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FCC Waives Sponsorship Identification for Sponsored COVID-19 PSA’s

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced a waiver of broadcast sponsorship identification requirements concerning air time donated by commercial advertisers for public service announcements (“PSAs”) provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and other government agencies addressing the COVID-19 emergency.… Continue Reading

DTS: More or Less, What’s Your Guess?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking toward relaxing restrictions on Distributed Antenna Systems (“DTS”) for full-power television stations and making DTS newly available to Class A and Lower Power Television (“LPTV”) stations.… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Some April Broadcast Deadlines in Light of COVID-19

In a Public Notice released today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced extensions to certain April deadlines for broadcasters: Children’s Television Annual Report As discussed in our previous CommLawBlog post on the subject, the first annual Children’s Television Report (covering the period from September 16, 2019-December 31, 2019) was already extended to a March 30 … Continue Reading

FCC to Stations: Giving Away Spots Doesn’t Necessarily Have to Cost You When Candidates Come to Buy Time

One of the outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis – according to reports from many radio and televisions stations – has been a precipitous drop in spot sales and customers cancelling existing advertising contracts, leaving lots of airtime to fill. To fill that time, and to help other struggling businesses, some broadcasters have responded by offering … Continue Reading

FM Auction 106 Postponed Indefinitely

As we have seen over the past two weeks, COVID-19 has taken up the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) time and attention, with other duties and proceedings getting pushed back. That list of impacted proceedings will now include FM Auction 106, which has been postponed indefinitely via a Public Notice released today.… Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for April – June

Broadcast Deadlines:  April 1, 2020 Radio and Television License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Michigan and Ohio, as well as TV stations licensed in Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements concerning their applications for a license renewal. These announcements must be continued on April … Continue Reading

Coronavirus News to Share? FCC Won’t Ensnare

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has issued a Public Notice assuring radio and TV stations that they may share news content and news-gathering resources on an emergency or ad hoc basis during the coronavirus crisis without reducing their arrangements to writing or putting them in their online public inspection file (“OPIF”) as “shared service” agreements … Continue Reading

Homeland Security Issues Access Letter to Broadcasters and Telecoms

Earlier this week, the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issued multiple letters that will provide the bearer access to: restricted areas and times (such as during curfews) if necessary to access communications equipment to ensure continued service; and priority access to fuel for generators and debris … Continue Reading

FCC Invites Comment on Extending Deadline for Total Price Disclosure for MVPD Services

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments as to whether it should grant a six-month extension of time for Multichannel Video Program Distributors (“MVPDs”) to comply with the “Right to Transparency” provisions of the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (“TVPA”). This proceeding will be a quick one, with Comments due April 6, and … Continue Reading

TV Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Elections Must Be Made This Year: Election Notification System Will Now Be All Electronic

In Report and Orders released in July of 2019 and February of 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has converted the system for television broadcast stations to notify multichannel video program distributors (“MVPDs”), of their election of must-carry or retransmission status from paper sent by certified mail to electronic notices posted on the FCC’s website, … Continue Reading

The FCC’s Political File Rules: Is Your Station in Full Compliance?

Super Tuesday is less than two weeks away, Michael Bloomberg is spending a king’s ransom on political advertisements, and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is actively engaged in investigating stations’ compliance with the political file rules. Now is the time to make sure your station staff understands the FCC’s political file requirements and implements any … Continue Reading

If Your Program Sounds Like It’s Live, but Isn’t, You Must Tell the Audience (Or Suffer the Consequence)

In late January, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Consent Decree penalizing Salem Media Group to the tune of $50,000 for “violat[ing] the FCC’s live broadcast rules by broadcasting prerecorded programming as ‘live’ without announcing before the broadcast that the programming was prerecorded.” In addition Salem has agreed to a three-year compliance plan to … Continue Reading

Available Now: Getting into the Weeds of CBD & Marijuana Advertising

On Wednesday, January 29th, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero, Dan Kirkpatrick, and Seth Williams presented a webinar that got “into the weeds” of CBD and marijuana advertising. New questions have been raised since the US Department of Agriculture in 2019 published their interim rules on the “Establishment of Domestic Hemp Projects”. To address broadcasters … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for January – March

Broadcast Deadlines: January 31, 2020 Biennial Ownership Reports – All 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 … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes to End Radio Station Program Duplication Restrictions

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to repeal Section 73.3556 of its Rules, which prohibits two commercial AM or two commercial FM radio stations from devoting more than 25% of the hours in an average broadcast week to duplicating programming if they are commonly controlled (through either common ownership or time brokerage) and the … Continue Reading

Who Should Say What to Whom When Cable TV Retransmission Consent Negotiations Fail?

Retransmission consent negotiations have been coming down to the wire more and more in recent years, as broadcasters have sought to recoup more of the value they feel their signals have, and cable operators have resisted increases in their expenses. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rules currently require cable operators to notify both subscribers and the … Continue Reading

Picking NCE and LPFM Winners Simplified: NCE and LPFM Station Transfer Rules Relaxed

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has changed in its rules for selecting winners from groups of mutually exclusive (“MX”) noncommercial educational full-power radio (“NCE”) and Low Power FM (“LPFM”) applicants and has made it easier for MX applicants to negotiate voluntary time-sharing agreements. In the FCC’s Report and Order, it has also shortened the minimum … Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be: The Fate of Analog LPTV Channel 6 – Comment Deadlines Announced

On December 4, 2019, we wrote that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers. A notice in the Federal Register has announced that the deadline for … Continue Reading

Is it Time for All-Digital AM Radio?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on whether it should allow AM radio broadcast stations to abandon their analog signals in favor of an all-digital signal format. Preliminary tests have shown that all-digital signals provide improved audio quality and immunity from interference. While the FCC does not propose to require any AM station … Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be – That is the Channel 6 Analog LPTV Question

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers. Nearly all of the television broadcast industry has already converted to digital operation. There are no more analog full … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December – February

  Broadcast Deadlines: December 1, 2019 License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on December 16, January 1, and January 16.… Continue Reading

What to Do If Your EAS IPAWS Tests Aren’t Working

Your Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment may have stopped passing through tests received via the equipment’s Internet connection to the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) because one of the trust root certificates used to validate digital signatures associated with alerts expired a little over a week ago. If your EAS equipment is rejecting … Continue Reading
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