Broadcast Deadlines

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December – February

December 1, 2021

Biennial Ownership ReportsAll licensees and entities holding an attributable interest in a licensee of one or more AM, FM, TV, Class A television, and/or Low Power TV (LPTV) stations must file a biennial ownership report reflecting information as of October 1, 2019.  Please recall that not only corporations and limited liability companies, but also sole proprietorships and partnerships composed entirely of natural persons (as opposed to a legal person, such as a corporation) are included in the licensees that must file reports. Please recall that noncommercial and commercial entities are required to file by the same date.  Additionally, all persons holding an attributable interest in a commercial licensee must have acquired either an FCC Registration Number (FRN) or Restricted Use FRN.

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont must be filed in the Licensing and Management System (LMS).  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees.  Under the current public notice rules, radio stations, including LPFM stations, filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks.  Once complete, full-power radio stations must post a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF) within seven days.  FM translators must post renewal notice texts on an acceptable website (station, licensee, parent or as otherwise described by the FCC), linked under the title FCC Applications, within five business days after the date on which the FCC issues PN of the acceptance of the renewal application and must remain posted for 30 days.

Television License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for television stations located in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota must be filed in LMS.  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast EEO Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees.  Under the current public notice rules, television stations (including LPTV stations that originate programming) filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks.  Once complete, TV stations must post a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF) within seven days.  LPTV stations that do not originate programming and TV translators must post renewal notice texts on an acceptable website (station, licensee, parent or as otherwise described by the FCC), linked under the title FCC Applications, within five business days after the date on which the FCC issues PN of the acceptance of the renewal application and must remain posted for 30 days.

EEO Public File Reports – All radio and television station employment units with five or more full-time employees and located in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont must place EEO Public File Reports in their OPIFs. For all stations with websites, the report must be posted there as well. Per announced FCC policy, the reporting period may end ten days before the report is due, and the reporting period for the next year will begin on the following day.

January 30, 2022

Children’s Television Programming Reports – Each commercial TV and Class A television station must electronically file its annual Children’s Television Programming Report, on FCC Form 2100 Schedule H, to report on programming aired by the station and other efforts in 2021 that were specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children.

Commercial Compliance Certifications – Each commercial TV and Class A television station must post to its OPIF a certification (or certifications) of compliance during 2021 with the statutory limits on commercial time during children’s programming.  The certification(s) should cover both the primary programming stream and all subchannels aired by the station.

February 1, 2022

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in New Jersey and New York must be filed in the Licensing and Management System (LMS).  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees.  Under the current public notice rules, radio stations, including LPFM stations, filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks.  Once complete, full-power radio stations must post a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF) within seven days.  FM translators must post renewal notice texts on an acceptable website (station, licensee, parent or as otherwise described by the FCC), linked under the title FCC Applications, within five business days after the date on which the FCC issues PN of the acceptance of the renewal application and must remain posted for 30 days.

Television License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for television stations located in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma must be filed in LMS.  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast EEO Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees.  Under the current public notice rules, television stations (including LPTV stations that originate programming) filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks.  Once complete, TV stations must post a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF) within seven days.  LPTV stations that do not originate programming and TV translators must post renewal notice texts on an acceptable website (station, licensee, parent or as otherwise described by the FCC), linked under the title FCC Applications, within five business days after the date on which the FCC issues PN of the acceptance of the renewal application and must remain posted for 30 days.

EEO Public File Reports – All radio and television station employment units with five or more full-time employees and located in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma must place EEO Public File Reports in their OPIFs. For all stations with websites, the report must be posted there as well. Per announced FCC policy, the reporting period may end ten days before the report is due, and the reporting period for the next year will begin on the following day.

2021 Biennial Ownership Reports

It’s that time of (every other) year again – The FCC announced that the filing window has opened and Biennial Ownership reports are due Wednesday, December 1st 2021.

Every odd-numbered year, the FCC collects information about the owners of commercial and noncommercial licensees of broadcast stations. The FCC collects this data to ensure that the Commission and the public are informed about who owns, operates, and controls broadcast stations, and to understand the demographic makeup of the broadcast industry. These reports are a snapshot of the industry as of October 1, 2021, meaning that the reports should not reflect changes after October 1st, 2021.

All Licensees of Full Power Television, Class A Television, Low Power Television, AM Radio, FM Radio, and the entities that own an interest in those stations must file an ownership report with the FCC. In other words, if an FM radio station is owned by a parent entity, both the licensee and the parent entity must report ownership data. This applies to both commercial and non-commercial stations.

To file an ownership report, licensees should use the Commission’s Licensing and Management System. Commercial stations file Form 323, while noncommercial stations file Form 323-E. If there are no changes in ownership from the previous filing in 2019, the form will allow you to reference your previous filing, autofill the report, review, and submit. If there are changes, licensees should plan ahead to make sure they have plenty of time to submit a new, accurate report. One step licensees and parent entities should take to ensure that they can complete their filings efficiently is to make sure that every individual with an attributable interest in their station or parent entity has an FCC Registration Number, or “FRN.” You can find the registration instructions here or register here.

