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FCC Announces Extension of the Biennial Broadcast Ownership Report Filing Deadline

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced in an order published on September 17. 2019 that it will delay the filing deadline to January 31, 2020, for broadcast ownership reports (two months later than the original deadline). This applies to licensees of commercial and noncommercial AM, FM, TV, Class A, and Low Power Television (LPTV) … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – September

Capitol Hill House Democrats’ “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act) –containing $40 billion dedicated for broadband, largely through reverse auctions – remains pending.  While prospects for significant federal spending on a new broadband program remain in limbo, Congress has allocated further funding to the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) ReConnect funding … Continue Reading

Now Available: Political Broadcasting 2019: A Refresher Course Webinar

With Federal, state, and local elections on the horizon (to say nothing of FCC license renewals), it’s a good time to brush up on the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. This webinar, presented in collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, and led by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys Dan Kirkpatrick and Frank Montero, and featuring special … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Annual Regulatory Fee Order – Payments Due Sept. 24, 2019

As we begin the march into cooler weather, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released the final schedule of regulatory fees for 2019 and their due date.  Despite some initial confusion around the release of the deadline, the confirmed date is September 24, 2019 and the Fee Filer website is now active … Continue Reading

Revised Children’s TV Rules Effective in Part Soon – Current Paperwork Requirements Still in Place, Further Comments Requested

As we previously reported, many of the revised children’s TV rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) in July are to go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, and we now know what that effective date will be:  September 16, 2019.  That effective date will apply to … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for September – November

Broadcast Deadlines: September 16, 2019 Children’s TV Programming – Support for E/I Programs on Other Stations –  Comments are due in response to the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which seeks to further revise the children’s television programming rules and policies to establish standards that would give broadcasters greater flexibility to meet their obligation … Continue Reading

Finding Out Where You Are When You Call 911

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted new rules requiring manufacturers, importers, vendors, installers and managers of multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”) to configure those systems to provide automated location information (called “dispatchable location”) and a location-specific callback number when a caller makes an emergency call to 911, at least to the extent feasible using technology … Continue Reading

Robocall Roundup: New Robocall Act Goes to the Senate

Amidst the polarization in Washington, there remains one thing nearly everyone agrees on; no one likes robocalls. Last month, the House passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) to take several steps to curb robocallers and adopts stiffer penalties for robocallers (particularly robocallers who intentionally violate the … Continue Reading

Children’s TV Reforms – Paperwork Reduction One Step Closer

The Federal Communication Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released the much-discussed changes in its rules relating to children’s television programming on July 12, 2019 in a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, which include a reduction in the frequency of filing Children’s Television reports and the information required in those reports, … Continue Reading

REC ‘N’ Roll in the FM Band: LPFM Changes Proposed, NCE-FM Changes Requested

Yes, REC Networks (“RECNET”) is on a roll with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) when it comes to the FM radio broadcast band.  Describing itself as a “leading advocate for a citizen’s access to spectrum with a heavy focus on the LPFM and full-service non-commercial radio,” RECNET has succeeded in getting the FCC to propose … Continue Reading

Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for August 7

Unless it is delayed by a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) are on track to conduct a combined nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, August 7, at 2:20 p.m. EDT.  For most participants, this year’s test will be disseminated only using the broadcast … Continue Reading

Now Available: 2019 FCC License Renewal Webinar

On Tuesday, July 30th, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar on the FCC license renewal process to the Florida Association of Broadcasters. They covered many steps in the renewal process including the filing of the required FCC Forms for full power radio and translator stations using the new LMS … Continue Reading

Barreling Down the Road to 5G, FCC Votes to Relax EBS Spectrum Rules

On June 20, 2019, I blogged about the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) plan to vote on July 10 to relax the rules governing the Educational Broadband Service (“EBS”), including eliminating the requirement to devote part of the air time to educational purposes and opening up license eligibility to commercial entities. Sure enough, the FCC voted, … Continue Reading

FCC Makes Leased Access Rules More Cable Operator Friendly, Opens the Door to Eliminating Them

On June 7, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a Report and Order (“R&O”) revising the Commission’s rules under which independent programmers may lease cable TV channels to retransmit their programming (“Leased Access Rules”).   Leased Access has rarely been used, due to concerns by both cable operators and programmers, and the … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – June

Capitol Hill We continue to expect that House Democrats will pass their “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act) infrastructure proposal, however, any deal with President Trump on infrastructure remains on hold.  The House bill includes $45 billion in broadband funding – $30 billion in reverse auction funds to be administered by the … Continue Reading

Equal Employment Opportunity Mid-Term Report Form Elimination Now Official

Remember our article in February about the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) eliminating a requirement for certain broadcast television and radio stations to file a Broadcast Mid-Term Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Report (a/k/a Form 397)?  If you’re a regular CommLawBlog reader you might have noticed that fact in our monthly deadlines articles too. … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts New FM Translator Interference Complaint Procedures

On May 9, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Report and Order in which it adopted new procedures used to resolve interference complaints against FM translator stations.  We previously blogged about the proposed reforms to the complaint procedures in a May 21, 2018 article.  Sections 74.1203(a) and 74.1204(f) of the … Continue Reading

Restrictions to Be Lifted from Educational Broadband Service, as FCC Hunts for more Mid-Band Wireless Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a tentative Report and Order, scheduled for a vote on July 10, which, if adopted, will lift many restrictions from the Educational Broadband Service (EBS), including allowing educational institutions to sell their licenses to commercial entities and eliminating the requirement that 5% of system capacity be reserved for … Continue Reading

EAS National Test Scheduled Earlier than Usual

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) on August 7th, at 2:20 pm EDT.  If conditions such as a real emergency or other unforeseen circumstances occur on the day of the test, a backup … Continue Reading

FCC Revises Procedures for Submitting Financial Information Regarding Repack Reimbursement

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) on June 4 released in a Public Notice streamlined financial information instructions for full-power/Class A TV stations receiving repack reimbursement that have changed their banking information or have sold or acquired an eligible station and need to transfer the banking information to the new owner. Eligible entities … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – May

Broadband on Capitol Hill House Democrats have unveiled their $2 trillion dollar infrastructure package called the “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act).  A House hearing was held May 22 with testimony from, among others, former FCC Commissioner Clyburn.  The legislation includes $45 billion in broadband funding: $30 billion in reverse auction funds to … Continue Reading
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