Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: Payola and Sponsorship Identification

Cigarettes and Sponsorship Identification Combine to Trap a Broadcasters into a $15,000 “Voluntary Payment” to Avoid FCC Enforcement Action

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
How do you advertise a business that sells tobacco products and has the word “cigarette” in its name? Apparently, you don’t, at least not on radio and TV stations – based on the teachings of the Public Notice released by the FCC this week, entering into a consent decree with a broadcaster. In exchange for dismissing its… Continue Reading

Making the Broadcaster the Source for the Disclosure of Political Spending? What the FCC’s Disclosure Rules Require and What Congress Might Want the FCC to Do

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
Last week, the FCC Commissioners appeared before Congress for an "oversight hearing." In such hearings, Congressmen often raise many different issues that may be on their mind – everything from issues about the administration of the FCC to detailed policy issues. In the hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee last week, one issue arose that broadcasters should… Continue Reading

$44,000 Fine for Radio Station Not Including Sponsorship Identification in Paid Message

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC proposed a $44,000 fine on a Chicago radio station for running 11 announcements that did not contain a sponsorship identification.  This fine was not for 11 different announcements for different groups, but instead a single announcement run 11 times.  Each airing of the announcement triggered a $4000 fine (which is the amount of the FCC "base fine" for a sponsorship… Continue Reading

Text of Online Public File Order Released – Details of What the FCC is Considering, and Suggestion that Radio May Be Next

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The full text of the FCC’s Order overturning its 2007 decision on online public inspection files for TV broadcasters and the adoption of the Form 355 "enhanced disclosure form" has now been released.  This order, adopted at the FCC’s open meeting this week (held on October 27, 2011, which we wrote about here), also contains a Further Notice of… Continue Reading

$12,000 Consent Decree Payment Demonstrates FCC Concerns About Sponsorship Identification Policies

Posted in FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
A consent decree entered into by a radio broadcaster, which included a $12,000 "voluntary contribution" to the US Treasury, demonstrates once again the FCC’s concerns about sponsorship identification issues.  The week before last, we wrote about the FCC fine levied on a television broadcaster for not including sufficient sponsorship information when a "video news release" was broadcast on… Continue Reading

FCC Confirms $4000 Fine For Televising Video News Release Without Sponsorship ID

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification
  The FCC has issued a Forfeiture Order, confirming a $4000 fine levied against a Minneapolis TV station for airing a video news release ("VNR") without sponsorship identification.  This case was previously discussed in our March 25th blog entry, when the Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability ("NAL") against the station for this violation.  The primary lesson to… Continue Reading

Radio Talkers Paid to Endorse Causes During Their Shows? What Should Stations Do?

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification
Politico ran a story last week, indicating that a number of radio talk show hosts were paid to endorse, during their shows, certain causes and groups that might be of interest to their listeners.  The article suggests that the endorsements included live read commercials, as well as other comments made during the course of the… Continue Reading

Recommendations from the Future of Media Report: End Localism Proceeding, Require More Online Public File Disclosures of Programming Information, Abolish Fairness Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, FM Translators and LPFM, Noncommercial Broadcasting, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC today heard from its Future of Media task force, when its head, Steven Waldman presented a summary of its contents at its monthly meeting.  At the same time, the task force issued its 475 page report – which spends most of its time talking about the history of media and the current media… Continue Reading

FCC Fines Two TV Stations $4000 For Airing Video News Releases Without Sponsorship Identification, Even Though the Stations Were Not Paid for the Broadcast

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC has issued two Notices of Apparent Liability, each proposing fines of $4000 to TV station licensees, both for airing video news releases ("VNR") in news or information programs without sponsorship identifications.  In both cases, the station received the VNRs for free, but was paid nothing for including them in their programming.  The station… Continue Reading

Is Your Station Running the NAB Future of Television Spots? Are You Identifying Them As Issue Ads in Your Public File?

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Television
Many broadcasters, both television and radio, have been running the NAB spots on the Future of Television.  Those spots contain a description of the service available from local television stations and the new technologies that over-the-air television are in the process of deploying, and end with the suggestion that the Future of Broadcast Television lies in "technology… Continue Reading

FCC Announces One Million Dollar Payola Consent Decree With Univision – What’s It Mean for Radio Broadcasters?

