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After 16 Years, FCC Lifts TV Filing Freeze

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Media Bureau announced via Public Notice the end of a filing freeze on certain full power and Class A TV station modifications that lasted more than 16 years and the leadership of seven FCC chairpersons. The freeze was part of the FCC’s effort to keep a stable technical database first … Continue Reading

Broadcast Local Public Notice Rule Changes Go Into Effect October 30

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Local Public Notice Rule Changes have been published in the Federal Register and will go into effect tomorrow, October 30. These changes – which we detailed at length in a previous post – eliminate the obligation to publish a public notice of certain broadcast applications in newspapers, requiring instead that … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for November – January

Broadcast Deadlines: November 16, 2020  Amending the Schedule of FCC Application Fees – Comments are due in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requesting comments on proposed changes to its application fee schedule, which the FCC considers to be significant and which include fee amounts, most of … Continue Reading

Fletcher Heald Partner Frank Montero Named “Radio’s Point Man in DC” by Radio Ink

Fletcher Heald partner Frank Montero was featured on the cover of this month’s Radio Ink magazine. The cover story interview describes Frank’s decades of experience in broadcasting, how the industry is handling the COVID-19 crisis, potential changes to FCC leadership, and legal issues broadcasters could face in the future. For more details, check out Radio … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Ten Application Limit for New NCE Stations in 2021 Filing Window

In correspondence with members of Congress, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Ajit Pai had signaled that an application filing window for new Noncommercial Educational (“NCE”) stations would be opening sometime fairly soon. In a Public Notice (“PN”) released October 19, the FCC confirmed that a filing window will be coming. The specific dates of the … Continue Reading

Now Available: Broadcasting During Times of Emergency

Yesterday, Fletcher Heald attorneys Frank Montero and Davina Sashkin with Pat Roberts of  the Florida Association of Broadcasters (“FAB”), and their special guests Lisa Fowlkes and Christina Clearwater of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Craig Fugate, former FEMA Administrator and founder of Fugate Consulting, presented a webinar in consultation with the … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts STIR/SHAKEN Rules to Combat Illegal Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission recently released a Report and Order (“Order”) to promote the use of the STIR/SHAKEN framework (which we wrote a useful primer on) in combatting caller ID spoofing. The FCC is giving carriers until June 30, 2021 to implement STIR/SHAKEN. However, if a carrier wants to receive exemption from the Caller ID … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court to Review FCC Media Ownership Rules

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the appeal issue of the Third Circuit’s reversal of the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”) relaxed media ownership rules.  The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia last year again rejected the FCC’s most recent efforts to relax the media ownership rules which sought to eliminate a ban … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for October – December

Broadcast Deadlines: October 1, 2020 Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Election Deadline – By October 1, all full power and Class A commercial TV stations must upload their must-carry/retransmission consent elections for the 2021-2023 election cycle to their online public inspection files.  Stations are now required to send copies of their elections to MVPDs and to the FCC … Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

Welcoming Kristen Corra to Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C.

Washington-area based telecommunications, media, and technology law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C. is pleased to announce the arrival of Kristen Corra, who has joined the firm as an Associate. Having represented a major wireless carrier and assisted with securing commercial leasing, licensing, and potential acquisition of telecommunications infrastructure, Kristen brings her prowess to the … 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

No National Test this Year for FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has announced that it will not conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (“IPAWS”) via the broadcast Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) and Wireless Emergency Alert (“WEA”) system this year. As we have written about in the past, EAS tests are sometimes postponed due to … Continue Reading
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