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FCC Examining Applications for COVID-19 Telehealth and Connected Care Programs

Over the last month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has taken a flurry of COVID-19 pandemic-related actions aimed at increasing access to telehealth and making it easier for carriers to voluntarily assist K‑12 schools, libraries, and health care providers as they respond to COVID-19.  Most dramatically, the Commission voted on April 2, … Continue Reading

Free Press vs. Broadcast Journalism: Truth in the Time of the Coronavirus

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) recent rejection (FCC statement here) of a petition submitted by Free Press to demand FCC action with regard to broadcasters’ coverage of governmental statements about the COVID-19 epidemic has received a great deal of coverage. What may have escaped attention, however, is that, aside from some sharp … Continue Reading

“Sweeps” Are Under the Rug: FCC Seeks Comment on New Metrics to Establish Significant Viewership

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on it’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on whether it should update its rules that determine whether a television broadcast station is “significantly viewed” in communities outside of its Designated Market area (“DMA”) for purposes of carriage on Multichannel Video Program Distribution (“MVPD”) systems, both cable and … Continue Reading

Low Power FM Rule Changes Slated for April 23 FCC Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a draft of a Report and Order  scheduled for a vote on April 23, looking toward making several changes in the rules governing Low Power FM (“LPFM”) radio stations.  We wrote an article last year when the rules were proposed.  Not all the requests for rule changes will … Continue Reading

Corrected Comment Deadlines for Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present range of … Continue Reading

Effective Date of Truth-in-Billing Statute Deferred

Last year, a new law, the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (“TVPA”), was enacted, requiring Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (“MVPDs”) and providers of fixed broadband services to disclose all charges that a consumer will have to pay before he or she signs up for service.  The statute requires compliance by June 20, 2020, but … Continue Reading

FCC Continues Fines for Improper Use of EAS Signals

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) remains consistent in its enforcement of fines for the improper use of Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) tones.  On April 7, 2020, the Commission released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (the “Notice”) proposing to levy a $20,000 fine against Entercom License, LLC (Entercom) station WNEW-FM for … Continue Reading

Is Hyper-Local FM Radio Coming?

A company called GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), to allow FM radio stations to operate on-channel boosters that do not entirely duplicate the content of the main station.  The idea is to allow each booster to insert local content intended for just the portion of … Continue Reading

TV Stations Granted Limited Waiver to Pre-Empt Children’s Programming to Air Local Events in Support of Social Distancing

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Media Bureau announced today that from now until April 30, 2020, full power and Class A TV stations may pre-empt children’s television programming to broadcast live or same-day, recorded community events to enable the public to view those events without attending in person, in furtherance of the “social distancing” advocated … Continue Reading

FCC Waives Sponsorship Identification for Sponsored COVID-19 PSA’s

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced a waiver of broadcast sponsorship identification requirements concerning air time donated by commercial advertisers for public service announcements (“PSAs”) provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and other government agencies addressing the COVID-19 emergency.… Continue Reading

STIR/SHAKEN – Dial Another Day

With the new James Bond film delayed until the end of the year, the FCC has something to tide everyone over: STIR/SHAKEN – the SIP-based caller ID authentication process. Last year, Congress passed the Traced Act, which required the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to require caller ID authentication within 18 months of the Traced Act’s … Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Comments on Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present … Continue Reading

Update: Comment Deadlines Available for Proposal to Drop Cable TV Public File Reports of Interest in Video Programming Services

On March 16, 2020, we wrote that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to eliminate the rule that requires cable television systems to post in their online public inspection file (“OPIF”) information about the nature and extent of their attributable interests in video program services and which of those services they own are carried on … Continue Reading

DTS: More or Less, What’s Your Guess?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking toward relaxing restrictions on Distributed Antenna Systems (“DTS”) for full-power television stations and making DTS newly available to Class A and Lower Power Television (“LPTV”) stations.… Continue Reading

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
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