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Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for May – July

Broadcast Deadlines:  May 4, 2020 FM Boosters and Hyper-local Broadcasting – Comments are due with regard to a petition for rulemaking by GeoBroadcast Solutions LLC asking the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) to permit radio broadcasters to use single frequency network (SFN) technology to provide hyper-local programming, emergency alerting, and advertising.… Continue Reading

“Sweeps” Are Under the Rug: FCC Seeks Comment on New Metrics to Establish Significant Viewership

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on it’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on whether it should update its rules that determine whether a television broadcast station is “significantly viewed” in communities outside of its Designated Market area (“DMA”) for purposes of carriage on Multichannel Video Program Distribution (“MVPD”) systems, both cable and … Continue Reading

Low Power FM Rule Changes Slated for April 23 FCC Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a draft of a Report and Order  scheduled for a vote on April 23, looking toward making several changes in the rules governing Low Power FM (“LPFM”) radio stations.  We wrote an article last year when the rules were proposed.  Not all the requests for rule changes will … Continue Reading

Effective Date of Truth-in-Billing Statute Deferred

Last year, a new law, the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (“TVPA”), was enacted, requiring Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (“MVPDs”) and providers of fixed broadband services to disclose all charges that a consumer will have to pay before he or she signs up for service.  The statute requires compliance by June 20, 2020, but … Continue Reading

FCC Continues Fines for Improper Use of EAS Signals

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) remains consistent in its enforcement of fines for the improper use of Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) tones.  On April 7, 2020, the Commission released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (the “Notice”) proposing to levy a $20,000 fine against Entercom License, LLC (Entercom) station WNEW-FM for … Continue Reading

Is Hyper-Local FM Radio Coming?

A company called GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), to allow FM radio stations to operate on-channel boosters that do not entirely duplicate the content of the main station.  The idea is to allow each booster to insert local content intended for just the portion of … Continue Reading

TV Stations Granted Limited Waiver to Pre-Empt Children’s Programming to Air Local Events in Support of Social Distancing

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Media Bureau announced today that from now until April 30, 2020, full power and Class A TV stations may pre-empt children’s television programming to broadcast live or same-day, recorded community events to enable the public to view those events without attending in person, in furtherance of the “social distancing” advocated … Continue Reading

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

Now Available: 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
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