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