fcc media ownership rules

During most months, FCC procedures, rules and regulations, with their mostly predictable schedules and deadlines, give broadcasters a feeling of routine.  In this time of stay-at-home orders, social distancing measures, and face-mask wearing, even FCC deadlines cannot provide the semblance of normality we are all looking for.  In fact, May is one of those months where there are no regularly scheduled regulatory filings (e.g., no renewals, EEO reports, fee filings, or scheduled public file disclosures).  Nevertheless, as always, there are a number of important regulatory dates—and changes in some dates—for May of which broadcasters should be aware.

The radio license renewal process continues its march across the country, and the renewal cycle for television begins with the required filing by June 1 of license renewals by full-power TV, Class A TV, TV translator, and LPTV stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Those stations should be working on their renewals in May, looking to file them on or before the June 1 deadline.  See our article here on the FCC’s recent announcement of the procedures for filing TV renewal applications.
Continue Reading May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – License Renewal Preparations, FCC Meeting, and Comments on the Communications Marketplace, Significant Viewing and FM Zonecasting

The FCC today announced that it is extending, by one week, the time in which to file comments on the Petitions for Reconsideration of the FCC’s decision on media ownership rules. The challenges, about which we wrote here, deal with issues including the local television ownership limits, the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules, the attribution

In a Public Notice issued yesterday, the FCC announced that it would do a series of open "workshops" in connection with its review of the broadcast multiple ownership rules – the rules that restrict the number of radio or television stations which one party can own and which restrict the cross-ownership of radio and TV stations and newspapers in the same market.  The FCC is poised to begin its quadrennial review of the ownership rules in 2010.  The open proceedings just announced (without details of how many workshops will be held) will be used to gather information for the Commission’s review of the rules. According to the public notice "the Commission will seek viewpoints and information from a broad range of experts; consumers; public interest and trade associations; labor unions; media industry representatives, both traditional and new; and other interested persons,"  as the first step in this review process. So what is this all about?

As part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC was instructed to do a regular review of broadcast multiple ownership rules, seemingly with the intent of reducing the prohibitions of those rules as part of the general deregulatory spirit of that Act.  Originally, proceedings were to review the rules every two years, a Biennial Review.  However, those reviews kept dragging on and becoming consolidated with each other so Congress eventually amended the law to require that the review take place only once every four years.  But each time the FCC has taken action on the rules, especially any time there has been any liberalization, there has been a major outcry from consumer groups that they were left out of the process.  Perhaps the just announced hearings are an attempt to short circuit that protest by getting the public involved even before the process begins.


Continue Reading FCC Plans Public Workshops to be Held in Connection with Its Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules

A few weeks ago, we wrote about just how outmoded the FCC’s prohibitions on the cross ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations were in an era when newspapers seem to be going out of business at an alarming rate.   We quoted a DC trade press reporter who had mused that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule could well