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FCC Eliminates EEO Mid-Term Report for Broadcasters

On February 14, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC,” or the “Commission”) released a Report and Order in which it eliminated the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Report (Form 397).  As we reported back in January, the FCC found that the Form 397 reporting … Continue Reading

Now in Effect: FCC Eliminates Requirement to Post Licenses

As we reported back in December, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Report and Order that would eliminate the need to post and maintain broadcast licenses at a physical location. The Commission’s stated goal is to modernize U.S. “media rules and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens that impede competition and innovation in the media marketplace.” … Continue Reading

A Word of Caution to Broadcasters Pertaining to E-Cigarette and Vaping Advertisements

Last month I participated in a webinar with my colleague Dan Kirkpatrick where we addressed the issue of advertising controversial products. While the topic of marijuana advertising (which we discussed in our webinar) gets much attention these days–especially with the recent decision by CBS to turn down a cannabis ad for the Super Bowl–we also … Continue Reading

FCC Further Extends Certain Deadlines

As we reported, immediately after reopening from the Federal government shutdown, the FCC extended most filing deadlines that would have fallen during the shutdown to January 30, 2019.  Upon review, the FCC has now further extended many of those deadlines. In a Public Notice released on January 30, the Commission’s Bureaus and Offices collectively retained the … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Filing Deadlines

As we reported early in the government shutdown, the FCC proactively extended most filing deadlines until one business day after the first day the FCC was re-opened post-shutdown. Now that the government (including the FCC) has reopened, the Commission has further extended that deadline by one additional day. As a result, most filings that would have been … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for February-April

You’ll find below the list of deadlines* facing broadcasters and telecommunications providers during the upcoming months of February, March, and April. If you noted the asterisk, it’s because the government shutdown may affect many of these deadlines, either because the relevant online filing system or the required information is not accessible. If that is the … Continue Reading

FCC Shutdown Becomes a Little Less Shut Down

One downside of a government shutdown—or the present partial shutdown that includes the FCC—is the inability of technology companies to obtain the FCC certifications they need to market certain kinds of new products. Good news: the FCC has reopened a website that makes it possible for most (not all) new devices to obtain their certifications.… Continue Reading

Now Available: Controversial Advertising and Sponsorship Identification Webinar

In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar covering guidelines for broadcasters on how to handle controversial advertising and proper sponsorship identification. Frank and Dan discussed many aspects of Federal and state regulation pertaining to advertising on potentially problematic subjects, including marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and … Continue Reading

Possible Ramifications for TCPA After FCC Reclassification of Text Messages

On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) three Republican Commissioners were in a self-congratulatory mood for standing with consumers against unwanted robotexts by classifying text messaging as a Title I service, but did the Commission’s classification decision really mark a major TCPA victory for consumers? Probably not. As Sekoia Rogers detailed on … Continue Reading

FCC Classifies Texting as an Information Service

On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that finds Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services” under the Communications Act and that these services are not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services”.  As a result, SMS/MMS won’t be subjected to the regulatory … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Elimination of EEO Mid-Term Report for Broadcasters

On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a proposed Report and Order which would eliminate the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term EEO Report (Form 397). The Commission released the proposed Report and Order for adoption at its public meeting scheduled for January … Continue Reading

Shutdown Uncertainty: What Broadcasters Should Do Now

Wondering how the federal government shutdown affects your broadcast station’s regulatory compliance obligations? Because some of the FCC’s online systems are up and running while others are not, it can be confusing as to what is still required of broadcasters. We have sorted through the confusion to help you understand what should still be prepared … Continue Reading

The FCC Sets the Wheels in Motion to Clear More Spectrum for 5G

At its December open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took a significant step toward facilitating the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless advanced services. For those still wondering what exactly 5G is, we have written about the highly touted mobile broadband technology several times, including here and here. The FCC has already cleared … Continue Reading

FCC Commences Review of Media Ownership Rules

On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) commencing the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules.  The FCC is required under Section 202(h) of the Communications Act to review most of its broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts TCPA Changes that Include (Very Limited) Safe Harbor

On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted an order that creates a reassigned number database to help callers avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) violations that can occur when telephone numbers get reassigned to new users. We covered some of the details in a previous CommLawBlog post when the FCC pre-released … Continue Reading

FCC Eliminates Posting of Broadcast Licenses

Two years into Ajit Pai’s chairmanship, a central theme at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) is deregulation. Sometimes framed in terms of “modernizing media rules,” the topic is at the forefront of just about every proceeding.  This was true for one of the most recent decisions at the Commission, as a Report and … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December/January/February

December (the most wonderful time of the year) often carries with it a sense of retrospection.  We start looking back on the year that was, compiling “Best of” lists, tying up loose ends, getting those last donations and expenses in under the wire. Of course, there’s also plenty of forward-looking at what the new year … Continue Reading

Legitimate Robocallers Rejoice: TCPA Compliance is About to Get (Slightly) Easier

Believe it or not, there are companies that make legitimate “robocalls,” and those companies strive to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you’ve received an appointment reminder from your doctor or dentist, a package delivery notification, or a school closure notification lately those messages were likely delivered to your phone using an … Continue Reading

Now Available: 2018 FCC EEO Rules Webinar

With FCC license renewals fast-approaching and public inspection files now all on line, it is time to seriously review and assess your FCC EEO compliance (….that is before the FCC does it for you!).  In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Dawn King, Anne Crump, … Continue Reading

FCC to Radio Licensees: We’re Watching You (or at Least Your Public Files)

With the whirl of the holiday season upon us, most broadcasters rightly thought they could put off looking ahead to the next license renewal cycle until 2019. Au contraire, says the FCC, which began sending out blast emails to certain radio licensees on December 6, warning that FCC internal audits have revealed that many stations’ … Continue Reading

Bipartisan TRACED Act Seeks to Reduce Robocalls

Before Thanksgiving, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation aimed at decreasing the number of unwanted robocalls. The TRACED Act would expand FCC authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), empower the FCC to mandate call authentication rules for voice service providers to cut down on caller ID spoofing, and create an interagency working … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for November/December

Let’s play some word association. If we say “Deadlines”, you might answer “Scary.”  Hence, the reason we’re publishing our November and December FCC deadlines post on Halloween.  Only, unlike the ghouls and goblins you may see on the streets tonight, these are real! Please note that the list is NOT exclusive, so there may be others. … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes LPTV and FM Repack Reimbursement Schedule

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on a “catalog” of categories and amounts it thinks are reasonable for reimbursement of expenses incurred by low power TV (“LPTV”) stations as a result of involuntary channel changes imposed by the post-incentive auction repacking of the TV spectrum. Congress initially appropriated funds to reimburse costs incurred … Continue Reading

C Band Receive Only Earth Stations Application Filing Window Extended

The FCC has extended the filing deadline for the C band receive only earth stations applications to October 31, 2018.  In a Public Notice, the FCC decided to extend the filing deadline (which was October 17, 2018) due to difficulties experienced with the International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) which prevented some applicants from filing for license … Continue Reading
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