The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) on August 7th, at 2:20 pm EDT. If conditions such as a real emergency or other unforeseen circumstances occur on the day of the test, a backup date is scheduled for August 21st. All EAS participants must complete their 2019 Form One on or before July 3rd. Continue Reading
Remember our April 4, 2019 “CALLING ALL OLDIES STATIONS!” post that alerted you to a simple form you could file to receive certain protections from potentially crippling infringement awards for unauthorized uses of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (aka “pre-72 recordings”)? That post created quite a stir. In fact, we were flooded with questions from webcasters around the country about whether and how to sign up. Continue Reading
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) on June 4 released in a Public Notice streamlined financial information instructions for full-power/Class A TV stations receiving repack reimbursement that have changed their banking information or have sold or acquired an eligible station and need to transfer the banking information to the new owner.
Eligible entities with a change of non-banking information – including name, mailing address, and contacts listed as authorized agents – will no longer need to file a new Form 1876, but can instead email their changes to a designated FCC email address (provided the email is sent from the account of a contact or authorized agent listed on their current Form 1876). Another difference from the prior procedure is, for those who are changing their banking information, the FCC will now only accept Form 1876 submissions filed in the Commission Registration System (CORES) Incentive Auction Financial Module (CIAFM). Otherwise, repack reimbursement-eligible entities should continue to follow the instructions from the FCC’s Banking Procedures Public Notice published in 2017.
As always, contact us with any questions on the revised procedures.
Broadband on Capitol Hill
House Democrats have unveiled their $2 trillion dollar infrastructure package called the “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act). A House hearing was held May 22 with testimony from, among others, former FCC Commissioner Clyburn. The legislation includes $45 billion in broadband funding: $30 billion in reverse auction funds to be administered by the FCC, $10 billion in reverse auction funds to be administered by the states, and $5 billion in federal loans and loan guarantees to be administered by NTIA. Although President Trump has expressed general support for the package, political volatility between House Democrats and the President makes passage this year very uncertain.
June 1, 2019:
License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in North Carolina and South Carolina must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on June 16, July 1, and July 16. Continue Reading
By a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted on May 9, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) sought comment on whether it should open the 1675-1680 MHz band for non-federal government mobile use. This marks the very plodding next step in a process that began back in 2012 when Ligado (then still known as Light Squared) petitioned the FCC to reallocate this channel. Ligado leases the adjacent 1670-1675 MHz from Crown Castle on a long term basis. It makes no bones about its intent to pair this 5 MHz with its existing 5 MHz holding to create a more useful broadband channel group. Continue Reading
We are very proud to congratulate our own Peter Tannenwald on being recognized by American University Radio in Washington, DC. for his many years of work with radio station WAMU, the local NPR affiliate found on 88.5 FM. Peter was presented with a ceremonial (but functioning) microphone at the WAMU Community Council meeting on May 8 and was feted with some very kind words from station leadership.
Broadband on Capitol Hill
Although optimism for a broadband infrastructure spending bill this year is fading, it is still a possibility. Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D‑CA) plan met with President Trump today to discuss infrastructure legislation. Schumer recently said that an overall infrastructure plan (including broadband and traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges) would need to be “at least $1 trillion.” Pelosi has said she would like to see funding “closer to $2 trillion.” Reports from the meeting are that President Trump agreed to seek a deal on the $2 trillion dollar figure. While this was suprising, how to fund such a package continues to be a sticking point. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (who was not at today’s meeting), reportedly again rejected an increase in the gas tax and reversal of last year’s tax cuts as a potential source of funding.
April 29, 2019:
Quadrennial Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules – Comments are due with regard to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MB Docket 18-349, FCC-18-179A1) which initiated the required 2018 Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership rules.
Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero, Steve Lovelady, and Dan Kirkpatrick recently presented a webinar about Online Public Inspection Files (OPIFs). The webinar, in collaboration with the broadcast associations of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee in addition to the Public Radio Regional Organizations, covered a variety of topics, including how to set up an OPIF, what documents and materials need to be uploaded, and the consequences of non-compliance at FCC license renewal time. If you watched our 2017 OPIF webinar, this latest webinar will provide updates since then.
If you didn’t catch the webinar live or just want to go over the presentation in more detail, you can download and print the presentation’s PowerPoint slides here. You may also watch the full video recording of the webinar on YouTube. Of course, if you have any more questions about OPIFs or the license renewal process, please contact us.