In a speech yesterday at the MMTC Ninth Annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit, Chairman Pai revealed that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to adopt a new Class C4 FM station, that would allow the increase in power of some Class A stations that meet new spacing requirements, had been drafted and was
At last week’s Radio Show, Commissioner Pai presented remarks, talking about the pending regulatory ideas that can help radio broadcasters. After discussing the benefits of the recent rule changes that have made translators available for AM stations, and other AM improvement proposals that are on the table, he turned to FM. In his discussion of FM, he applauded efforts to include an activated FM chip in mobile phones. Then, he turned to a proposal first put out for FCC comments two years ago – the idea that the FCC look at the potential of the creation of a new class of FM stations – the Class C4 FM radio station.
A Class C4 station would fit between Class A FM stations (limited to 6 kw ERP at 100 meters antenna height above average terrain) and a Class C3 (25 kw at 100 meters). The Class C4 station would be authorized with a power of up to 12 kw ERP. According to the Commissioner’s speech, this would allow for Class A stations to upgrade their facilities to better serve their communities. We wrote about this proposal when it was first released (here), presenting more details about the technical facilities that are involved in this proposal. While some broadcasters did initially support the proposal, others were less enthusiastic about the idea. Why are there issues with this proposal?
Continue Reading Commissioner Pai Proposes Looking at Class C4 FM Stations – Good for Broadcasters?
September is one of those few months of the year where there are no regular FCC filing deadlines – no quarterly issues programs lists, no children’s television reports, no annual EEO public file reports, and no ownership reports or renewal deadlines. For TV stations that recently filed a renewal, or which are about to file one, there are the pre-or post-filing notices. But for most broadcasters, the one routine regulatory deadline in September (which has, in the past, sometimes fallen in August), is the obligation to pay annual regulatory fees. But, so far, the FCC has not released the Order officially stating what those fees will be, or the Notice setting the filing deadlines – though we expect these notices any day (perhaps any moment). As the fees need to be paid before the start of the FCC’s new fiscal year on October 1, expect that those fees will be due at some point before the end of September.
While there are few of these routine filing deadlines in September (though broadcasters should, of course, be preparing for the due date for many of these reports in early October), there are a number of important proceedings with September comment dates, appeal deadlines or other important milestones. And there is the start of the Lowest Unit Rate window for the November election. Some of the September deadlines are summarized below.
Continue Reading September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Regulatory Fees, Lowest Unit Rates, and Comments on Multiple Ownership, Online Public File for Radio and MVPDs, Music Licensing and Class C4 FM Stations
The FCC yesterday issued a public notice extending the time for comments on a Petition for Rulemaking seeking, among other things, to create a Class C4 FM station with maximum power levels at about 12 kW, twice the power of the least powerful class of FM stations – Class A stations that are limited to 6 kW in power. As we wrote earlier this month when we first addressed this topic, this request for comments is only a preliminary request seeking input as to whether the Commission should even consider this petition further. Depending on the comments received, the Commission could do nothing at all, or they could adopt a formal notice of proposed rulemaking looking to adopt specific rules for the new service. Comments on the proposal are now due on September 18, 2014, with reply comments to be filed by October 3.
What does this proposal request? As stated above, the principal request is that a new FM class of station – a Class C4 – be adopted. This class would allow Class A stations to approximately double their power to a maximum of 12 kW. The petitioner points out that the current differences between the classes of FM stations is approximately 3 dB between all classes of FM stations, except for the difference between the current Class A and C3 classes, where the difference in signal intensity is about twice that amount. Adding the C4 class would make the increases in power between the classes more uniform, and would allow many Class A stations to reach more people and to better penetrate buildings in urban areas. Why aren’t all broadcasters in favor of this proposal?
Continue Reading FCC Extends Dates for Comments on Proposal to Create a Class C4 FM Station – What Does This Proposal Seek?
Time flies, and more regulatory requirements and comment deadlines in regulatory proceedings are upon us in the month of August. The regular regulatory deadlines include license renewal for TV and LPTV stations in California, and EEO Public Inspection File yearly reports for stations in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Noncommercial TV stations in California and North and South Carolina all have ownership reports on Form 323E due on the August 1, and noncommercial radio stations in Wisconsin and Illinois have ownership report obligations too. We can also expect that the deadline for submission of Annual Regulatory Fees will be set this month but, as we have not yet heard about that date, the deadline for the fees to be paid may not be until sometime in September.
In addition to the regular filings, there are numerous proceedings in which various government agencies will be receiving comments in proceedings that could impact broadcasters. Next Wednesday, August 6, the FCC will be taking comments on it Quadrennial Review of the multiple ownership rules. The issues to be considered include the TV ownership rules (including the question of how to deal with Shared Services Agreements) about which we wrote yesterday. Also to be considered in the proceeding are questions about the radio ownership rules, and the cross-interest rules – including whether to change the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules. But the FCC is not the only one who will be receiving comments on issues that can affect broadcasters.
Continue Reading August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Renewals and EEO, and Comments on Multiple Ownership, Music Rights, New Class of FM, and Much More