Michigan Association of broadcasters

In less than a month, a four year cycle of radio and television license renewal applications begins with the filing, on or before June 1, of license renewals by radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.  To help stations prepare for their upcoming renewals, I conducted a webinar, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and joined by broadcasters from 9 other state associations, discussing issues that broadcasters should be considering.   Slides from that presentation, setting out the renewal process, and various issues that should be considered by broadcasters, including: public file issues, technical matters, EEO and other nondiscrimination matters.  Copies of the slides used in the presentation are available here.

In addition to those slides, we have many other resources available for a broadcaster thinking about their license renewal application.  These include the following:

  • A primer on the issues to be considered in preparing for license renewal, available here.  In that memo, there are links to the texts of the required pre-filing and post-filing announcements that broadcasters must air to inform their listeners about the filing of the renewal application
  • A memo that sets out the materials that should be kept in a commercial station’s public file, and the retention period for those materials, here.
  • A memo generally describing the requirements of the FCC’s EEO rules, here, and a second memo, reminding broadcasters of their yearly EEO public file report obligations, a sample of which is here.  Remember, FCC Form 396 report must be filed with the license renewal application, and that form requires the submission of the station’s last two years public inspection file reports
  • An advisory, here, summarizing the requirements for a station’s quarterly programs issues lists.
  • Recent blog entries on the FCC’s requirement for a nondiscrimination certification in their advertising contracts, here and here.

FCC Sources of information for the renewal filing are also available.  A version of the FCC Form 303S – the license renewal form – can be viewed here.  The form contains a good set of instructions as to what information the FCC is seeking from licensees.  The FCC also has its own webpage on license renewal, here.  Dates for radio license renewals are available here, and the dates for TV renewals are here.Continue Reading Getting Ready for License Renewal – Slides and More Information from State Broadcast Associations’ Webcast

Broadcast engineers are often tasked with much of a station’s regulatory compliance, as well as its planning for the future.  At last week’s Michigan Association of Broadcasters Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference, I did a presentation to the a session of broadcast engineers and others, sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. We covered the industry’s macro issues of spectrum reallocation for television, and HD Radio for radio, and the possible use of TV Channels 5 and 6 for radio.  We also talked about restrictions on the movement of AM and FM stations based on the FCC’s rural radio proceeding, and the issues between translators and LPFM stations.  Then we talked about many of the day to day issues that can get a station in trouble – particularly with license renewals coming up.  A copy of the slides that I used in the presentation is available here.  Additional information on many of the topics that I discussed last week are also available on our blog, as listed below.

Some of the articles that we have written that would be important to members of the engineering community include the following:

  • The latest on White Spaces, and the development of the database that will be used to protect TV stations, translators, cable headends and other current users of the TV spectrum, an issue that I neglected to address at the conference 
  • A summary of the FCC’s proceeding to determine how incentive auctions would work to clear space in the TV spectrum for wireless broadband, and on making VHF channels more useful for digital television
  • The latest on video description of TV programming can be found here.
  • Information about closed captioning requirements and the new complaint process for issues about such captioning can be found here
  • Our checklist for the commercial broadcaster’s public file can be found here
  • Information on the FCC’s rural radio proceeding can be found here

There are plenty of other articles on the Blog about FCC Fines, LPFM/FM translator issues, Tower issuesEAS and other matters that are important to engineers – and to the stations they work for.Continue Reading FCC Legal Issues for Broadcast Engineers – A Presentation to the Michigan Broadcasters

Dave Oxenford this week conducted a seminar on legal issues facing broadcasters in their digital media efforts.  The seminar was organized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and originated before a group of broadcasters in Lansing, but was webcast live to broadcasters in ten other states.  Dave addressed a variety of legal issues for broadcasters in connection with their website operations and other digital media platforms.  These issues included a discussion of service marks and copyrights, employment matters, music on websites, the use of social media, privacy, and sponsorship disclosure.  The slides used in the Lansing presentation are available here.    During the seminar, Dave also mentioned that stations with websites featuring user-generated content, to help insulate themselves from copyright infringement that might occur in the content posted to their website by their audience, should take advantage of the registration with the Copyright Office that may provide safe harbor protection if a station follows the rules and takes down offending content when identified by a copyright holder.  The Copyright Office instructions for registration can be found here.   

One of the most common issues that arise with radio station websites is the streaming of their programming.  In August, Dave gave a presentation to the Texas Association of Broadcasters providing  a step-by-step guide to streaming issues, with a summary of the royalty rates paid by different types of streaming companies.  That summary to Internet Radio issues is available here.  Additional information about use of music on the Internet can be found in Davis Wright Tremaine’s Guide to The Basics of Music Licensing in a Digital Age.   Dave also presented this seminar at the Connecticut Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention in Hartford on October 14.Continue Reading David Oxenford Conducts Webinar for State Broadcast Associations on Legal Issues in the Digital Media World – Including a Discussion of Ephemeral Copies of Sound Recordings

Broadcasters have a host of other legal issues that they should consider in connection with their digital presence.  At last week’s Maine Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Bangor, Dave Oxenford addressed these issues, including service marks and copyrights, employment matters, music on websites, the use of social media, privacy and sponsorship disclosure.  A copy of Dave’s presentation on the Legal Issues