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Category Archives: Broadcast Regulation

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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

Elimination of Main Studio Rule Effective on January 8, 2018

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On December 8, 2017, the Order eliminating the FCC’s main studio rule was published in the Federal Register. As a result, the rule change will be effective on January 8, 2018. Requirements associated with the main studio rule, such as having at least two employees (one manager and one staff) present on a full-time basis… Continue Reading

Comments Due December 29 on Proposals to Modernize Broadcast Ancillary/Supplementary Services Reporting and Local Public Notice Requirements

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on whether to modernize the requirements that broadcasters report annually on their provision of digital television (DTV) ancillary or supplementary services and provide local public notice of the filing of certain applications has been published in the Federal Register. As the FCC has announced, this sets… Continue Reading

FCC Authorizes Voluntary Transition to ATSC 3.0

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
On November 20, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report & Order (Order) authorizing television broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV standard (a/k/a ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The Order also includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) that seeks further comment on three specific issues related to the ATSC… Continue Reading

FCC Draft Order Would Authorize Voluntary Transition to ATSC 3.0

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
On October 26, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a draft Report & Order (“Draft Order”) that would allow television broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV standard (a/k/a ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis.  The Draft Order will be voted on at the Commission’s November 16th Open Meeting.  Below, we summarize the key… Continue Reading

FCC to Consider Sweeping Changes to Media Ownership Rules

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing some of the most dramatic changes to the Commission’s media ownership rules in decades. At its November 16 Open Meeting, the agency will consider an Order on Reconsideration that would: (i) eliminate the 42-year-old newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule; (ii) eliminate the radio/television cross-ownership rule; (iii)… Continue Reading

FCC Votes to Eliminate Main Studio Rule

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
At its October 24, 2017 Open Meeting, the FCC voted to eliminate its 78-year-old main studio rule, requiring each radio and television station to maintain a main studio located in or near its community of license.  Commissioners voted along party lines, with Chairman Pai and Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr voting in favor of eliminating the rule… Continue Reading

Bill Would Expand Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Online Political Ads

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation, Political Broadcasting
On October 19, 2017, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and John McCain (R-AZ), aimed at regulating online political advertising.  The bill, dubbed the “Honest Ads Act,” would require online platforms to identify the purchasers of certain political ads, maintain a “public file” containing specific information… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC Decision Not to Require Multilingual Emergency Alerts, Highlighting November 6, 2017 Deadline to Report on Efforts to Serve Non-English Speakers

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed an FCC order issued in March 2016 that declined to require emergency alerts in languages other than English. In a 2-1 decision, the Court found the agency’s determination to be consistent with the Communications Act and reasonable, and thus denied the petition… Continue Reading

Effective Date Announced for Recordkeeping Requirements for Non-CPB NCEs Conducting Third Party Fundraising

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Effective November 13, 2017, NCE stations must comply with the recordkeeping requirements established by the new rule that allows them to conduct limited on-air fundraising activities that interrupt regular programming to benefit third-party non-profit organizations. Specifically, non-CPB NCE stations that conduct third-party fundraising must place in their public files, on a quarterly basis, the following… Continue Reading

FCC to Vote on Two Media Regulation Modernization Items at October Open Meeting; Draft Items Available

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On October 3, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) announced its tentative agenda for the October Open Meeting, which includes two items of interest to broadcasters: (1) elimination of the Main Studio Rule, and (2) proposed updates to the rules governing ancillary/supplementary services provided by television broadcast stations and broadcast public notices. As it… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Pai Calls on Apple to Activate FM Chips in iPhones

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Broadcast Technology
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, citing public safety concerns, has taken the unusual step of releasing a statement urging Apple to activate the FM radio chips already present in iPhone devices. In today’s statement, Chairman Pai explained that “[w]hen wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to… Continue Reading

Second Post-Auction Filing Window to Open October 2

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Repacked television stations that have been waiting patiently for their turn to request an alternate post-auction channel or an expanded facility–your time is coming.  The second filing window for the post-Incentive Auction repack will open on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 and continue through Thursday, November 2, 2017. The second window is open to all television… Continue Reading

FTC Sends (Another) Warning That Endorsers Must Disclose Connections to Products, Brands, or Services in Any Form of Media

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation, Contests
When thinking about the regulations they must comply with, most broadcasters focus primarily, if not exclusively, upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But there is at least one other federal agency that deserves attention, and that is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This is particularly true when endorsements, contests, and other marketing activities are in… Continue Reading