Kathleen A. Kirby

Kathleen A. Kirby

Kathy Kirby represents media clients, including major radio and television group owners and programming networks, on a host of business and transactional issues as well as regulatory matters before the FCC.  She has additional expertise in newsgathering, content regulation, and First Amendment issues.

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Proposed Department of Commerce Rules Would Apply to a Broad Range of Radio and Television Broadcasting Equipment Transactions with Foreign Manufacturers

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Foreign Ownership, Transactions
The Department of Commerce (Department) has proposed regulations that would apply broadly to an expansive range of “transactions” involving information and communications technology and services (ICTS) – including radio and television broadcasting equipment – with foreign entities designated as “foreign adversaries.” These proposed rules would apply not only to traditional “transactions” such as mergers and… Continue Reading

What the FCC Shutdown Means for Broadcasters

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
As a result of the partial government shutdown, the Federal Communications Commission suspended most operations yesterday, January 3, 2019, and most Commission staffers are furloughed.  Despite the shutdown, many FCC computer systems will remain operative, and certain deadlines will remain unaltered.  For example, staff involved with spectrum auctions are unaffected by the lapse in funding,… Continue Reading

Commission Seeks Comment on Revised Proposals for Protection of Class A AM Stations

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On October 5, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission, as part of its ongoing efforts to revitalize AM radio, released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(SFNPRM) seeking comment on revised proposals regarding interference protection to Class A AM stations (so-called “clear channel” stations). The SFNPRM is a follow-up to the Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking… Continue Reading

President Trump’s “S&!%hole” Remark Shines New Light on FCC’s Ambiguous Policy on Profanity/Indecency

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, First Amendment
Broadcasters found themselves facing a conundrum on Thursday when President Trump, in a meeting with Congressional leaders about immigration, reportedly referred to Haiti and certain African countries as “shithole countries.”  24-hour cable networks immediately reported on the President’s comments, repeating the crass term and even including it on their lower-thirds.  Unlike their cable, newspaper, online… 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

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

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

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

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 to Demonstrate New Online Public File Interface on June 13, 2016; New Rules Effective June 24, 2016

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Political Broadcasting
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it will hold a public demonstration of the expanded Online Public Inspection File (OPIF), which will replace the current Broadcast Public Inspection File (BPIF) and which television and radio stations, cable systems, and satellite television and radio systems will be required to use for their online public files. … Continue Reading

NTIA Concludes UAS Multistakeholder Process; Releases Consensus Document on Voluntary Best Practices

Posted in Uncategorized
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) has concluded its multistakeholder process on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and released a consensus document proposing voluntary best practices for UAS privacy, transparency, and accountability. The best practices document is the product of a 13-month process that included a request for public comment, several public meetings, and the… Continue Reading

The New Online Public File Rules Go Into Effect on June 24, 2016

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Political Broadcasting
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has announced that its new online public file rules, adopted in January of this year, will go into effect on June 24, 2016. Beginning on June 24, 2016, the following entities must place all new public file material into the online public file database: Commercial Radio Stations located… 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

June 1, 2015 EEO Deadlines (Including the Return of Form 397 Mid-Term Filings)

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Employment
Certain radio and television stations face an upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) annual reporting deadline on Monday, June 1, 2015: Annual EEO Public File Report Radio and television station employment units (SEUs) located in Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the… Continue Reading

FAA Grounding Commercial UAS on Websites, YouTube

Posted in Broadcast Technology, Online Video
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently stepped up enforcement efforts against Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators engaged in unauthorized “commercial” operations. The FAA’s current regulatory scheme permits hobby and recreational use of UAS but requires commercial UAS users to receive FAA authorization before beginning operations. Two recent regional office enforcement actions against UAS hobbyists… Continue Reading

Closed Captioning, Emergency Information Requirements Among Numerous Upcoming FCC Deadlines

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation, Online Video
Broadcasters and MVPDs face numerous FCC deadlines in the upcoming weeks and months related to accessibility and the CALM Act.  Below, we briefly discuss each deadline and then provide a summary table. Closed Captioning Quality:  On March 16, 2015, new rules regulating the quality of closed captions under four non-technical standards — (1) accuracy, (2)… Continue Reading

February 2, 2015 FCC EEO Deadlines

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Employment
Certain radio and television stations face an upcoming FCC Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) annual reporting deadline on Monday, February 2, 2015: Annual EEO Public File Report Radio and television station employment units (SEUs) located in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and New York with five or more full-time employees must prepare by… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Proposed Rules for Radio, Cable, and DBS Online Public File

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation, Political Broadcasting
Wasting little time after an August Public Notice, the FCC issued an NPRM today proposing to require broadcast radio stations, satellite radio operators, and cable and DBS operators to post their public inspection files to the FCC’s online database. Today the online public file requirements apply only to broadcast television stations, however, the FCC “now… Continue Reading

FCC Warns of Possible Stored EAS Alert; Seeks Comment on EAS Procedures and Security

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
The FCC is warning participants in the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to check their equipment to make sure it does not have a queued alert—scheduled for broadcast this weekend.  In one of two EAS-related Public Notices, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau cautioned that an EAN alert that recently was transmitted as part… Continue Reading

FCC Announces New Wireless Microphone Proceeding

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology, Spectrum
The FCC announced today a new rulemaking proceeding designed to address the long-term needs of wireless microphone users.  The new NPRM comes on the heels of the Incentive Auction Order, where the Commission decided to eliminate the current two reserved channels for wireless microphones.  In a news release, the FCC acknowledges that “following the incentive… Continue Reading

UAS Takes Flight for Film Companies

Posted in Broadcast Technology, First Amendment, Privacy
Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) granted exemptions for six aerial photo and video production companies working in the movie and television industries to operate commercial unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) under specific conditions.  Under the current law, civil operation of UAS in U.S. airspace is banned unless the FAA grants an exemption under Section 333… Continue Reading