Kathryne Dickerson

Kathryne Dickerson

Kate Dickerson counsels broadcast, newspaper, and telecommunications clients on a variety of regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting (to be repacked)

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Spectrum
The FCC’s confidential letters to television stations that did not submit successful bids to relinquish their spectrum in the reverse auction could arrive in broadcaster mailboxes any day now.  For some stations, this letter will confirm that it’s business as usual, and that they will continue to operate on the same channel after the auction.… Continue Reading

Commission Releases Circulation Version of ATSC 3.0 NPRM

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
On February 2, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released the proposed text of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Circulation NPRM) in the Next Gen TV (a/k/a ATSC 3.0) proceeding in which the agency proposes to authorize television broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV transmission standard on a voluntary, market-driven basis, while continuing to deliver… Continue Reading

FCC Eliminates Public File Requirement for Letters/Emails from the Public

Posted in Broadcast Attribution
On January 31, 2017, the newly Republican-majority Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to eliminate the requirement that commercial TV and radio stations retain in their public files copies of letters and emails from the public. (Non-commercial educational broadcasters are not required to do so.) Chairman Pai noted in a Statement accompanying the Report and Order… Continue Reading

FCC Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly Rebuke NCE FRN Decision

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On January 4, 2017, the FCC’s two Republican Commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, issued a scathing statement against the Media Bureau’s decision, issued that same day, to deny petitions for reconsideration regarding FCC Registration Number (FRN) reporting requirements for non-commercial educational (NCE) broadcasters. Those requirements, imposed in January 2016 (the 2016 Order), oblige board… Continue Reading

FCC Suspends Biennial Ownership Reports for NCE Stations with February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, or October 1 Filing Deadlines

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The FCC has suspended the existing 2017 filing deadlines for non-commercial educational (NCE) stations’ biennial ownership reports. As a result, NCE licensees with biennial report filing deadlines on February 1, April 1, June 1, August 1, or October 1, 2017 are not required to file the existing form 323-E by those deadlines. Instead, NCE licensees will… Continue Reading

FCC Considers Prohibiting Unconditional MFNs and Unreasonable ADMs

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
At its September 29, 2016 open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which it proposes rules prohibiting “certain practices some multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) use in their negotiations for carriage of video programming” that the Commission believes “may impede competition, diversity, and innovation in… Continue Reading

FCC Bids Adieu to UHF Discount

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
They say all good things must come to an end, and for the FCC’s UHF discount, the end has arrived (pending the outcome of near-certain litigation).  Earlier today, the FCC issued a Report and Order eliminating its 30-year old policy of applying a 50% “discount” to market populations served by UHF stations when calculating compliance with the… Continue Reading

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same… FCC Tweaks Broadcast Ownership Rules in 2014 Quadrennial Review Order

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On August 25, 2016, the FCC released the text of a Second Report & Order that concludes both its 2010 and 2014 “quadrennial review” proceedings (the “2016 Order”). The Commission is required by statute to review its rules governing the ownership of broadcast radio and television stations every four years to determine whether they “are… Continue Reading

New Certification Requirement for TV Closed Captioning Not Yet Effective

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Captioning
On Tuesday, the FCC’s new TV closed captioning quality rules, which we discussed in detail here, were published in the Federal Register.  Fed Reg publication often signals that new rules are effective, or will be soon.  Such is not the case for the video programmer registration and captioning certification requirements, which are subject to approval… Continue Reading

Reminder: EAS-Related Registration and Filing Deadline

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
On Friday, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice reminding EAS Participants of mandatory filing deadlines related to an up-coming nationwide EAS test.  Specifically, EAS Participants must register with the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) and file Form One on or before August 26, 2016.  EAS Participants have until September… Continue Reading

New E-Cig Advertising Rules To Go Into Effect on August 8, 2016

Posted in Advertising Issues
On August 8, 2016, new rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) will go into effect concerning radio, television and online advertisements for electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs”) and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (including e-hookah, vape pens, advanced refillable personal vaporizers, and electronic pipes), regular size or large cigars, pipe tobacco, and certain other… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Expanding Video Description Requirements

