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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

One Small Step for Cell Sites: FCC Finds that Replacing Utility Poles is Unlikely to Affect Historical Properties

The Federal Communications Commission has taken a very tiny step toward eliminating unnecessary obstacles to the installation of communications facilities on existing structures without triggering historic review obligations. For the last year, the FCC has been reviewing the various regulatory obstacles that are hindering, delaying, and making more expensive the process of establishing new cell … 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

New Equipment Rules Take Effect

Changes to the equipment authorization rules the FCC adopted last July appeared in the Federal Register this morning and take effect today. Major changes include the option of putting required labeling on a device’s display screen, and combination of the former verification and Declaration of Conformity procedures into a new procedure called Supplier’s Declaration of … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines for November-January

Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions.  November 13, 2017 – EAS National Test – Participants’ ETRS Form Three Due – All EAS participants must submit Form Three, which reports the results of the the national EAS test held on … Continue Reading

Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report and Public Notice Rule Face Regulatory Weed-Whacker

At its October meeting, the FCC proposed to clear away further regulatory underbrush by eliminating, or drastically modifying, two rules. The first is the requirement that all TV stations engaged in digital broadcasting file annual reports concerning Ancillary/Supplementary services that might have been offered. Second is the requirement that licensees filing certain applications publish and/or … Continue Reading

FCC Reduces International Carrier Reporting Requirements

On Oct. 24, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order in which the agency reduced the reporting requirements (found under Section 43.62 of the FCC’s rules) for providers of U.S.-international telecommunications services. Specifically, the FCC eliminated the annual international Traffic and Revenue Reports and streamlined the Circuit Capacity Report filing requirements. The … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Proposed Order to Modify Media Ownership Rules

As expected, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday released his proposed Order modifying the FCC’s media ownership rules. Consistent with what he announced at an Oct. 25 House Energy and Commerce Committee FCC Oversight Hearing, the Order, if adopted, will allow nearly unrestricted television duopolies in almost every market, eliminate radio/TV cross-ownership restrictions, and abolish the Commission’s long-standing prohibition … Continue Reading

FCC Eliminates Broadcast Main Studio Rules, Related Staffing, and Program Origination Requirements; Controversial Order Passes Three-Two Along Party Lines

On Oct. 24, 2017, the FCC issued a Report and Order eliminating the Commission’s rule requiring each AM, FM, and television broadcast station to maintain a main studio located in or near its community of license (i.e. the Main Studio Rule). In the same Order, the FCC eliminated existing requirements that are associated with the … Continue Reading

EAS Report to SECCs Due Nov. 6

The FCC scored a legal victory in court this past week when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld its requirement that EAS participants report to their State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) their progress on developing multilingual EAS alerts (an SECC is a committee assigned to implement EAS in a specific state). EAS participants must … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Market-Based Changes to Toll Free Number Administration

On Sept. 28, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to permit the assignment of toll free numbers via alternative market-based approaches, including the auctioning of numbers. Furthermore, consistent with such a market-based approach, the Commission proposed the development of a secondary market allowing subscribers to reassign their … Continue Reading

Initial Reimbursement Allocations Announced for Repack Expenses

On Oct. 16, 2017, the Incentive Auction Task Force and the FCC’s Media Bureau jointly announced the initial allocation from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Relocation Fund) for the reimbursement of eligible full power and Class A television stations as well as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) (Eligible Entities) impacted by the Incentive Auction. The … Continue Reading

Now Available: Online Public Inspection Files Webinar

With the March 1, 2018 Online Public Inspection File deadline for mid-sized and smaller market (and non-commercial) radio stations approaching, Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Steve Lovelady recently presented a webinar to help industry professionals navigate through the online filing process. In collaboration with Colorado Broadcasters Association, Montero and Lovelady spoke on a … Continue Reading

Reminder: FREE Online Public Inspection Files Refresher Course Webinar

This is a reminder that tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 12th at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Steve Lovelady in partnership with Colorado Broadcasters Association, will present a FREE webinar entitled “Online Public Inspection Files: A Refresher Webinar.” You can register for the webinar, for FREE, via this link. While 2017 isn’t … Continue Reading

The FCC Seeks Comment on 911 Access in Enterprise Communications Systems

Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on a variety of issues related to 911 capabilities and Enterprise Communications Systems (ECS). While you may not be familiar with the term “Enterprise Communications Systems,” you are certainly familiar with the concept. As the FCC’s NOI explains, ECS are telecommunications systems that … Continue Reading

CPB Compliance: Basic Preparedness and Recent OIG Audit Activity Webinar

Compliance has never been more important for public broadcasters. CPB regularly issues forfeitures of up to $15,000 to public broadcasting stations when the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) finds non-compliance with the provisions of the Communications Act, the terms of the CSG General Provisions, or errant NFFS reporting. Compliance, though, is more than just checking … Continue Reading

Fall FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines

Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions.  September 26, 2017 – Annual Regulatory Fees – These will be due and payable for Fiscal Year 2017, and will be based upon a licensee’s/permittee’s holdings on October 1, 2016, plus anything that might … Continue Reading

Online Public File to Bring New Scrutiny to Issues/Programs Lists

Believe it or not, the date by which all radio stations must have their complete public files online is now less than six months away. Television stations have been dealing with this reality for several years now, as have large stations in large markets for the past couple of years. Now, every radio station, both … Continue Reading

Busy Times Lie Ahead in Telecom as Pai Lays Out Modernization Plans

As we wrote about last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is planning to make some major overhauls at the FCC. Eight months into his term, Pai is preparing to “modernize [the FCC’s] rules to match the realities of today’s marketplace.” At this year’s National Broadcast Association’s Radio Show, Pai announced he would present to his … Continue Reading

FCC Activates DIRS for Second Time in Two Weeks as Irma Approaches

Just a week after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, has already hit parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This is a major storm, with wind gusts measured at 155 mph in Barbuda. This weekend Irma is set to make its way into Florida … Continue Reading
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