FCC daylight savings time

While there are a number of regulatory deadlines scheduled for broadcasters in the month of March, there is also the potential for some of those to shift if we have a federal government shutdown.  As of the date of the publication of this article, we do not know if a federal government shutdown will occur this month, with the FCC and FTC currently being funded only through March 8.  As we recently discussed here, the FCC and other government agencies may have to cease all but critical functions if they do not have any residual funds to continue operations during a shutdown.  Therefore, if Congress fails to extend funding of the FCC and other government agencies past March 8, many of the regulatory deadlines discussed below will likely be postponed. If there is a shutdown, and any of the deadlines below apply to you, be sure to research how the shutdown affects your operations.

There are certain technical deadlines likely not affected by any shutdown.  Those include the requirement that, by March 11, broadcasters using Sage EAS equipment implement the requirement that, when a station receives an over-the-air EAS alert, it must wait at least 10 seconds to determine if a CAP alert has been sent through the IPAWS system and, if it has, the station should rebroadcast that internet-delivered CAP alert rather than the one received over the air.  We wrote more about that requirement on our Broadcast Law Blog, here. For stations using other EAS equipment, the deadline was December 12, 2023 to implement this requirement but as Sage was delayed in pushing out its equipment update, users of that equipment were given until March 11 to comply with this requirement. Continue Reading March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Sage EAS Compliance Deadline, Effective Dates of New FCC Rules, Comment Deadlines, Daylight Savings Time, Political Windows, and More

November is a month where there are no regularly scheduled regulatory deadlines.  But the big question for broadcasters may be whether the FCC will continue to function throughout the month. The last-minute continuing resolution passed by Congress on September 30 extended federal government funding through November 17 – which again raises the possibility of a federal government shutdown beginning in late November if Congress does not approve new funding measures for Fiscal Year 2024 by that date.  As we discussed in our previous article regarding October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters, if a government shutdown does occur, the FCC and other government agencies may have to cease all but critical functions if they do not have any residual funds to continue operations.  In late September, the FCC announced that it had sufficient leftover funds to keep operating for about two weeks after a shutdown.  We do not know if those funds are still available, so we need to be watching to see what happens between now and November 17.

Assuming that there is no shutdown, there are a number of other dates that broadcasters should be watching.  All broadcasters need to remember that November 20 is the deadline to file their ETRS Form Three to provide more detailed information regarding their stations’ performance during the October 4 Nationwide EAS Test.  See our article here regarding this year’s EAS test and broadcasters’ reporting obligations.  This deadline is important for many reasons – not just to avoid potential penalties for missing the filing deadline, but also to demonstrate broadcasters’ commitment to the emergency communications system as broadcasters’ role in that system is the principal reason for Congress to be presently considering the bill to require AM radio in every car.  See our article here for more on the importance of accurate reporting. Continue Reading November Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EAS ETRS Form 3, 12.5 GHz Registrations, C-Band Transition Comment Deadline, a Possible Government Shutdown, and More

March may not have any of the regular FCC filing deadlines, but there are still plenty of regulatory activities going on this month that should grab the attention of any broadcast or media company. Initially, there are several FCC proceedings in which there are dates in March worth noting.

Initially, there are comments in the 2022 Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules.  As we wrote in our summary of the issues on which comments are requested when it was released in late December, the proceeding is to look at rules including the local radio ownership rules, the dual network rule (prohibiting the combination of two of the big four TV networks), and other rules not yet resolved.  The FCC is charged with determining every four years whether these rules continue to be in the public interest.  Even though the FCC has never finished the 2018 Quadrennial Review examining these same issues, the FCC nevertheless asks for comments on how these rules affect FCC policies including competition, localism, and diversity.  Comments in this proceeding are due March 3, with reply comments due March 20. Continue Reading March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Comment Dates on FCC Ownership Rules, FTC Proposed Ban on Noncompete Agreements, and TV Captioning Rules; Higher FCC Application Fees; Daylight Savings Time Adjustments for AM Stations; and More

March is one of those months where no regularly scheduled FCC deadlines fall.  But there are still plenty of other deadlines and dates of importance to broadcasters that fall during this month, from comment dates in rulemaking proceedings, to the start of an auction for new TV stations and the completion of the reimbursement cycle for certain stations involved in the TV repack, to deadlines for radio stations to sign up for the GMR license agreement, and even, with daylight savings time upon us, the time for certain AM stations to adjust their operating parameters.

Let’s start with the rulemaking proceedings.  On March 11, comments are due on an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to enhance visual EAS messages to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Reply comments on the NPRM are due by March 28.  The same Federal Register notice that set these comment dates also references an associated Notice of Inquiry that asks for suggestions on how to improve the current EAS daisy chain architecture to better deliver alerts.  Comments and reply comments on the NOI are due by April 11 and May 10, respectively.

Interested parties that want to reply to comments submitted on the FCC’s Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen TV) proceeding must have those reply comments in by March 14.  In that proceeding, the FCC proposes to allow Next Gen TV stations to include within their license certain of their multicast streams that are aired on “host” stations during a transitional period.  Under the FCC’s proposals that are designed to clear up which entity is responsible for legal and regulatory compliance, such multicast streams will be part of the originating station’s license, not that of the “host” station.  See the Federal Register notice, here, and read the comments submitted to the docket, here.
Continue Reading March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: EAS and Next Gen TV Rulemaking Comments, Incentive Auction Reimbursements, TV Auction, GMR Licensing Deadline, and More