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
UPDATE: The NPRM has been published in the Federal Register.  Comments are due on June 27, 2016; Reply Comments are due July 26, 2016. On April 1, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on whether to expand its video description requirements to cover additional networks, to increase… Continue Reading

FCC Allocates Responsibility for Closed Captioning Quality Between Video Programmers and Video Programming Distributors and Establishes Complaint Procedures

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Captioning
At its February 18, 2016 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopted the Second Report & Order on Closed Captioning Quality (Order), which amends its closed captioning rules. Among other things, the Order allocates responsibility for the quality of closed captions between video programmers and video programming distributors (VPDs), makes video programmers’… Continue Reading

Modernized Contest Rule Now Effective

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Contests
With its publication in the Federal Register on February 12, 2016, the FCC’s modernized Contest Rule is now in effect. As we previously noted, the modernized Contest Rule gives radio and television stations the option to disclose material contest terms online, provided that they satisfy certain requirements. Specifically, stations choosing to disclose material contest terms online… Continue Reading

FCC Modernizes Contest Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Contests
On September 17, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) unanimously approved a Report and Order (R&O) modernizing its Contest Rule.  As originally promulgated in 1976, the Contest Rule required broadcasters to periodically announce on-air the material terms of a licensee-conducted contest (material terms include how to enter, eligibility restrictions, entry deadline dates, prize… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Procedures Governing Competitive Bidding in First-Ever Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction; Sets March 29, 2016 Deadline for Television Stations to Submit Initial Bids

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On August 11, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) released a Public Notice that sets forth the procedures that will govern competitive bidding in Auction 1000, the first-ever incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum.  As we mentioned previously, the Procedures PN establishes March 29, 2016 as the “date on which bidding will begin”… Continue Reading

GAO Finds Elimination of the Broadcast Exclusivity Rules Would Have “Varying Effects”

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, GAO Reports, Program Content
In a report to Congress released on April 14, 2015, the United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) found that the effects of eliminating the FCC’s network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules would “depend on other federal actions and industry response.”  To arrive at this “conclusion,” the GAO reviewed comments filed by industry stakeholders (including numerous… Continue Reading

Commission Affirms that its Authority to Enforce Broadcast Indecency Rules Is Alive and Well; Issues First-Ever Maximum Fine for Indecency

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, First Amendment, Indecency, Program Content
On March 23, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a fine of $325,000 – the maximum amount possible – against the licensee of television station WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia for airing sexually explicit content during a newscast. According to the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, WDBJ aired a video clip that included less than… Continue Reading

10 Important Things to Keep in Mind When Running Broadcast Contests

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Contests
(1) The FCC’s contest rule applies to all “licensee-conducted” contests.  Sometimes you can easily conclude that a contest falls within this category; for example, if a station itself gives away concert tickets, the rule applies.  But what if a car dealer approaches a station with a proposal that station DJs promote the car dealer’s contest… Continue Reading

Low Power FM Fined for Underwriting Announcements

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation
On Friday, February 27, 2015, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released an Order imposing a $16,000 fine on WQAZ-LP, a low power FM station, for broadcasting underwriting announcements that were impermissible because they too closely resembled commercials.  (Low-power FM radio stations are licensed to provide noncommercial, locally oriented programming to their communities.)  Under the Commission’s “enhanced… Continue Reading

Commissioner O’Rielly Calls Upon the Commission to Modernize its EEO Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Employment
Hiring for jobs in the media industry has evolved as rapidly as the industry itself.  No longer is the local newspaper the only, or perhaps even the best, way to reach job seekers.  Whether it is a company website, an employment search engine (such as CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com) or a niche site (such as allaccess.com… Continue Reading

Third Month of the Year Craziness Contest! Be Careful to Avoid Trademark Issues when Conducting Contests

Posted in Advertising Issues, Contests, First Amendment, Trademark
As college basketball play-off season and the Super Bowl approach, we thought it a good time to remind broadcasters about the trademark issues that often crop up in contests this time of year.  Contests related to March Madness and the Super Bowl are popular, but the use of the proper names of these sporting events… Continue Reading