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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

FCC Proposes to End Radio Station Program Duplication Restrictions

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to repeal Section 73.3556 of its Rules, which prohibits two commercial AM or two commercial FM radio stations from devoting more than 25% of the hours in an average broadcast week to duplicating programming if they are commonly controlled (through either common ownership or time brokerage) and the … Continue Reading

Picking NCE and LPFM Winners Simplified: NCE and LPFM Station Transfer Rules Relaxed

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has changed in its rules for selecting winners from groups of mutually exclusive (“MX”) noncommercial educational full-power radio (“NCE”) and Low Power FM (“LPFM”) applicants and has made it easier for MX applicants to negotiate voluntary time-sharing agreements. In the FCC’s Report and Order, it has also shortened the minimum … Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be: The Fate of Analog LPTV Channel 6 – Comment Deadlines Announced

On December 4, 2019, we wrote that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers. A notice in the Federal Register has announced that the deadline for … Continue Reading

Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition Honors Julius Knapp

The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC) has adopted a resolution commending Julius Knapp of the FCC on his long and distinguished career. Mr. Knapp announced his retirement recently after over 40 years in government service, most recently as the FCC’s Chief Engineer and head of its Office of Engineering and Technology. Mr. Knapp established a … Continue Reading

Is it Time for All-Digital AM Radio?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on whether it should allow AM radio broadcast stations to abandon their analog signals in favor of an all-digital signal format. Preliminary tests have shown that all-digital signals provide improved audio quality and immunity from interference. While the FCC does not propose to require any AM station … Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be – That is the Channel 6 Analog LPTV Question

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers. Nearly all of the television broadcast industry has already converted to digital operation. There are no more analog full … Continue Reading

In an Emergency: Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?

About 80% of the 240 million phone calls received by 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) come from wireless callers. The goal of regulators is that technology automatically identify the location of callers even if callers don’t know where they are or are unable to speak the information because of injury or constraint by an … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December – February

  Broadcast Deadlines: December 1, 2019 License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on December 16, January 1, and January 16.… Continue Reading

What to Do If Your EAS IPAWS Tests Aren’t Working

Your Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment may have stopped passing through tests received via the equipment’s Internet connection to the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) because one of the trust root certificates used to validate digital signatures associated with alerts expired a little over a week ago. If your EAS equipment is rejecting … Continue Reading

Selected New Developments in Broadband – November

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead. Attention is on smaller pieces of bi-partisan legislation addressing unwanted robocalls, narrowly targeted funding for “digital dead zones,” and mapping. Targeted infrastructure funding is partly addressed by a Senate appropriations bill that devotes … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for November – January

Broadcast Deadlines: October 30, 2019 Closed Captioning – Reply Comments due in response to the FCC’s Public Notice (CG Docket 05-231, DA-19-776A1) requesting comments on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling and/or Rulemaking on Live Closed Captioning Quality Metrics and the Use of Automatic Speech Recognition Technologies by Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, … Continue Reading

FCC Invites Comments on Request for Greater Flexibility for TV DTS Transmitters

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on a petition filed jointly by America’s Public Television Stations (“APTS”) and the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”), requesting a relaxation of restrictions on where digital television stations may locate Distributed Transmission System (“DTS”) antennas. Digital television technology allows a station to broadcast from multiple transmitters on … Continue Reading

COME AND GET IT! 130 FM Channels for Sale by the FCC (But You’ll Have to Pony Up a High Bid to Get One)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced that on April 28, 2020, it will offer for sale at auction 130 FM channels that are currently vacant.  These are channels formerly occupied by stations that lost or cancelled their licenses, channels sold to bidders who failed to pay their bids, channels that were offered but drew … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Extension of Filing Deadline for LPTV/TV Translator Reimbursement

As we wrote about in August on CommLawBlog, Low Power TV (LPTV), TV Translator Stations, and FM stations intending to request reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of the repack of full-power and Class A television stations were required to file their Initial Reimbursement Form (Form 2100, Schedule 399) by October 15, 2019. Now … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – October

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead.  Attention now is on smaller but important pieces of bi-partisan broadband legislation such as the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on September 24.  The bill would prohibit … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for October – December

Broadcast Deadlines: October 1, 2019 License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands must be filed in the Commission’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).  These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Report, also … Continue Reading
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