Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: news

The Potential for the Return of the Fariness Doctrine and the FCC’s Assessment of the Quality of Broadcast News – What Would Walter Cronkite Think?

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
With much of the media world celebrating the life of Walter Cronkite this weekend, we have to wonder what he would have thought about press reports that the FCC is considering the commencement of a proceeding to investigate the status of broadcast journalism – assessing its quality, determining whether the Internet and other new sources are making up for any… Continue Reading

Selling Stories In a Broadcast Station’s News Programs – Remember the Sponsorship Identification

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification
A recent stir was created when a Midwestern television company was reported to have signed a contract with a state government agency, promising to market the agency and its programs throughout the state.  This promotion was to include a segment in the company’s televised news promoting the effects of the work of the agency.  Questions were immediately… Continue Reading

If John McCain Doesn’t Show Up, Would Equal Opportunites Issues Prevent the Debate from Going On?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Today’s announcement from John McCain that he is suspending his Presidential campaign to work on issues dealing with the economic bailout, and that he will not participate in Friday’s scheduled Presidential debate if the bailout package has not been enacted, raises an interesting question about the application of the FCC’s equal opportunities rules.  If Barack Obama… Continue Reading

FCC Begins Investigation of Embedded Advertising and Sponsorship Identification

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
Last week, the FCC commenced its long anticipated proceeding to reexamine its sponsorship identification rules. This proceeding has been rumored for over six months, having appeared on an agenda for a Commission open meeting in December, only to be pulled from the agenda days before it was to have been voted on. The Commission has initiated this… Continue Reading

FCC Declares 700 Club and TMZ are Exempt From Equal Time – With Some Issues Left Unaddressed

Posted in Political Broadcasting
The FCC today provided two more examples of its policy that virtually any sort of interview program is going to be deemed a "bona fide news interview program" exempt from any claim of equal opportunities (or "equal time" as it is commonly referred to) if the program features an appearance by a political candidate. In the decisions… Continue Reading

FCC Form 355 – A Form Without a Reason?

Posted in License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC Form 355 requiring "enhanced disclosure" by television stations was a frequent topic of discussion at this week’s NAB Convention in Las Vegas.  That form will require that television broadcasters report significant, detailed information about their programming, providing very detailed reports of the percentage of programming that they devote to news, public affairs, election programming, local programming,… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Rules for Enhanced TV Disclosure Requirements

Posted in Digital Television, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC has released the full text of its Order adopting enhanced disclosure requirements for broadcast television stations – requiring that they post their public files on their websites and that they quarterly file a new form, FCC Form 355, detailing their programming in minute detail, breaking it down by specific program categories, and certifying that… Continue Reading

Nevada Court Denies Kucinich Right to Participate in Broadcast Debate – Recognizing FCC’s Exclusive Role to Regulate Equal Opportunities in Political Debates

Posted in Political Broadcasting
In a wild series of legal decisions preceding the Democratic Presidential debate in Nevada, a Nevada judge ruled that MSNBC had to include Congressman Dennis Kucinich in its debate, only to be overruled by a decision of the Nevada Supreme Court released less than a hour before the debate was to begin.  Notably, the initial… Continue Reading

Live From New York – It’s 20 Seconds of Equal Opportunites?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Joining Fred Thompson and Stephen Colbert (see our stories here and here), Presidential candidate Barack Obama appeared briefly on Saturday Night Live last night and delivered that iconic line – "Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!"  But does his appearance trigger equal opportunities for television stations that aired the program and, if so, would any… Continue Reading

Stephen Colbert, Equal Opportunities and the Case of the Candidate Host

Posted in Political Broadcasting
2007 – the year of the television actor who decides to become a Presidential candidate.  We’ve already written about the issues under the FCC’s political broadcasting rules, particularly the equal opportunity doctrine, with the candidacy of Law and Order’s Fred Thompson, resulting in NBC replacing him on as the on-air District Attorney of New York City.  Now,… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Fines for Political Sponsorship ID Violations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Fairness Doctrine, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
The FCC has taken the unusual step of issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability, i.e. an announcement that it has fined a broadcaster, against two TV station owners for failing to provide a sponsorship identification for political material sponsored by another Federal agency–the Department of Education ("DOE").  The proposed fines for these two broadcasters totaled over $70,000. … Continue Reading

You Can Force A Broadcaster to Program, But You Can’t Make People Watch: Proposals for More License Renewal Obligations

Posted in License Renewal, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Yesterday’s New York Times featured an article on its Opinion/Editorial page written by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, suggesting that enforcement of the public interest obligations of broadcaster become more stringent. Commissioner Copps suggested that broadcasters needed to have their responsiveness to the needs of their community scrutinized more closely, and more often. Among other actions, the Commissioner suggested that… Continue Reading