Posted in FCC Fees, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC today announced a $1,000,000 Consent Decree with Univision Radio to settle payola investigations underway at both the FCC and the Department of Justice.  Payola, or "pay for play" as it is called in the FCC Press Release issued today, is a violation of FCC rules and Federal criminal law, which both prohibit the broadcast of program content for… Continue Reading

So Just What is an “Issue Ad” and Why Should I Care?

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
In the last few weeks, I’ve been asked several times by broadcasters whether an ad should be considered an "issue ad."   Usually, the ad in question deals with some sort of faintly controversial issue, and the broadcaster seems torn about how to classify the ad.   In many ways, the answer is almost irrelevant as, other… Continue Reading

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – What Can Broadcasters Expect from Washington in 2010?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, Digital Television, Fairness Doctrine, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Another year is upon us, and it’s time for predictions as to what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2010.  Each year, when we look at what might be coming, we are amazed at the number of issues that could affect the industry – often issues that are the same year to year… Continue Reading

New FTC Guidelines on Endorsements and Sponsorship Disclosure – Broadcasters and New Media Companies Beware

Posted in Advertising Issues, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
On December 1, 2009,  FTC revised Guidelines went into effect updating policies dealing with advertising using testimonials and endorsements, specifically affecting celebrity endorsements and sponsorship disclosure.  These revised guidelines directly impact the established practices of broadcasters and new media companies.  These revised endorsement and testimonial guidelines effectively ban the old standard “results not typical” disclaimer so commonly in… Continue Reading

Health Policy Ads on Broadcast Stations – Remember Your Public File Obligations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
A story in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses the significant amount of money being spent on television advertising for and against pending proposals for health care reform.  As we have written before, broadcasters are required to keep in their public file information about advertising dealing with Federal issues – records as detailed as those kept for political candidates. … Continue Reading

MusicFirst’s Complaint to the FCC: The First Amendment and the Performance Royalty

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Fairness Doctrine, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The MusicFirst coalition last week asked that the FCC investigate broadcast stations that allegedly cut back on playing the music of artists who back a broadcast performance royalty, and also those stations who have run spots on the air opposing the performance royalty without giving the supporters of the royalty an opportunity to respond.  While the NAB and many other observers have suggested that… 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

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball – The Outlook for Broadcast Regulation in 2009

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Digital Radio, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Fairness Doctrine, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Come the New Year, we all engage in speculation about what’s ahead in our chosen fields, so it’s time for us to look into our crystal ball to try to discern what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2009. With each new year, a new set of regulatory issues face the broadcaster from the… Continue Reading

FCC Investigating TV Commentators Who Were Allegedly Paid to Present Views on Military Issues

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
According to numerous press articles, including this one in Multichannel News, the FCC has begun an investigation into several commentators on TV news programs to see if they were receiving payments or other consideration for presenting a particular viewpoint on military issues on which they were interviewed.  According to press reports, the FCC has sent… Continue Reading

Payola on Internet Radio – Legal?

Posted in Internet Radio, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
In a recent article in Silicon Valley Insider, TargetSpot’s CEO, Doug Perlson, suggests that the financial savior of Internet Radio might be payola – taking money from record companies or artists to play their songs.  Putting aside any issues of the financial benefits of such a plan, and the creative and aesthetic issues that pay for play… Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set for Embedded Advertising and Sponsorship Identification Proceeding – While Coffee Cups on the Anchor Desk Put the Issue in the Headlines

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Sponsorship Identification issues (which we summarized in our firm’s advisory and about which we wrote here), which deals with a host of issues including embedded advertising and product placement, was published in the Federal Register late last week, starting the clock on the filing… 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 Adopts Localism Report and Starts Rulemaking to Consider Adopting New Public Interest Obligations for Broadcasters

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
The FCC today adopted a Report on its Localism proceeding, accessing the evidence that it gathered in its three year long investigation of whether broadcasters were adequately serving the interests of their local communities.  We wrote long ago about some of the specific issues that the FCC was reviewing in this proceeding – everything from the… Continue Reading

FCC Meeting Agenda for December 18 – Potentially One of the Most Important in Recent Memory – Multiple Ownership, Localism, Minority Ownership, Product Placement and Cable TV National Ownership Caps

Posted in Advertising Issues, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC has released its agenda for its December 18 meeting – and it promises to be one of the most important,and potentially most contentious, in recent memory.  On the agenda is the Commission’s long awaited decision on the Chairman’s broadcast multiple ownership plan relaxing broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rules (see our summary here).  Also, the FCC… Continue Reading