Harry Cole

Harry Cole The primary focus of Mr. Cole’s practice is broadcasting, including transactional, regulatory and appellate work. He has represented clients before the FCC and in various courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Does the FCC Know How Long It Takes to Complete an Ownership Report?

PRA notice suggests low-ball estimate, but what about, um, the 10 hours of outside attorney time the FCC told OMB about six months ago? Back in January the Commission announced its most recent overhaul of the biennial Ownership Reports that commercial and noncommercial broadcasters are required to file using, respectively, Forms 323 and 323-E. As … Continue Reading

EWW, SSA, SSW: New EAS Event Codes Added

While supporting the decision, Commissioner O’Rielly criticizes FCC’s “cost/benefit” analysis In what four out of five FCC Commissioners seem to view as a no-brainer, the Emergency Alert System just got three more event codes and two slightly-revised geographic location codes. The odd man out? Commissioner O’Rielly. He doesn’t question the potential utility of the new/revised … Continue Reading

Pursestrings 2016: New Application Fee Schedule Announced

Normally non-controversial biennial action spiced up this year by partial dissent from Commissioner O’Rielly Thanks to Congress, the FCC has got to charge application fees and, also thanks to Congress, those fees have got to be adjusted every two years in light of changes in the Consumer Price Index. The last time the Commission tweaked … Continue Reading

Convention-al Wisdom: Auxiliary Frequency Coordination Provisions for Political Confabs Announced

FCC takes steps in anticipation of extensive auxiliary operation at upcoming conventions, inauguration It looks like Louis Libin won’t be getting much time off this month, or next January either, for that matter. That’s because he has been designated as the single point of contact for frequency coordination operations under Section 74.24 at (deep breath, … Continue Reading

FCC Forfeiture Limits Increased Across the Board

Keeping up with the cost-of-living … If you happened to feel a vague, somewhat disturbing, shudder recently, don’t worry: it was just the upper limit of potential FCC fines being raised across the board. By Order effective July 1, 2016 (or maybe August 1 – we’ll get to that), the Commission followed up on a … Continue Reading

On the Way Out: Two Vestigial Remnants of Pre-Online Public File Universe

Commission proposes to eliminate obligations to include public correspondence in commercial broadcasters’ public files, headend location information in cable operators’. Following through on a promise it made in January, the Commission has proposed to eliminate one element of its local public inspection file rules for broadcasters, and it has now proposed to do the same … Continue Reading

2016 Regulatory Fees Proposed: Larger Market TV Fees Going Up, Most Radio Fees Heading Down

If it’s May, it must be time for  proposed regulatory fees – and sure enough, here they are! In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC has got the ball rolling down the road that, for many regulatees, will lead us to a payment deadline sometime in September (or maybe August, but don’t count … Continue Reading

Time to Test Drive the New and Improved Online Public File System!

“Local” no more – as of June 24, new “OPIF” will be up and running … but a demo can – AND SHOULD – be checked out NOW Last January we reported on the FCC’s decision to expand its online public inspection file (now officially referred to as “OPIF”) requirement to include radio broadcasters, cable … Continue Reading

The New Future of OTA TV? Media Bureau Seeks Comment on Proposed Next Generation TV Standard

ATSC-designed transmission system promises lots of upside, minimal downside – as long as the FCC and marketplace cooperate. The broadcast television industry is resilient. Its core over-the-air technology was fundamentally changed with the transition from analog to digital transmission in 2009 and its spectrum habitat is about to shrink dramatically thanks to the Incentive Spectrum … Continue Reading

¿Es Esta Una Prueba?

FCC “grants” petition seeking mandatory foreign language EAS alerts by declining to impose mandatory foreign language EAS alerts; but some new reporting requirements are added How do you say EAS en español? Apparently, that’s something EAS participants won’t need to worry about anytime soon. The FCC has rejected a proposal that would have mandated the … Continue Reading

Irony Alert: Government Honors Recording Government Criminalizes

You may want to strap yourself in for this one – to avoid the intellectual whiplash that might otherwise result. Every year, the National Recording Preservation Board – a federal organization comprised of esteemed composers, musicians, musicologists, librarians, archivists, and representatives of the recording industry – undertakes a duty assigned to it by our elected … Continue Reading

Attention, Reverse Auction Participants: A Small Package of (Potentially) Great Value Should Be Delivered to You Shortly

Second Confidential Status Letters are on the way! If you’re a TV licensee who submitted a “complete” application to participate in the upcoming reverse auction component of the Incentive Auction, be on the lookout for a package coming to you from the FCC. It’s your Second Confidential Status Letter (SCSL) – a/k/a your Golden Ticket … Continue Reading

Does the FCC Want to Postpone the Incentive Auction?

Publicly, the Commission appears determined to proceed full speed ahead, but a couple of FCC pleadings to the D.C. Circuit suggest otherwise. Pretty much since the FCC set out on its headlong race to design and implement the upcoming Incentive Auction, one of the Prime Directives appears to have been to get the thing done … Continue Reading

Attention, Reverse Auction Applicants: An Important Letter from the FCC is on its Way to You!

First Confidential Status Letters advising of potentially fatal incompleteness flaws have been sent to would-be reverse auction applicants; Deadline for corrections: February 26, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) If you’re a TV licensee who submitted an application to participate in the upcoming reverse auction component of the Incentive Auction, you should be checking your mail … Continue Reading

“Local” No More: Radio, Cable, Satellite All Moving their (Previously) Local Public Inspection Files to the Internet

Concluding a proceeding begun a mere 18 months ago, the Commission has extended its online public file requirement well beyond the broadcast TV industry. To no one’s real surprise, the FCC has decided to expand its online public inspection file requirement – first imposed on television broadcasters in 2012 – to include radio broadcasters, cable … Continue Reading

$500K+ Spanking for Sponsorship ID Miscue

Enforcement Bureau extracts half-million dollar “civil penalty” AND an extensive compliance plan commitment from Cumulus for spots which it didn’t even sell. The Enforcement Bureau has scored another trophy for its burgeoning trophy room of extravagant penalties. This time, it’s $540,000 extracted from Cumulus for a supposedly inadequate sponsorship identification on a number of spots … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit, “Slant”(ing) Toward “Redskins”?

Appeals court tosses “disparagement” bar against registration of “offensive” trademarks Last May, our colleague Kevin “the Swami” Goldberg called readers’ attention to an interesting case wending its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It involves the rejection, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), of an application for federal … Continue Reading

Congress Spares TV JSAs through September, 2025

Terse provision slides through as part of massive annual appropriations act  TV Joint Sales Agreements (JSAs) have been given a new lease on life, thanks to Congress and the President. Back in 2014, the FCC declared certain JSAs to be “attributable interests” and therefore subject to unwinding by June, 2016. But now compliance with that … Continue Reading
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