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New Developments in Broadband – April

Broadband on Capitol Hill Although optimism for a broadband infrastructure spending bill this year is fading, it is still a possibility.  Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D‑CA) plan met with President Trump today  to discuss infrastructure legislation.  Schumer recently said that an overall infrastructure plan (including broadband and traditional infrastructure such … Continue Reading

Now Available: “Navigating the Online Public Inspection File” Webinar

Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero, Steve Lovelady, and Dan Kirkpatrick recently presented a webinar about Online Public Inspection Files (OPIFs). The webinar, in collaboration with the broadcast associations of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee in addition to the Public Radio Regional Organizations, covered a variety of topics, … Continue Reading

Radio Stations’ FCC License Renewal Cycle Starts Again

Has it been eight years already?  It’s hard to believe, but yes – the license renewal cycle for radio stations is about to start over again, with preparatory on-air announcements already in progress.  The TV cycle will start next year. In a Public Notice released today, The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Media … Continue Reading

FCC Poses New Questions to Improve Secondary Market Spectrum Transactions

On March 15, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on how the Commission can improve its secondary market rules for spectrum transactions. Specifically, the FCC wants to know whether and how it can improve its secondary market rules to get more spectrum in … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to FM Stations and FM Translators

[Editor’s Note:  This is part 2 of a 2-part series.  Part 1, addressing repack funds for LPTV and TV Translator stations, is available here] As we reported in August 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”)  at that time released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking laying out how it would parcel out reimbursement funds … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to LPTV and TV Translator Stations

[Editor’s Note:  This is part 1 of a two part series.  Part 2, addressing repack funds for FM stations, will be available tomorrow] As we reported in August 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) at that time released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking laying out how it would parcel out reimbursement funds for … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for April-June

Broadcast Deadlines: April 1, 2019:         License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia must begin their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of license.  These announcements must be continued on April 16, May 1, and May 16.… Continue Reading

Comments and Replies Date Set for Media Ownership Rule Review

In December we reported that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) commenced their 2018 Quadrennial Review of media ownership rules by adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”). On February 28, that NPRM was published in the Federal Register, establishing the comment and reply comment dates in the proceeding. Comments on the NPRM … Continue Reading

Reversing the Trend of Deregulation, FCC Tackles Caller ID Spoofing Head-on

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) continued its long-running fight against unwanted robocalls earlier this month, but the steps the Commission proposed may not make a significant impact immediately. On Friday, February 15th, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on issues associated with implementing new caller ID spoofing … Continue Reading

Broadcasters Seek New Business Opportunities Amid Legalization of Industrial Hemp Products (Including CBD Oil)

There’s a green wave coming in the form of expanding marijuana legalization across the US, and many of the people trying to take advantage of this green wave are also trying to turn it into another kind of green: money. Broadcasters are also looking to take advantage of these new revenue opportunities, but because marijuana … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for March-May

Broadcast Deadlines – March 11, 2019: Additional Steps to Revitalize the AM Radio Service – Reply comments are due in response to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with regard to revised alternative proposals regarding interference protection to Class A AM radio stations.… Continue Reading

FCC Ponders Revising Several NCE and LPFM Procedures

Anyone who has filed an application for a new noncommercial educational (NCE) station or a new Low Power FM (LPFM) station knows that many traps beset the unwary throughout the process.  If you fall into one of those traps, your chance of success can be severely injured.  On Valentine’s Day, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” … Continue Reading

FCC Eliminates EEO Mid-Term Report for Broadcasters

On February 14, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC,” or the “Commission”) released a Report and Order in which it eliminated the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Report (Form 397).  As we reported back in January, the FCC found that the Form 397 reporting … Continue Reading

Now in Effect: FCC Eliminates Requirement to Post Licenses

As we reported back in December, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Report and Order that would eliminate the need to post and maintain broadcast licenses at a physical location. The Commission’s stated goal is to modernize U.S. “media rules and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens that impede competition and innovation in the media marketplace.” … Continue Reading

A Word of Caution to Broadcasters Pertaining to E-Cigarette and Vaping Advertisements

Last month I participated in a webinar with my colleague Dan Kirkpatrick where we addressed the issue of advertising controversial products. While the topic of marijuana advertising (which we discussed in our webinar) gets much attention these days–especially with the recent decision by CBS to turn down a cannabis ad for the Super Bowl–we also … Continue Reading

FCC Further Extends Certain Deadlines

As we reported, immediately after reopening from the Federal government shutdown, the FCC extended most filing deadlines that would have fallen during the shutdown to January 30, 2019.  Upon review, the FCC has now further extended many of those deadlines. In a Public Notice released on January 30, the Commission’s Bureaus and Offices collectively retained the … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Filing Deadlines

As we reported early in the government shutdown, the FCC proactively extended most filing deadlines until one business day after the first day the FCC was re-opened post-shutdown. Now that the government (including the FCC) has reopened, the Commission has further extended that deadline by one additional day. As a result, most filings that would have been … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for February-April

You’ll find below the list of deadlines* facing broadcasters and telecommunications providers during the upcoming months of February, March, and April. If you noted the asterisk, it’s because the government shutdown may affect many of these deadlines, either because the relevant online filing system or the required information is not accessible. If that is the … Continue Reading

FCC Shutdown Becomes a Little Less Shut Down

One downside of a government shutdown—or the present partial shutdown that includes the FCC—is the inability of technology companies to obtain the FCC certifications they need to market certain kinds of new products. Good news: the FCC has reopened a website that makes it possible for most (not all) new devices to obtain their certifications.… Continue Reading

Now Available: Controversial Advertising and Sponsorship Identification Webinar

In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar covering guidelines for broadcasters on how to handle controversial advertising and proper sponsorship identification. Frank and Dan discussed many aspects of Federal and state regulation pertaining to advertising on potentially problematic subjects, including marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and … Continue Reading

Possible Ramifications for TCPA After FCC Reclassification of Text Messages

On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) three Republican Commissioners were in a self-congratulatory mood for standing with consumers against unwanted robotexts by classifying text messaging as a Title I service, but did the Commission’s classification decision really mark a major TCPA victory for consumers? Probably not. As Sekoia Rogers detailed on … Continue Reading

FCC Classifies Texting as an Information Service

On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that finds Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services” under the Communications Act and that these services are not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services”.  As a result, SMS/MMS won’t be subjected to the regulatory … Continue Reading
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