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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Where To From Here? Next Steps in the FCC Incentive Auction

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Spectrum, Transactions
It has been more than four months now since the FCC adopted a Report and Order for the forthcoming incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum.  The Report and Order provided a framework for the reverse auction, where television stations will bid to relinquish some or all of their spectrum rights; the forward auction, where wireless… Continue Reading

Reminder: Must Carry/Retrans Election Notices Due October 1

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
Broadcasters have less than three weeks to send election notices to cable and DBS operators.  The election notices inform those operators of a broadcaster’s choice between must carry and retransmission consent and cover the January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2017 cycle. Note that a commercial station that fails to send an election notice to… Continue Reading

October 1 EEO Deadlines Fast Approaching

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Employment
A reminder that certain radio and television stations face upcoming FCC EEO reporting deadlines. Annual EEO Public File Report Radio and television station employment units (SEUs) located in the Virgin Islands, Florida, Puerto Rico, Iowa, Missouri, Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Oregon, Samoa, and Washington with five or more full-time employees must prepare by Wednesday, October 1, 2014… Continue Reading

What Broadcasters Don’t Know About Political Advertisers Can’t Hurt Them (At Least With the FCC)

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation, First Amendment, Political Broadcasting
Broadcasters are not required to affirmatively investigate the identity of entities purchasing political advertising time, the FCC’s Media Bureau has reaffirmed.  In a letter dismissing complaints against two television stations, FCC political chief Bobby Baker stated that, “unless furnished with credible, unrefuted evidence that a sponsor is acting at the direction of a third party,… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Extending Online Public File to Radio Stations and MVPDs

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice seeking comment on whether it should initiate a rulemaking proceeding that would require broadcast radio stations, cable systems, and other MVPDs to post their public inspection files to the FCC’s online database. Currently, the online public file requirements apply only to broadcast television stations.  The Public Notice comes… Continue Reading

The Incentive Auction Report and Order Is Coming: What Broadcasters Need to Know

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Spectrum
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to adopt a Report and Order in the broadcast spectrum incentive auction proceeding.  The Report and Order will establish the framework for the incentive auction and the subsequent repacking of television stations.  Although some details of the Report and Order were still unresolved last week, when the… Continue Reading

FCC Declares “Zapple Doctrine” Unenforceable; Affirms Broadcaster Discretion Regarding Programming Content

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Time of death: 12:38 p.m., May 8, 2014. That is when the FCC’s Media Bureau officially declared the “Zapple Doctrine” dead. The “Zapple Doctrine” grew out of the Fairness Doctrine, which required licensees to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner that was, to borrow a phrase from Fox News, “fair and balanced.” … Continue Reading

Reminder: June 2, 2014 EEO Deadlines

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 2, 2014: 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

Comments Due By June 26 On Whether FCC Should Continue to Enforce Network Non-Duplication and Syndicated Exclusivity Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Update: The FCC has extended the deadline for comments to June 26 and for reply comments to July 24. The Federal Communications Commission wants to know if it should have an ongoing role in the enforcement of network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity agreements.  In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the FCC asks whether… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Aggregate Contribution Limits

Posted in Advertising Issues, First Amendment
The Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission this week, striking down the federal aggregate contribution limits as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  Importantly, the base contribution limits—that is, the amount an individual may contribute to a specific federal candidate, political party, or political action committee—remain unchanged and were not… Continue Reading

FCC Acts to Attribute Television JSAs and Prohibit Joint Retransmission Consent Agreements; Initiates 2014 Quadrennial Ownership Review

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) today took actions that implicate media ownership and television retransmission consent negotiations.  The FCC adopted: Orders that will: (1) make television joint sales agreements (JSAs) attributable where a brokering station sells more than 15% of the advertising time for a brokered station; and (2) effectively prohibit top-four television… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Repacking Timeline and Expenses

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology, Spectrum
If hundreds of television stations had to modify their facilities and change their broadcast channels at roughly the same time, how long would it take and how much would it cost?  The FCC wants to know, and it is seeking input from broadcasters and other stakeholders to find out. On March 20, 2014, the FCC’s… Continue Reading

Risk Still Hovers Over Use of Drones for Newsgathering

Posted in Broadcast Technology, Privacy
In last night’s 60 Minutes piece, Drones Over America, Morley Safer aptly described the “drone show” as “part sci-fi, part video extravaganza, and part old-fashioned sales pitch, reflecting the steady movement of the technology from military to civilian use.”  Viewers saw breathtaking pictures of Niagara Falls, Greenwich Village, Times Square, and surfers in Hawaii.  I… Continue Reading

Drones for Commercial Use—Not Yet Legally Off the Ground

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology, First Amendment, Privacy, Spectrum
Drones are making headlines.  Following the story of the off-duty Connecticut television station photographer who has now filed a federal lawsuit against the Harford police alleging civil rights violations because they stopped him from using his drone at the scene of a fatal car accident, I’m reflecting.  Back to the days when I was advocating… Continue Reading

FCC to Allow Continued Use of ENT Captioning

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
At its February 20 Open Meeting, the FCC will announce revisions to its rules governing closed captioning.  The Commission will adopt a Report and Order detailing new rules pertaining to captioning quality and the use of Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT) to caption local news programming.  The Commission will seek comment on other aspects of captioning… Continue Reading

CNN Wins Latest Round in Video Captioning Dispute, But More to Come

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, First Amendment, Online Video, Program Content
Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit noted CNN’s “protected right to report the news” in reversing a lower court decision that allowed a lawsuit involving CNN’s decision not to caption certain online video to move forward.  While the court acknowledged the import of preserving CNN’s ability to make independent editorial decisions… Continue Reading

Reminder – Upcoming February 3rd EEO Deadlines

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Employment
Annual EEO Public File Reports By Monday, February 3, 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 Monday, February 3, 2014 an annual EEO Public File Report (PFR).  The report must be placed in… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes End to Sports Blackout Rule

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Copyright
The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Wednesday recommending an end to the sports blackout rules, which prevent cable and satellite providers from carrying professional sporting events when local broadcast stations are required to black out the events pursuant to contracts with the NFL and other leagues. The NFL blacks out the television broadcast… Continue Reading

Does NimbleTV Represent the Next Frontier in the Battle Over Digital Rights or the Solution?

Posted in Copyright, MVPD Regulation, Online Video
It looks like an online video distributor (OVD), it feels like an OVD, but is it an OVD?  That is the question that many observers are asking about NimbleTV, a new service that launched this month in the New York area.  NimbleTV is a cloud-based service that allows cable and satellite subscribers to view content… Continue Reading

FCC Shifts Biennial Ownership Deadline Up Five Hours

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
Procrastinators (or, really, anyone trying to use the FCC’s CDBS system) beware — you have five fewer hours to file your biennial ownership reports! In a Public Notice, the FCC announced that a scheduled power outage at Commission headquarters will result in the unavailability of the FCC’s CDBS system after 7:00 p.m. on December 20,… Continue Reading

What the Media Industry Needs to Know About the Communications Act Rewrite

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Legislation
Earlier this week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced plans to hold hearings and commission white papers next year in preparation for a wholesale rewrite of the Communications Act in 2015.  For the media industry, a Communications Act rewrite could substantially alter… Continue Reading