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FCC Proposes Rules to Reform Procedures on FM Translator Station Complaints

The FCC at its May Open Meeting adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing reforms to the Commission’s current procedures used to resolve complaints of interference caused by FM translator stations. As the NPRM recites, the FM translator service was instituted in 1970 as a way to improve reception of FM radio stations in … Continue Reading

FCC Grants Puerto Rico Broadcasters Recovery Relief Request for FM Translator Applicants Impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma

On May 1, the FCC’s Media and Wireless Bureaus granted a request filed by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys Frank Montero and Keenan Adamchak on behalf of the Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association (PRBA) to waive the FCC’s rules limiting the scope of settlements involving mutually exclusive (MX) FM translator applications filed in the Auction 100 … Continue Reading

Comments on FCC Proposed EEO Form 397 Elimination due by April 30; Reply Comments Due May 15

In March 2018, the FCC proposed eliminating the Equal Employment Opportunity Mid-Term Report (also known as Form 397) and now those wishing to voice their opinions can do so until April 30. As we’ve discussed before, this is part of the FCC’s ongoing Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative (spearheaded by Chairman Pai). Currently, Form 397 … Continue Reading

Reply Comments on FCC Incubator Diversity Program Due April 9

On Nov. 20, 2017, the FCC released an Order on Reconsideration of several of its broadcast multiple and cross-ownership rules, which included a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) looking toward increasing minority, female, and small business ownership by establishing an “incubator” program which incentives established broadcasters to help those types of entities. Comments on the … Continue Reading

FCC Updates DTV Reception Map

Last week, the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau launched an updated DTV Reception map aimed at helping consumers during the post-Incentive Auction repack. The new DTV Reception Map (available here) will reflect changes to TV stations as they begin transmitting on new channels between now and July 2020 during the post-Incentive Auction … Continue Reading

Repack Funds and First Responders – What Broadcasters Need to Know About the ‘Omnibus’ Spending Bill of 2018

On Friday, March 23 President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill that will mean some significant changes to the broadcasting community. The 2,232-page omnibus bill not only includes an additional $1 billion for spectrum repack on top of the already $1.75 billion already allocated, but also changes how broadcasters are treated in terms of … Continue Reading

FHH Attorneys Show Broadcasting’s Future Leaders the Ropes

The BLT is a 10-month Executive MBA-style program that exposes rising broadcast executives to the fundamentals of successful radio and TV station ownership and operation. Created by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF), the BLT is taught by a volunteer faculty of well-regarded industry professionals, so FHH is proud to be represented among … Continue Reading

Attention Commercial Radio Stations: Upcoming Deadline for Eligible Stations to Receive Retroactive Refund of Certain SESAC License Fees

If you are a commercial radio station that authorized the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) to represent you in negotiations and litigation against SESAC, then you need to act quickly to receive the full fruits of the RMLC’s labor. Unless you return an executed copy of the RMLC-SESAC radio license to SESAC by March 26, … Continue Reading

Political Broadcasting Rules Q&A

With primaries in some states happening as soon as March, the 2018 election cycle is certain to be contentious and hard-fought. Now is the time for broadcasters to review their systems to ensure that they will be in compliance with the FCC’s political advertising requirements. Now that all broadcast stations are required to place political … Continue Reading

FCC Opens Up Special Displacement Window for LPTV Stations

Last week the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau announced the opening of a 60-day filing window for those LPTV stations who are being displaced as a result of the post-incentive auction repacking process. The “Special Displacement Window” applies to certain LPTV stations, TV translators, and analog-to-digital replacement translators. The window will … Continue Reading

Commercial Broadcasters March Toward a Second Extension of GMR Interim License

Over the past 14 months, we’ve kept our readers updated on the music licensing fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR). This, of course, started when the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on the terms of a license that would allow the commercial radio stations represented by the … Continue Reading

Noncommercial Stations Beware: When ‘Underwriting’ Spots Turn into Advertising, a Big Penalty Can Follow

Many noncommercial educational (NCE) stations – and their lawyers – were caught by surprise last week when the FCC issued a $115,000 civil penalty against an NCE licensee. The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) was hit for running underwriting spots promoting for-profit entities. CCF agreed to the monetary penalty as part of an FCC approved consent … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Asked to Delay Implementation of Media Ownership Rules

As we previously reported, the deregulatory changes the FCC recently adopted to its media ownership rules are due to take effect on Feb. 7. Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project, however, have filed an appeal of those rule changes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and, as expected, have now … Continue Reading

Children’s Programming Requirements on the Chopping Block?

Could the FCC’s children’s programming requirements (colloquially known as “kidvid”) be on their way out? If Commissioner O’Rielly gets his way, it seems that they might be; Or at the very least they will be subject to some significant revision. In a blog post released on Friday, O’Rielly argued that the rules are outdated, impose … Continue Reading

Shutdown Any Unauthorized Use of Trademarks

While many outside the nation’s capital were engrossed in this weekend’s football games, those inside the beltway were engrossed in their own local sport: politics (especially because D.C.’s team – who shall remain nameless even as that name may be trademarked – hasn’t played for the Lombardi trophy in 26 years). Specifically, “Shutdown” was THE … Continue Reading

New Media Ownership Rules Take Effect Feb. 7

The FCC’s final Order on Reconsideration in its media ownership proceeding was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 8. This latest step in the long-running saga of the FCC’s attempts to reform its media ownership rules relaxes many media ownership rules. Absent Court intervention or Commission reconsideration, those changes will take effect on Feb. … Continue Reading

NOW AVAILABLE: 2018 Political Broadcast Webinar

On the eve of the 2018 mid-term elections, broadcasters will soon have to navigate the FCC’s rules on political broadcasting. To assist with this, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Dan Kirkpatrick, Frank Montero, and Scott Johnson, were joined by the FCC’s Bobby Baker and Gary Schonman to present, in collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, a webinar on … Continue Reading

Announcing a New Member to our CommLawBlog Team: Mark Lipp

Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth and CommLawBlog are happy to welcome well-known broadcast attorney Mark Lipp to our broadcast and media practice. Mark joins FHH as a member effective as of Jan. 15. Mark is well-known for representing broadcast stations in a variety of FCC issues including enforcement, renewals, auctions, litigation, and transactions. He also advises … Continue Reading

FCC Grants Request by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth to Revise Post-Auction Broadcast Transition Phase Assignments and Deadlines for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Wake of Hurricane Maria

January 16, 2018 – Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is proud to announce that, through its efforts, the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau division on Jan. 11, 2018 granted a request to allow 20 broadcast TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to construct post-incentive auction facilities early. The … Continue Reading
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