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FCC Repeals Radio Duplication Prohibitions

On Thursday, August 6, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to repeal Section 73.3556 of its Rules and Regulations – a rule that formerly prohibited more than 25% duplication of programming by commonly owned radio stations in the same service (AM or FM) that have 50% or more overlap of their primary service contours.… Continue Reading

FCC Establishes Procedures for Auction of C-Band Spectrum – Auction to Begin on December 8, 2020

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a Public Notice that establishes the procedures for Auction 107, which will make available spectrum in the lower portion of the C-Band, at 3.7-3.98 GHz.   The auction will be for new flexible-use overlay licenses, intended primarily to further the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless, the Internet … Continue Reading

O’Rielly Re-nomination Dismissed

In a rare move this week, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly – a Republican – had his re-nomination to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rescinded by President Trump. O’Rielly’s re-nomination first stalled last week when Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, put it on hold over objections to an FCC decision allowing … Continue Reading

Now Available: 2020 Politcal Broadcasting Rules Refresher

On July 30, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorneys, Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick, along with the FCC’s political programming experts, Bobby Baker, Gary Schonman, and Sima Nilsson, discussed the requirements and latest developments in the FCC’s political broadcasting rules, including equal time, lowest unit rates, PAC ads, BCRA, and record keeping.… Continue Reading

Mobile Service Providers Will Need to Provide Z-Axis Location Data

In an Order adopted July 17th, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) took another step in its mission to make the precise location of wireless emergency calls more and more granular, to help emergency responders to determine the location of a caller who is injured or held captive and unable to communicate his or her … Continue Reading

127,000 More Reasons to File Proper FCC Applications When Your Company Goes Through Bankruptcy

Recently, we published an article regarding a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Consent Decree where a company agreed to pay a $240,000 penalty for violating the FCC’s rules by engaging in transactions where FCC wireless licenses were transferred without filing for and obtaining the prior consent of the FCC.… Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for August – October

Broadcast Deadlines:  August 1, 2020 Radio Post-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications on August 1. If the renewal application is not filed until the August 3 deadline, wait until then to begin the post-filing announcements. Either way, these announcements … Continue Reading

Safe Harbor Order Could Help Carriers Kick Robocalls to the Curb

On July 17, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) released its latest Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Order”) attempting to stop unwanted and illegal robocalls. The Order creates a “safe harbor” (i.e., legal protection from liability) to protect carriers that block calls based on reasonable analytics or other permissible criteria. … Continue Reading

Getting to the Bottom of the Recent Rural Health Care Funding Announcement

Last month the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) ordered the carry-forward of $198 million in Rural Health Care (RHC) funding for use in 2020.  Seems like good news, but it depends on how you look at it.  But note this action simply makes the funding available — it does not waive or increase the RHC caps for 2020. … Continue Reading

FCC Revises Cable TV Leased Access Rate Formula and Appears to Invite a First Amendment Challenge

In an Order released today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) revised the calculation of maximum permissible rates for cable TV commercial leased access by changing from a formula that sets a uniform rate for all cable tiers to a formula that will set a separate rate for each tier. The result may … Continue Reading

The FCC Designates “988” as a 3-Digit Dialing Code to Reach Suicide Hotline

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted its proposal to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline. “988” will replace or supplement the existing 800 number (1-800-273-TALK). The proposal was discussed in our blog post on January 7, 2020.… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes $15,000 Penalty for LPFM Violations of Underwriting Rules

On July 2, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) against low power FM (LPFM) broadcast station KELS-LP, Greeley, Colorado, in which it assessed a $15,000 civil penalty for the station’s apparent violations of the prohibition on noncommercial educational (NCE) and LPFM broadcast stations … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Confirmation of C-Band Earth Stations Entitled to Reimbursement. Deadline for Filing is July 16th.

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has just released a Public Notice that impacts operators of C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) earth station dishes to receive or transmit programming or data. Previously, the FCC reallocated the lower portion of that band for auction, with incumbents earth stations entitled to reimbursement for their expenses to move their operations to … Continue Reading

240,000 Reasons to File Proper FCC Applications When You Buy a Business That Holds Wireless Licenses

The FCC recently released a Consent Decree in which the Archer Daniel Midlands Company (“ADM”) agreed to pay a $240,000 penalty for violating the FCC’s rules by engaging in transactions where five FCC wireless licenses were transferred without filing for and obtaining the prior consent of the FCC, and by failing to reveal in numerous … Continue Reading

TV Stations and MVPDs Must Upload Contact Information by July 31st

As we head into Summer, it’s important for TV broadcasters to remember the upcoming deadlines this Fall associated with notifying multichannel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) – primarily cable TV and direct broadcast satellite operators – of the station’s election of either must-carry or retransmission consent carriage status on the MVPD systems.   Two critical deadlines are … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for July – September

Broadcast Deadlines:  July 10, 2020 Children’s Television Programming Reports – For the first time, and after two delays, all commercial television and Class A television stations must file electronically annual children’s television programming reports with the Commission, although the first one will cover only the portion of the year which began with the effective date … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Sponsorship ID Waiver for Sponsored COVID-19 PSAs

The Media Bureau today extended the waiver it enacted in April to alleviate 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 pandemic. Pursuant to this extension, commercial time donated for … Continue Reading

FCC Pressed to Expand Local Origination on FM Translators and Boosters

A group of 24 radio broadcast licensees has petitioned the FCC to expand the concept of localized program content beyond FM boosters and to allow localized origination by FM translators as well. On April 24, 2012, and April 13, 2020, we blogged about a proposal by GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, (“GeoBroadcast”) to allow FM radio stations … Continue Reading

Selected New Developments in Broadband – through June 16

Selected New Developments in Broadband – through June 16 Capitol Hill The Trump Administration has again voiced support for a $2 trillion stimulus and infrastructure package (that would presumably have a broadband component), but Senate Republicans are not there yet. In May, the House passed the Democrats’ multi-trillion dollar Heroes Act on a party-line vote. … Continue Reading

Update: June 15 Comment Deadline for C-Band Satellite Rebanding Expenses

On June 9, we posted a discussion of the FCC’s invitation to comment on cost reimbursements for C-Band satellite rebanding expenses.  We noted a short comment deadline, with Comments due Tuesday, June 16. Today, the FCC published a correction in the Federal Register, moving the Comment deadline back to Monday, June 15.  We are not sure that … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Ruling, Seeks Comments, to Facilitate Implementation of ATSC 3.0 “Broadcast Internet”

Three years ago, the FCC authorized deployment of a new IP-based broadcast TV standard, ATSC 3.0, with the hopes that TV broadcasters would implement innovative new data transmission services. That has not yet happened to any significant extent; so today the FCC voted to issue a Declaratory Ruling (“Ruling”) that it hopes will remove what … Continue Reading
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