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New LPFM Rules Adopted as Anticipated

On April 16, 2020, we wrote about new rules governing applications for and the operation of Low Power FM (“LPFM”) radio stations that were scheduled for adoption by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) at its monthly meeting on April 23.  The new rules were indeed adopted, although by written vote of the Commissioners the day … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for May – July

Broadcast Deadlines:  May 4, 2020 FM Boosters and Hyper-local Broadcasting – Comments are due with regard to a petition for rulemaking by GeoBroadcast Solutions LLC asking the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) to permit radio broadcasters to use single frequency network (SFN) technology to provide hyper-local programming, emergency alerting, and advertising.… Continue Reading

“Sweeps” Are Under the Rug: FCC Seeks Comment on New Metrics to Establish Significant Viewership

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on it’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on whether it should update its rules that determine whether a television broadcast station is “significantly viewed” in communities outside of its Designated Market area (“DMA”) for purposes of carriage on Multichannel Video Program Distribution (“MVPD”) systems, both cable and … Continue Reading

Low Power FM Rule Changes Slated for April 23 FCC Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a draft of a Report and Order  scheduled for a vote on April 23, looking toward making several changes in the rules governing Low Power FM (“LPFM”) radio stations.  We wrote an article last year when the rules were proposed.  Not all the requests for rule changes will … Continue Reading

Corrected Comment Deadlines for Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present range of … Continue Reading

Effective Date of Truth-in-Billing Statute Deferred

Last year, a new law, the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (“TVPA”), was enacted, requiring Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (“MVPDs”) and providers of fixed broadband services to disclose all charges that a consumer will have to pay before he or she signs up for service.  The statute requires compliance by June 20, 2020, but … Continue Reading

Is Hyper-Local FM Radio Coming?

A company called GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), to allow FM radio stations to operate on-channel boosters that do not entirely duplicate the content of the main station.  The idea is to allow each booster to insert local content intended for just the portion of … Continue Reading

TV Stations Granted Limited Waiver to Pre-Empt Children’s Programming to Air Local Events in Support of Social Distancing

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Media Bureau announced today that from now until April 30, 2020, full power and Class A TV stations may pre-empt children’s television programming to broadcast live or same-day, recorded community events to enable the public to view those events without attending in person, in furtherance of the “social distancing” advocated … Continue Reading

FCC Waives Sponsorship Identification for Sponsored COVID-19 PSA’s

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced a waiver of 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 emergency.… Continue Reading

You May Get Some More Robocalls, Thanks to COVID-19 – But Maybe Not So Much

On March 25, 2020, we blogged that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) had issued a Declaratory Ruling under the Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), that the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an “emergency” which invokes a statutory exception permitting certain kinds of robocalls to be made and texts sent without the consent of the recipient.  Since that date, … Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Comments on Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present … Continue Reading

Update: Comment Deadlines Available for Proposal to Drop Cable TV Public File Reports of Interest in Video Programming Services

On March 16, 2020, we wrote that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to eliminate the rule that requires cable television systems to post in their online public inspection file (“OPIF”) information about the nature and extent of their attributable interests in video program services and which of those services they own are carried on … Continue Reading

DTS: More or Less, What’s Your Guess?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking toward relaxing restrictions on Distributed Antenna Systems (“DTS”) for full-power television stations and making DTS newly available to Class A and Lower Power Television (“LPTV”) stations.… Continue Reading

You May Get Some More Robocalls, Thanks to COVID-19

I hate them, you hate them, we all hate robocalls with a passion (commonly used four-letter descriptions omitted here). But the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) had good reason last week to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an “emergency” which invokes a statutory exception permitting … Continue Reading

FM Auction 106 Postponed Indefinitely

As we have seen over the past two weeks, COVID-19 has taken up the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) time and attention, with other duties and proceedings getting pushed back. That list of impacted proceedings will now include FM Auction 106, which has been postponed indefinitely via a Public Notice released today.… Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for April – June

Broadcast Deadlines:  April 1, 2020 Radio and Television License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Michigan and Ohio, as well as TV stations licensed in Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements concerning their applications for a license renewal. These announcements must be continued on April … Continue Reading

Coronavirus News to Share? FCC Won’t Ensnare

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has issued a Public Notice assuring radio and TV stations that they may share news content and news-gathering resources on an emergency or ad hoc basis during the coronavirus crisis without reducing their arrangements to writing or putting them in their online public inspection file (“OPIF”) as “shared service” agreements … Continue Reading

A Statement on COVID-19 from Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC

As COVID-19 continues to challenge our nation, we at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth PLC are taking action to ensure the health and safety of our team and their loved ones. Starting tomorrow, March 18, 2020, all staff will transition to telework. FHH attorneys and staff are reachable via email and their office telephone numbers and … Continue Reading

FCC Invites Comment on Extending Deadline for Total Price Disclosure for MVPD Services

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments as to whether it should grant a six-month extension of time for Multichannel Video Program Distributors (“MVPDs”) to comply with the “Right to Transparency” provisions of the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (“TVPA”). This proceeding will be a quick one, with Comments due April 6, and … Continue Reading

TV Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Elections Must Be Made This Year: Election Notification System Will Now Be All Electronic

In Report and Orders released in July of 2019 and February of 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has converted the system for television broadcast stations to notify multichannel video program distributors (“MVPDs”), of their election of must-carry or retransmission status from paper sent by certified mail to electronic notices posted on the FCC’s website, … Continue Reading

Prepare Your Station to Notify the FCC of a Rebroadcast or Prepare to Be Fined

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) ordered an FM translator owner to pay a fine of $2,000 for rebroadcasting a primary station without notifying the FCC. According to the forfeiture order released March 2, 2020, Carolina Radio Group Inc. – licensee of FM Translator station W225DF in Raleigh, North Carolina – rebroadcast station … Continue Reading
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