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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

You May Get Some More Robocalls, Thanks to COVID-19

I hate them, you hate them, we all hate robocalls with a passion (commonly used four-letter descriptions omitted here). But the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) had good reason last week to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an “emergency” which invokes a statutory exception permitting … 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

FCC Takes Initial Steps to Expand Broadband Capabilities to Combat COVID-19

In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has secured pledges from a growing list of major and minor broadband players to loosen billing rules and provide free access to existing public Wi-Fi hotspots. Some carriers are also waiving data caps. With increased reliance on telework as offices send workers home, online … 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

Prepare Your Station to Notify the FCC of a Rebroadcast or Prepare to Be Fined

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) ordered an FM translator owner to pay a fine of $2,000 for rebroadcasting a primary station without notifying the FCC. According to the forfeiture order released March 2, 2020, Carolina Radio Group Inc. – licensee of FM Translator station W225DF in Raleigh, North Carolina – rebroadcast station … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for March – May

Broadcast Deadlines: March 9, 2020 All-Digital AM Broadcasting – Comments are due in response to the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking input on a proposal to allow AM broadcasters to broadcast an all-digital signal using the HD Radio in-band on-channel (IBOC) mode known as MA3.… 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

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

Dates Announced for Rules Mandating Vertical Location Information in 911 Calls

On November 26, 2019, we wrote about rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to help locate callers in terms of not only the street address but also a caller’s vertical location within a multi-story building, asking “Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?” The new rules were published in the Federal Register on … Continue Reading

Comment Deadline Announced for “988” Suicide Hotline Proposal

On January 7, 2020, we wrote about a proposal by the FCC to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has now been published in the Federal Register, establishing the deadlines for comments and replies.  Initial Comments … Continue Reading

Monitor Your Tower Lighting or be Prepared to Pay Up – Scripps Settles with FCC to the Tune of $1.13 Million

In an order released this week, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that Scripps Broadcasting Holdings had agreed to a $1.13 Million settlement with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau to resolve violations of tower lighting monitoring rules. What makes this case especially interesting is that the party who is paying the fine and instituting a years-long … Continue Reading

Radiofrequency Exposure Limits Revised: FCC Proposes Expanding Rules to Cover Higher Frequencies

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has resolved many of the issues that it has been considering since 2013 with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. An important aspect of the decision is that existing exposure limits will not be tightened. However, the environmental rules dealing with RF exposure have … Continue Reading

FCC Wants You to Dial 988 Before It’s Too Late: Abbreviated 3-Digit Access to Suicide Help Line Proposed

The Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline. An 800 number (1-800-273-TALK) already universally connects to suicide counselors, but people facing a suicide crisis might not remember such a long number. The same hotline will … Continue Reading
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