The FCC has released a number of resources to assist filers of ownership reports, which can be found here.

Filing Window for New NCE FM Station Construction Permits

On April 21, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing an upcoming filing window to submit applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) FM station construction permits.  The filing window will open at 12:01 am EDT on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, and close at 6:00 pm EST on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.  (Applications filed in this window are NOT first-come, first-served.) The window is available for FM reserved band 88.1 to 91.9 MHz, consisting Channels 201 to 220.  Any applications submitted before the window opens, or after the 6:00 pm EST deadline on November 9, 2021 will be dismissed without further consideration.

New NCE FM applications must be filed electronically on FCC Form 2100, Schedule 340 in the FCC Media Bureau’s Licensing and Management System (LMS). Paper filed applications will not be considered, and applicants are limited to filing no more than 10 applications. There is no filing fee.

First time applicants should note that:

  • NCE stations are licensed only to non-profit educational organizations (not individuals);
  • NCE FM new station licensing opportunities are more readily available in rural areas and smaller communities;
  • The FCC does not publish a list of available frequencies or otherwise provide tools to locate available frequencies; and
  • Applicants generally retain legal counsel and engineering consultants to assist in preparing certain portions of the application.

The FCC recently amended its rules and procedures for filing NCE FM applications and selecting and licensing competing NCE FM applications.  Detailed information about filing procedures and eligibility requirements are available at https://www.fcc.gov/document/nce-fm-new-station-filing-procedures-november-2021-window. You may visit https://www.commlawblog.com/2021/04/articles/fcc/dates-announced-for-non-commercial-educational-station-filing-window/ to view a previous post we shared.

In conjunction with this filing window, the FCC has frozen FM reserved band minor change applications and FM non-reserved band adjacent channels (channels 221 – 223) and intermediate frequency (channels 254 – 274) minor change applications as of 11:59 p.m. EDT, October 4, 2021. The freeze will continue until the close of the NCE filing window.

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for June – August

Broadcast Deadlines:

June 1, 2021

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming must be filed in Licensing and Management System (LMS). These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (EEO), also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF). Continue Reading

Broadband Infrastructure Grants: Partnering With Your Local Community

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) has announced the application requirements for the $288 million Broadband Infrastructure Program. This program will make awards in the range of $5 million to $30 million for fixed broadband infrastructure expansion critical to closing the rural/urban digital divide. While state and local governments will be involved in the application process, they will not be burdened with the difficult job of constructing a broadband network on their own. Instead, NTIA expects applications to be filed by partnerships between service providers and local community governments. A single service provider will be allowed to participate in more than one application. Continue Reading

The Emergency Connectivity Fund: Getting Ready for the Application Window

The Universal Service Administrative Co. (“USAC”) will soon establish a deadline to file applications for funding from the $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund recently established by Congress and the FCC. These funds can be used to provide broadband Internet access services, Wi-Fi hotspots, and equipment to non-profit schools (elementary and secondary) and libraries to enable remote learning for students, school staff, and library patrons from their homes and other off-premises locations, such as community centers, churches, and school buses. This fund provides an opportunity for telephone companies, telehealth networks, and non-telephone company providers of services and products to partner with schools and libraries to build good will in their local communities or to market their services and products outside their existing service areas. Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for May – July

Broadcast Deadlines:

June 1, 2021

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming must be filed in Licensing and Management System (LMS). These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (EEO), also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF). Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Non-Commercial Educational Station Filing Window 

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that the next Full Power Non-Commercial Educational Station (“NCE”) Filing Window would take place from November 2, 2021 to November 9, 2021. Those that wish to apply must file a Form 2100, Schedule 340 electronically through the FCC’s Licensing & Management System (“LMS”). The FCC is limiting each applicant to no more than 10 applications.

Keep an eye on CommLawBlog as we will be providing a more substantive update on the new NCE window soon.

Now Available: Writing Contracts for a Post-Covid World Webinar

On March 23, Fletcher Heald attorney Thomas Urban presented a webinar on how COVID-19 has affected contract litigation and how companies should be prepared for future public health emergencies. During the presentation, Tom broke down the differences in contract doctrines and provided viewers with specific case law that could be applicable in potential lawsuits. The webinar ended with an in-depth look at where contract law could be moving post-COVID as well as many other challenges businesses could face. If you have not updated your contracts or are just interested in learning more about the law, this is an exceptional educational opportunity.

If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint, please reach out to potischman@fhhlaw.com. Otherwise, you can watch the webinar on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to receive all the latest legal webinar content and feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

Selected New Developments in Broadband – Through March 30

Capitol Hill

President Biden on March 11, 2021 signed a further Coronavirus emergency spending package into law – the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act ($1.9 trillion). A very high-level summary of the major spending components of the legislation can be found here (courtesy of CTC Technology & Energy) – but the notable highlights include a $10 billion “capital projects” grant fund for states[1] (made available through the Department of Treasury) and $7.1 billion appropriated to the E-rate Program to support broadband to students outside of the classroom (more below on this in the E-rate section). The Treasury Department’s regulations for the capital projects grant fund are due by May 10, 2021. Continue Reading

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