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Category Archives: Broadcast Regulation

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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

Reminder: 2017 Must-Carry and Retransmission Consent Elections

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On or before October 1, 2017, each full-power commercial television station must make an election between must carry and  retransmission consent. In addition, although noncommercial television stations do not have retransmission consent rights, they must send carriage notices to DBS (and other satellite operators) on or before October 1, 2017 in order to obtain (or maintain) carriage on… Continue Reading

FCC Public Notice Asks What Media Regulations to Eliminate

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, MVPD Regulation
On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Public Notice initiating a review of its rules applicable to television and radio broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite television providers. The stated purpose of the review is “to eliminate or modify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome.” In addition to seeking comment on… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Elimination of Broadcast Main Studio Rule

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
Update 6/2/2017: Based on today’s publication in the Federal Register, comments are due on July 3, with reply comments due July 17. On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which it proposed to eliminate the main studio rule for all services (including the associated minimum staffing… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Orders Eliminating FRN/RUFRN Requirement for NCEs and Allowing NCEs More Flexibility to Conduct Third Party Fundraising

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
On April 20, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released the final text of two items adopted at the Commission’s April Open Meeting that reduce regulatory burdens on noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcasters. The first item is an Order on Reconsideration (Recon Order) that allows NCE filers to utilize so-called “Special Use” FRNs (SUFRNs) when filling out… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Proposes to Eliminate the Main Studio Rule . . . And Possibly More

Posted in Broadcast Regulation
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally unveiled two proposals on Thursday to remove outdated broadcast regulations.  First, the Commission released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would eliminate the main studio rule for all services (including the associated minimum staffing requirements).  Second, the Commission released a draft Public Notice seeking comment on media-related rules to modify… Continue Reading

Now Effective – The FCC’s Streamlined Broadcast Foreign Ownership Rules and New Rules Governing Foreign Ownership Compliance

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Foreign Ownership, Transactions
With the publication of an announcement in the Federal Register on April 20, 2017, the FCC’s new foreign ownership rules, originally adopted on September 30, 2016, are now finally effective. The FCC’s September 2016 order made two significant changes to the agency’s foreign ownership rules. First, the new rules contain “streamlined” procedures that broadcasters must… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Draft Orders that Would Eliminate FRN/RUFRN Requirement for NCEs and Allow NCEs More Flexibility to Conduct Third Party Fundraising

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation
On March 30, 2017, the FCC or Commission released two draft items that, if adopted at the Commission’s April Open Meeting, would reduce regulatory burdens on noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcasters. FCC Form 323-E and Permissive Use of SUFRNs The first item is a draft Order on Reconsideration (Draft Recon Order) that would roll-back a requirement… Continue Reading

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