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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

Gaming Out the Supreme Court’s Media Ownership Review

As we reported last week, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) and the National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) of a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that overturned a 2017 decision by the FCC attempting to relax … Continue Reading

Final Deadlines Established for FCC Repack Reimbursement

Attention all repacked television broadcast stations (and eligible LPTV and FM stations): the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has established final deadlines for submission of all reimbursement expenses invoices and documentation. The Commission also reminds stations to finish up and close-out, or money might be left on the table.… 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 Releases Guidance on Filing Requests for Waiver, Reduction, Deferral, and Installment Payment Plans for 2020 Regulatory Fees – the Bar Is Still High but FCC Has Streamlined and Loosened Some Requirements

On September 4, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice laying out the procedures governing the filing of requests for waiver, reduction, deferral, and installment payment plans for the 2020 regulatory fees.  As we explained yesterday in our blog post regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Report and Order announcing … Continue Reading

FCC Announces 2020 Regulatory Fees Calculation, No Widespread Forgiveness for COVID-19 Pandemic

On August 31, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released its Report and Order (Order) establishing new methodologies for calculating 2020 annual regulatory fees, which are due September 25, 2020. In the Order, the FCC flatly rejected arguments by the National Association of Broadcasters and others that the FCC’s new calculation methodology … Continue Reading

FCC Moves to Add New Fees (and Lower the Cost of Others)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the first major overhaul of FCC application fees in 30 years. Licensees (and hopeful licensees) should take heed: while certain fees are proposed to be lowered, many are proposed to increase, some by a substantial amount. Of particular … 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

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

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

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
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