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FCC Proposes 2018 Regulatory Fees

As we pack up our swimming trunks and beach umbrellas for the unofficial start of summer, the FCC this week issued its 2018 Regulatory Fee Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This NPRM puts in motion the process for payment of regulatory fees which will likely be due sometime in September. For the most part, the … Continue Reading

Let’s Try This Again – FCC Seeks Comments on TCPA/Robocall Issues Remanded By D.C. Circuit.

Like telemarketing “robocalls” that never seem to go away, the FCC’s attempts to clarify important and difficult statutory and regulatory issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) seem to constantly reoccur. Now the FCC is trying again, with a Public Notice seeking comments on: the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS), how … Continue Reading

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 Enforces Regulations Against LED Signs

Those bright, colorful LED signs are up everywhere. They advertise gasoline prices, announce church services, and promote specials at the dry-cleaner. You can program them to say anything you want, with eye-catching animation. And sometimes they cause interference to radio communications. Wait — LED signs? CommLawBlog readers know all about radio interference from well pumps and fluorescent lights and (of course) bitcoin … Continue Reading

Changes Are Coming for the Key Frequency Band at 4 GHz

Radio spectrum and real estate have a lot in common. They’re not making any more of either; and for both, location really does matter. “Location,” for spectrum, means frequency. Much as different real estate locations best serve different purposes, different technological applications work best in different frequency ranges. Like prime downtown addresses, though, all the … 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

The FCC Moves to Accommodate Small Satellites

Satellites – even small ones – need radio spectrum. Without radios to communicate, a satellite is just a hunk of metal and plastic in the sky. The first man-made satellite, the Russian Sputnik in 1957, carried nothing but a radio transmitter. It sent a sequence of beeps that said: I am here. Early communications satellites … Continue Reading

Multi-Line Telephone Systems and Enterprise Communications Systems; Kari’s Law and Other 911-Related Developments

Earlier this year, the President signed into federal law the Kari’s Law Act of 2017, a measure aimed at ensuring multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) users can directly access emergency personnel by dialing 911 without first dialing an access code. As you’ve probably observed, the passage of this new federal law was somewhat bittersweet, as the … Continue Reading

$40 Million FCC Settlement with T-Mobile for Rural Call Completion Issues Signal of Things to Come

Callers placing long distance calls to rural areas have, at times, experienced difficulties in having their calls go through. This occurs most often in rural areas where the costs incurred by long distance providers have generally been higher than in non-rural areas. In 2012, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling which determined that carriers that … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part IV: What’s Next – New FCC Rulemakings and Impact on Litigation

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases they serve a useful function, but they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order intended to broaden the number of calls subject … 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

FCC Issues Big Fines to Sprint and Mobilitie for Siting Violations

(But Doesn’t Offer Much Explanation as to Details or Guidance for Future Acceptable Action) On April 10, the FCC released Orders and associated Consent Decrees resolving investigations into alleged violations of the site registration and/or pre-construction environmental review procedures by Sprint and Mobilitie. In the past, the Commission has made it clear that it means … Continue Reading

Wrong Number!  D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part III: The Problem of Reassigned Phone Numbers

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part II: Revocation of Consumer Consent

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … 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

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part I: The Debate Over Defining ‘Autodialer’

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … 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

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
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