A new year – and our annual opportunity to pull out the crystal ball and look at the legal issues that will be facing broadcasters in the new year. We’ve already published our 2024 Broadcasters Calendar and, as we noted before the holidays, it highlights the many lowest unit rate windows for the November election. With a heavily contested election almost upon us, there may be calls on the FCC to modify regulations affecting political broadcasting or for more monitoring of broadcasters’ online public files, which caused so many issues in recent years (see for instance, our posts here and here). Even if there are no FCC proceedings that deal with the rules for political broadcasting, the election will be watched by all broadcasters, and all Americans, to see the direction in which the country will head for the next four years. With that election looming, 2024 may be a very active year in regulation as there traditionally is significant post-election turnover at the FCC no matter which party wins. With that turnover in mind, we may see Commissioners looking to cement their regulatory legacies in the coming year.
Last year, we noted the number of pending issues at the FCC that had not been resolved because of the partisan deadlock on the Commission while the nomination of Gigi Sohn to fill the one vacant seat was stalled in the Senate. That deadlock was finally overcome by her withdrawal from consideration and the subsequent nomination and confirmation of Anna Gomez, who was sworn in as a Commissioner in late September. Since then, the FCC has acted on several long-pending priorities, including the adoption of open internet rules and, for broadcasters, last week’s adoption of an Order resolving the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the local broadcast ownership rules (see our summary of that action here). Continue Reading Gazing into the Crystal Ball at Legal and Policy Issues for Broadcasters in 2024 – Part I: What to Expect From the FCC