: An Unusual Case of Reverse Confusion

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
As we wrote about last year around this time, MARCH MADNESS is a term that is protected by trademark law.  It is owned by the March Madness Athletic Association (MMAA), a joint venture between the NCAA and the Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA).   The IHSA was actually first to begin using this mark to describe its high school basketball… Continue Reading

$44,000 Fine for Radio Station Not Including Sponsorship Identification in Paid Message

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC proposed a $44,000 fine on a Chicago radio station for running 11 announcements that did not contain a sponsorship identification.  This fine was not for 11 different announcements for different groups, but instead a single announcement run 11 times.  Each airing of the announcement triggered a $4000 fine (which is the amount of the FCC "base fine" for a sponsorship… Continue Reading

A Summary of the FCC Rules Implementing the CALM Act to Regulate Loud TV Commercials

Posted in Advertising Issues, Programming Regulations, Television
The FCC this week adopted its rules implementing the CALM Act to address the public perception that commercials are too loud – louder than the programming which they accompany. Congress passed a law last year requiring that the FCC address the issue, and this week’s order adopts these implementing rules which will go into effect on… Continue Reading

4As Adopt Antidiscrimination in Advertising Policy – Should Help Broadcasters Comply With Requirements for Antidiscrimination Provisions in Advertising Agreements

Posted in Advertising Issues, EEO Compliance/Diversity
When the requirement that broadcasters have an antidiscrimination provision in their advertising contracts became effective, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Fact Sheet that stated that broadcasters needed to make sure that this provision was not only in their own contracts, but also in that of rep firms and others who sold advertising on behalf… Continue Reading

California Federal Prosecutor States Interest In Prosecuting Broadcast Stations for Medical Marijuana Advertising

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal
The tenuous legal status of marijuana advertising on broadcast stations just got a little more tenuous as a Federal prosecutor in Southern California has reportedly indicated an intent to prosecute radio and TV stations, as well as newspapers and magazines, that advertise medical marijuana clinics.  As we have written before, advertising such clinics was always a… Continue Reading

Updates on CALM Act Implementation and LPTV/TV Translator Digital Conversion Rulemakings

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Low Power Television/Class A TV
For our readers in the television business, there have been recent developments in two proceedings about which we have written recently.  Last week, we wrote about the extension of time to file reply comments on the CALM Act implementation Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, where the FCC is implementing a Congressional act to curb loud commercials.  The… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Reply Comment Date on CALM Act Implementation Rules as ATSC Plans Update of Compliance Protocol

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
The FCC has granted a short extension for Reply Comments on the implementation of the CALM Act.  The new deadline for Reply Comments is August 1, 2011.  We wrote about the issues in this porceeding here,  The CALM Act ("Commercial Announcement Loudness Mitigation" Act), which must be implemented by the end of this year, is meant to… Continue Reading

Comment Date Set on Rulemaking to Implement the CALM Act Regulating Loud TV Commercials

Posted in Advertising Issues, Digital Television, Television
Dates for comments and replies on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the CALM Act, regulating the volume levels of commercials, have now been set.  We provided a detailed summary of that NPRM here.  As set out in that summary, the NPRM asks many questions of broadcasters, cable companies, and other Multichannel Video Programming Distributors about… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comments on Implementation of CALM Act Regulating Loud Commercials on Broadcast and Cable Television

Posted in Advertising Issues, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Television
In December, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, addressing consumer complaints about television commercials that seem louder than the program content that they accompanied. As we wrote in our summary of the Act when it was adopted, Congress has long received many complaints about loud commercials… Continue Reading

More Concerns About The Broadcast of Medical Marijuana Ads

Posted in Advertising Issues, License Renewal
In March, we cautioned broadcasters against the airing of ads for medical marijuana.  Our concerns stemmed not only from a complaint pending at the FCC, but also because, despite the widespread belief that the Federal government no longer cared about medical marijuana use and sale, the Department of Justice had only said that prosecution was no longer a priority, not… Continue Reading

FTC Requests Comments on Guidelines for Advertising Unhealthy Foods to Children

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising
The advertising to children of food deemed unhealthy has been the subject of government concern for many years.  We wrote about the efforts of then-Senator Brownback to limit such ads – either by voluntary industry action or by government regulation.  These concerns led to the formation of a public-private task force to come up with voluntary actions to… Continue Reading

FCC Fines Two TV Stations $4000 For Airing Video News Releases Without Sponsorship Identification, Even Though the Stations Were Not Paid for the Broadcast

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC has issued two Notices of Apparent Liability, each proposing fines of $4000 to TV station licensees, both for airing video news releases ("VNR") in news or information programs without sponsorship identifications.  In both cases, the station received the VNRs for free, but was paid nothing for including them in their programming.  The station… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Advisory on Nondiscrimination Clause Required to Be Included in All Broadcast Advertising Contracts – What Should the Clause Say? – Why An Advertising Contract is Important

Posted in Advertising Issues, EEO Compliance/Diversity, License Renewal
Last week, we wrote about the new requirement for a nondiscrimination clause in all broadcast advertising contracts.  In the new license renewal applications, broadcasters must certify that they do not discriminate in the sale of advertising time and that their contracts contain the required certification.  Today, the Enforcement Bureau of the FCC issued an Enforcement Advisory, answering questions about… Continue Reading

Advertising Medical Marijuana on Broadcast Stations – Is It Legal, What Will the FCC Think?

Posted in Advertising Issues
As medical marijuana has become legalized or decriminalized in many states, broadcasters have looked at advertising for the services of clinics and dispensaries as a potential new revenue source. As some community newspapers and other local media have begun to advertise dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal, we’ve been asked many times whether broadcasters… Continue Reading