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FCC Proposes Ten Application Limit for New NCE Stations in 2021 Filing Window

In correspondence with members of Congress, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Ajit Pai had signaled that an application filing window for new Noncommercial Educational (“NCE”) stations would be opening sometime fairly soon. In a Public Notice (“PN”) released October 19, the FCC confirmed that a filing window will be coming. The specific dates of the … Continue Reading

Now Available: Broadcasting During Times of Emergency

Yesterday, Fletcher Heald attorneys Frank Montero and Davina Sashkin with Pat Roberts of  the Florida Association of Broadcasters (“FAB”), and their special guests Lisa Fowlkes and Christina Clearwater of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Craig Fugate, former FEMA Administrator and founder of Fugate Consulting, presented a webinar in consultation with the … Continue Reading

Gaming Out the Supreme Court’s Media Ownership Review

As we reported last week, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) and the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) of a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that overturned a 2017 decision by the FCC attempting to relax … Continue Reading

Final Deadlines Established for FCC Repack Reimbursement

Attention all repacked television broadcast stations (and eligible LPTV and FM stations): the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has established final deadlines for submission of all reimbursement expenses invoices and documentation. The Commission also reminds stations to finish up and close-out, or money might be left on the table.… Continue Reading

US Supreme Court to Review FCC Media Ownership Rules

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the appeal issue of the Third Circuit’s reversal of the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”) relaxed media ownership rules.  The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia last year again rejected the FCC’s most recent efforts to relax the media ownership rules which sought to eliminate a ban … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for October – December

Broadcast Deadlines: October 1, 2020 Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Election Deadline – By October 1, all full power and Class A commercial TV stations must upload their must-carry/retransmission consent elections for the 2021-2023 election cycle to their online public inspection files.  Stations are now required to send copies of their elections to MVPDs and to the FCC … Continue Reading

RMLC and SESAC Strike New Music License Agreement; Filing Due Sept. 23

The uncertainty regarding the rates that commercial radio broadcasters will pay to play music in the repertory of SESAC, Inc. (SESAC) is over. Following extensive negotiations, the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and SESAC reached a new agreement extending the rates and terms of their existing music license agreement for commercial radio stations. That comes … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Guidance on Filing Requests for Waiver, Reduction, Deferral, and Installment Payment Plans for 2020 Regulatory Fees – the Bar Is Still High but FCC Has Streamlined and Loosened Some Requirements

On September 4, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice laying out the procedures governing the filing of requests for waiver, reduction, deferral, and installment payment plans for the 2020 regulatory fees.  As we explained yesterday in our blog post regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Report and Order announcing … Continue Reading

FCC Announces 2020 Regulatory Fees Calculation, No Widespread Forgiveness for COVID-19 Pandemic

On August 31, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released its Report and Order (Order) establishing new methodologies for calculating 2020 annual regulatory fees, which are due September 25, 2020. In the Order, the FCC flatly rejected arguments by the National Association of Broadcasters and others that the FCC’s new calculation methodology … Continue Reading

FCC Moves to Add New Fees (and Lower the Cost of Others)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the first major overhaul of FCC application fees in 30 years. Licensees (and hopeful licensees) should take heed: while certain fees are proposed to be lowered, many are proposed to increase, some by a substantial amount. Of particular … Continue Reading

FCC Repeals Radio Duplication Prohibitions

On Thursday, August 6, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to repeal Section 73.3556 of its Rules and Regulations – a rule that formerly prohibited more than 25% duplication of programming by commonly owned radio stations in the same service (AM or FM) that have 50% or more overlap of their primary service contours.… Continue Reading

Now Available: 2020 Politcal Broadcasting Rules Refresher

On July 30, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys, Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick, along with the FCC’s political programming experts, Bobby Baker, Gary Schonman, and Sima Nilsson, discussed the requirements and latest developments in the FCC’s political broadcasting rules, including equal time, lowest unit rates, PAC ads, BCRA, and record keeping.… Continue Reading

127,000 More Reasons to File Proper FCC Applications When Your Company Goes Through Bankruptcy

Recently, we published an article regarding a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Consent Decree where a company agreed to pay a $240,000 penalty for violating the FCC’s rules by engaging in transactions where FCC wireless licenses were transferred without filing for and obtaining the prior consent of the FCC.… Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for August – October

Broadcast Deadlines:  August 1, 2020 Radio Post-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications on August 1. If the renewal application is not filed until the August 3 deadline, wait until then to begin the post-filing announcements. Either way, these announcements … Continue Reading

FCC Revises Cable TV Leased Access Rate Formula and Appears to Invite a First Amendment Challenge

In an Order released today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) revised the calculation of maximum permissible rates for cable TV commercial leased access by changing from a formula that sets a uniform rate for all cable tiers to a formula that will set a separate rate for each tier. The result may … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes $15,000 Penalty for LPFM Violations of Underwriting Rules

On July 2, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) against low power FM (LPFM) broadcast station KELS-LP, Greeley, Colorado, in which it assessed a $15,000 civil penalty for the station’s apparent violations of the prohibition on noncommercial educational (NCE) and LPFM broadcast stations … Continue Reading

TV Stations and MVPDs Must Upload Contact Information by July 31st

As we head into Summer, it’s important for TV broadcasters to remember the upcoming deadlines this Fall associated with notifying multichannel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) – primarily cable TV and direct broadcast satellite operators – of the station’s election of either must-carry or retransmission consent carriage status on the MVPD systems.   Two critical deadlines are … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for July – September

Broadcast Deadlines:  July 10, 2020 Children’s Television Programming Reports – For the first time, and after two delays, all commercial television and Class A television stations must file electronically annual children’s television programming reports with the Commission, although the first one will cover only the portion of the year which began with the effective date … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Sponsorship ID Waiver for Sponsored COVID-19 PSAs

The Media Bureau today extended the waiver it enacted in April to alleviate 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 pandemic. Pursuant to this extension, commercial time donated for … Continue Reading

FCC Pressed to Expand Local Origination on FM Translators and Boosters

A group of 24 radio broadcast licensees has petitioned the FCC to expand the concept of localized program content beyond FM boosters and to allow localized origination by FM translators as well. On April 24, 2012, and April 13, 2020, we blogged about a proposal by GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, (“GeoBroadcast”) to allow FM radio stations … Continue Reading

No National Test this Year for FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has announced that it will not conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (“IPAWS”) via the broadcast Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) and Wireless Emergency Alert (“WEA”) system this year. As we have written about in the past, EAS tests are sometimes postponed due to … Continue Reading
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