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Category Archives: Broadcast Regulation

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FCC Grants First Petition for Declaratory Ruling Allowing 100% Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Station Licensees

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Foreign Ownership, Transactions
The Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released the first-ever decision permitting foreign citizens to own 100% of broadcast station licensees. In the declaratory ruling, the FCC authorized two Australian citizens each to own 50% of Frontier Media, LLC, the parent company of broadcast licensees owning seven AM radio stations, eight FM radio… Continue Reading

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

So Your Station Submitted a Successful Incentive Auction Bid, Now What?

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Spectrum
Now that television stations can openly discuss the results of their participation in the Incentive Auction, it is an appropriate time for all television stations to assess their market position and think about what comes next.  In this space, we will discuss how stations with various auction outcomes should approach their post-auction transaction.  Today, we… 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

AM Revitalization Second Report and Order Would Relax Siting Rules for FM Translators

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Yesterday, the FCC released the proposed text for the Second Report and Order in the Revitalization of the AM Radio Service proceeding. This text was released at the same time that it is being circulated to commissioners, as part of new Chairman Pai’s pilot program to increase transparency at the Commission. The proposed Second Report and… Continue Reading

Chairman Pai Attempts to Deliver on Transparency Promise

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced a pilot program designed to provide more transparency at the Commission.  Under the pilot program, the Commission will release the text of agenda items that will be voted on at upcoming Commission meetings “well in advance” of the meeting.  This is a shift from the current practice, where… Continue Reading

Wiley Rein Encourages FCC to Ease Anti-Collusion Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
This morning, on behalf of Wiley Rein, I filed a letter encouraging the FCC to issue a formal declaration that, with the final stage rule satisfied, no communications by broadcasters about the reverse auction can violate the Commission’s prohibition on certain auction-related communications.  The Incentive Auction has handcuffed the broadcast television industry in many respects… 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 Review of 2016 EAS Test Identifies Improvements, Opportunities

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has released its initial findings from the 2016 nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, which reflect improvements from the 2011 test but further opportunities to strengthen the EAS. On September 28, 2016, FEMA, the Commission, and the National Weather Service, conducted a nationwide test to assess… 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 Seeks Comment on Updated Catalog of Post-Auction Reimbursement Expenses

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Spectrum
On October 13, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Media Bureau released an update to the Catalog of Eligible Expenses (the “Catalog”) that it will use as a guide when processing requests for reimbursement from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.  Comments on the proposed updates are due by November 14, 2016 and reply comments are due… Continue Reading

FCC Invites Broadcasters to Test Repack Reimbursement System

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The FCC is providing broadcasters with an opportunity to test and provide feedback on the Incentive Auction Broadcaster Relocation Reimbursement System, which is the online form that the Commission will use to collect requests for reimbursement of repacking expenses (technically known as FCC Form 2100, Schedule 399). Beginning on October 4, 2016, broadcasters can access a test… 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 Meeting Update: Foreign Investment Rules and Independent Programming Proposal, But No Set Top Box Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
At its September 29, 2016 open meeting, the FCC adopted rules to make it easier for broadcasters to seek approval for foreign ownership, reformed the methodology for publicly traded broadcasters and common carriers to assess compliance with the statutory foreign ownership limits, and proposed rules it believes will strengthen the position of independent programmers in negotiations with… Continue Reading

The Silver Lining in the FCC’s UHF Discount Order

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On Wednesday, the FCC issued a long-expected Order abolishing its 30-year policy of applying a “UHF Discount” when calculating a broadcaster’s compliance with the 39% National TV Ownership Cap.  At the same time, the Commission refused to adopt a “VHF Discount” in recognition of the technical inferiority of VHF channels following the digital transition.  The… 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

Join Us for Destination Repack: A Multi Industry Roadmap

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology, Spectrum
On October 19, 2016, Wiley Rein’s Telecom, Media & Technology Practice will be partnering with The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE) to host an educational program on the challenges faced by broadcasters post the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Spectrum Auction. Join us to discuss approaches to the post-auction repacking process, including: ◾Repack 101: Defining… 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

Denied! Internet-Only Recruitment Still A No Go Under FCC EEO “Broad Outreach” Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The FCC’s Media Bureau rejected a cable company’s argument this week that online-only outreach regarding its job vacancies constituted “wide dissemination of information” of its full-time jobs throughout the community.  The FCC long ago declared internet-only recruitment constitutes “inadequate” job outreach but indicated that it would revisit this policy should Internet access become more widespread. … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Dates for Mandatory National EAS Test

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission)’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has announced that the next nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place on September 28, 2016, at 2:20 PM EDT, with a secondary test date of October 5, 2016, if necessary. According to the FCC’s public notice: The… Continue Reading