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Category Archives: Broadcast Regulation

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Mandate Issues in Third Circuit Media Ownership Case, Causing Reinstatement of Outdated Rules

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation, Ownership Rules, Transactions
On November 29, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its mandate in the latest chapter of the seemingly never-ending litigation saga concerning the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) media ownership rules. As a result, the rules left in place by the 2016 broadcast quadrennial review are now again in effect. The… Continue Reading

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

Third Circuit Refusal to Reconsider Media Ownership Decision Means Déjà vu All Over Again

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
The seemingly never-ending cycle in which the FCC adopts an order in its quadrennial media ownership review only to have that order overturned by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is likely to continue unless the Supreme Court intervenes. On Wednesday, November 20, the Third Circuit denied petitions… Continue Reading

Why the LPTV/Translator/FM Post-Auction Reimbursement Process is Different

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
With the FCC’s announcement that FCC Form 2100, Schedule 399 (better known as Form 399) is now available for LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Stations seeking reimbursement for expenses incurred in relation to the broadcast television repack, the reimbursement process for these stations is now underway.  For many licensees that also own full power and… Continue Reading

Political Advertising 101: A Refresher Course for Very Busy People (2019 Update)

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation, Political Broadcasting
If the initial excitement you feel at the prospect of what will hopefully be another bountiful political advertising market quickly gives way to a sick, uneasy feeling as you try to recall the FCC’s rather complex, and often confusing, political broadcasting rules, then this “update” is for you.  Although there haven’t been any significant changes… Continue Reading

It Is Becoming Harder to Put the Kibosh on an FM Translator

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
FM translators have become a more pervasive and important component of terrestrial radio broadcasting than ever before.  Aided by the FCC’s AM revitalization initiative and increases in programming services via FM digital multicast streams, the number of authorized translator stations has increased sharply in recent years, as have the opportunities for translator licenses to carry… Continue Reading

Effective January 22, 2019: FCC’s Elimination of Paper Contract Filing Obligation for Broadcasters

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Ownership Rules
On January 22, 2019, the FCC’s Order eliminating broadcasters’ obligation to file paper copies of contracts pursuant to Section 73.3613 of the Commission’s rules will go into effect. Covered contracts include those related to network affiliations, control of station licenses, certain employment agreements, joint sales agreements (“JSAs”), and local marketing agreements (“LMAs”) (collectively, “Section 73.3613… 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

FCC Sets October 12, 2018 Deadline for Registration of United States-Based Foreign Media Outlets

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Foreign Ownership
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a public notice setting October 12, 2018 as the initial deadline for “United States-based foreign media outlets” to file reports with the FCC. The reports are required pursuant to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA) and must contain certain specified information.… Continue Reading

NPRM Proposes Momentous Changes to the Children’s Television Programming Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On July 13, 2018, the FCC released the text of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that, consistent with the draft item released in June, proposes sweeping changes to the current children’s television programming rules.  Comments on the FCC’s proposals are due September 24, 2018 and replies are due October 23, 2018. In the NPRM,… Continue Reading

Draft NPRM Proposes Momentous Changes to the Children’s Television Programming Rules

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The Federal Communications Commission has released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing sweeping changes to the current children’s television programming rules (NPRM). The Commission is expected to officially adopt the NPRM at its next open meeting on July 12, 2018. In the draft NPRM, the Commission proposes to modify its “outdated” children’s programming rules… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Key TCPA Issues

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology, Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) has taken its first step in addressing several key issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) that were raised by the recent D.C. Circuit decision that resolved an appeal of the Commission’s 2015 Omnibus TCPA Order. Specifically, the D.C. Circuit’s March decision in ACA International v. FCC… Continue Reading

Transitioning TV Stations Should Be Mindful of Notification Requirements

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
With the first phase of the post-incentive auction repack rapidly approaching, licensees of full power and Class A television stations should be mindful of upcoming deadlines for notifications to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), medical facilities, and viewers.  The requirements apply both to stations that submitted a successful bid to change bands and to stations that… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Proposal to Streamline Assignment/Transfer of TV Satellite Stations

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
UPDATE 4/12/2018:  Comments are due on May 11, 2018 and reply comments are due on May 29, 2018. The FCC wants to know whether and how it should revise the process for applying to assign or transfer control of a television satellite station. Television satellite stations are full power television stations that retransmit some or… Continue Reading

LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Radio Stations to Benefit From New Repack Funding

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On Friday, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R.1625), which includes an amended version of the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services (RAY BAUM’S) Act of 2018 (H.R.4986), funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and funding for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). While the $1.3… Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set on FCC Proposal to Eliminate Paper Contract Filing Requirement for Broadcasters

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
In another proceeding initiated as part of its effort to modernize the rules that apply to broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comment on whether and how to update the requirement that licensees file paper copies of certain contracts and other documents with the agency within 30 days of their execution. As a… Continue Reading

When the Commission Says Certified Mail, It Means Certified Mail

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
As lawyers, we frequently receive questions along the lines of, “I know the rule says [x], but what if I do [y] instead?  That’s consistent with the spirit of the rule, right?”  We now have further proof that complying with the “spirit of the rule” may not be good enough.  In a recent decision, the… 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

FCC Media Ownership Rule Changes Effective February 7, 2018; Comments Due March 9, 2018 on Proposals to Increase Broadcast Ownership Diversity

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation, Ownership Rules
The FCC’s Order on Reconsideration (Order) adopting sweeping changes to the media ownership rules has been published in the Federal Register. This establishes February 7, 2018 as the effective date for all but one of the rule changes adopted in the Order. As previously explained, the Order (i) eliminates the 42-year-old newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule; (ii)… Continue Reading