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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

Mark Your Calendars: Political Broadcasting Webinar Set for Jan. 18 Hosted by Colorado Broadcasters Association and Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

Join us on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 from 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST for a political broadcasting rules refresher webinar! Presented in collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, the webinar will be hosted by FHH’s all-star attorneys Frank Montero, Scott Johnson, and Dan Kirkpatrick. And, as an added bonus, … Continue Reading

FCC Welcomes Blue to the EAS Family

Last week the FCC unanimously adopted a new member to the Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) family: the “Blue Alert.” Transmitted through the broadcast EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) systems, the Blue Alert is a voluntary alert code that can be used by state and local authorities to alert the public of credible “threats to … Continue Reading

CMRS Rules Get an FCC Facelift – Say Goodbye to Sections 20.7 and 20.9

Chairman Pai and the FCC last week continued their campaign of revamping FCC rules, this time by adopting a Report and Order tackling the Commission’s Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS). The Order deletes Sections 20.7 and 20.9 of the Commission’s rules and is intended to generally eliminate an “outdated and incomplete list of certain services” … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines for January-February 2018

It’s never too early to get a jump start on upcoming deadlines as the New Year approaches. Below is a list of upcoming FCC deadlines to keep on your radar. Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions.  January 10, 2018 … Continue Reading

‘Here Comes the Sun…’ Federal Magistrate Recommends that RMLC Lawsuit Against GMR be Moved to California

It was around this time last year that one of the most closely watched fights in music licensing history – if not copyright generally – went to the next level as the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) sued Global Music Rights (GMR). The RMLC lawsuit alleges that Irving Azoff-founded newest Performing Rights Organization (PRO), was … Continue Reading

Comment Deadlines Set for Proposed Changes in Ancillary/Supplementary Service Report Requirements

As we reported back in October, the Commission has proposed to end the requirement that all digital television, LPTV, and TV translator stations file annual ancillary/supplementary services reports. Plus, it instead requires only stations which actually offer such ancillary/supplementary services to file the forms and report on any revenues received. While this proposal has been … Continue Reading

FCC Approves Voluntary ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV Implementation

New Opportunities for Next Gen Broadcasters and Simulcast “Host” Stations, but Controversies Remain. Yesterday, the FCC adopted a Report and Order authorizing television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard (also called “ATSC 3.0”) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. This Order may herald a revolutionary change in TV broadcasting, opening … Continue Reading

Christmas Has Come Early: Media Bureau Waives Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report Filing Requirement

Acting with commendable promptness, the Media Bureau has relieved virtually all television stations from the requirement to file ancillary/supplementary service reports, at least for this year and likely for future years as well. These reports are traditionally due on Dec. 1 of every year. As we reported back in October, the reports are the ones … Continue Reading