ancillary and supplementary

The transition to ATSC 3.0, the next generation of television transmission, is underway as authorized by the Commission in 2017 (see our post here and our posts here, here and here on subsequent actions making that order effective and allowing TV stations to file to convert to the new standard).  This week, the FCC released a draft of an item to be considered at its June open meeting dealing with lingering legal issues about the services to be provided by television stations that are part of this transition.  The item to be considered, if adopted in June, will take two actions.  First, it will issue a declaratory ruling that the leasing of auxiliary and supplementary spectrum capacity on digital television stations for non-broadcast uses does not trigger the application of the FCC’s multiple ownership rules, which limit the number of stations that one entity can own or program in any given TV market.  Secondly, the item will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address what regulatory changes, if any, are needed to govern the types of non-broadcast content that will be provided by stations operating with this next generation television transmission standard.

The declaratory ruling addresses concerns that the use of broadcast television spectrum by various companies or consortia that plan to use that spectrum for all sorts of non-broadcast applications could trigger violations of the FCC’s ownership rules.  Those rules limit one owner from owning (or providing more than 15% of the broadcast programming to) more than two television stations in a given TV market (and only one station in some smaller markets).  When stations convert to ATSC 3.0, there are plans to offer a plethora of non-broadcast services, which the FCC describes in its draft decision as “Broadcast Internet” services.  These services could include sending updates to smart dashboards in automobiles and in other Internet of Things smart devices, updating utility meters, providing telehealth and emergency communications information, distributing smart agriculture applications, or distributing popular pay-video programming to user’s devices.  In many cases, to provide these applications, one company or consortium would seek to lease the ancillary and supplementary capacity of multiple stations in a market to assure that content was distributed as broadly as possible.  The fear was that such users leasing capacity on multiple stations could be deemed to have an “attributable interest” in such stations for multiple ownership purposes or simply for purposes of having to be reported on ownership reports and other broadcast applications.
Continue Reading FCC to Consider Exemption of TV Broadcast Internet Services from Broadcast Ownership Rules and Regulations for ATSC 3.0 Non-Broadcast Services

The FCC’s Media Bureau, as a result of an FCC vote at its meeting last month to look at doing away with the requirement that all TV stations file a report by December 1 of each year detailing their revenue from ancillary and supplementary services – i.e. data and other non-broadcast services offered by the

While we were sidetracked by the government shutdown in posting reminders about regulatory deadlines for broadcasters during the last two months, it’s about time to put that behind us, and to resume our monthly practice. While everyone may be looking forward to the holidays, they need to remember that December does bring a number of regulatory obligations for broadcasters across the country.  For instance, license renewals are due on December 2 (as the 1st is a Sunday) for the following station groups: Commercial and Noncommercial Full-Power and Class A Television Stations, TV Translators, and LPTV Stations in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota; Commercial and Noncommercial AM and FM Radio Stations, FM Translators, and LPFM Stations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Radio and television stations in all of those states, plus those in Alabama and Georgia, that have 5 or more full-time employees in their station employment groups, also have the obligation to complete their Annual EEO Public Inspection File Report, and to place that report into their public file (for TV stations, that would be their online pubic file).  The deadline for those reports to be complete and posted is December 1.  Radio stations in these states also need to post the most recent report on their websites, if they have a website. 
Continue Reading December Regulatory Deadlines For Broadcasters – Renewals, Ownership Reports, CALM Act, and TV Form 317

By December 1, 2011, all commercial and noncommercial full power digital television (DTV) stations, as well as all digital low power, Class A, and television translator stations must electronically file an FCC Form 317 with the FCC. This Form reports whether the station has provided any ancillary and supplementary services during the twelve-month period ending on

By December 1, 2010, all commercial and noncommercial digital television (DTV) stations must electronically file an FCC Form 317 with the FCC. This Form reports whether the station has provided any ancillary and supplementary services during the twelve-month period ending on September 30, 2010.

Under the Commission’s Rules, in addition to providing free over-the-air broadcast

By December 1, 2008, all commercial and noncommercial digital television (DTV) stations must electronically file an FCC Form 317 with the Commission reporting on whether the station has provided any ancillary and supplementary services during the twelve-month period ending on September 30, 2008. 

Under the Commission’s Rules, in addition to providing free over-the-air broadcast