Picking NCE and LPFM Winners Simplified: NCE and LPFM Station Transfer Rules Relaxed

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has changed in its rules for selecting winners from groups of mutually exclusive (“MX”) noncommercial educational full-power radio (“NCE”) and Low Power FM (“LPFM”) applicants and has made it easier for MX applicants to negotiate voluntary time-sharing agreements. In the FCC’s Report and Order, it has also shortened the minimum holding period for LPFM licenses and has clarified what requirements must be met by parties seeking to assign the licenses of NCE and LPFM stations. Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be: The Fate of Analog LPTV Channel 6 – Comment Deadlines Announced

On December 4, 2019, we wrote that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers.

A notice in the Federal Register has announced that the deadline for initial Comments will be January 22, 2020, and the deadline for Reply Comments will be February 6, 2020. All filings should be made online through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (“ECFS”), in MB Docket No. 03-185.

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If you want to make the words “Electronic Comment Filing System” into a link to ECFS, the URL is:

https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings

Non-Fixed FCC Telecom Deadlines for 2020

With the start of a new year upon us, it’s worth giving some thought to what needs to be accomplished in the coming year. Each month, we write about upcoming deadlines for broadcasters and telecommunications providers regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but in addition to the fixed regulatory filing deadlines discussed in these posts, telecommunications providers have other routine compliance obligations for which there are no fixed deadlines. Missing these deadlines can prove just as costly, or in some cases more costly, than missing fixed regulatory filing deadlines. Continue Reading

Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition Honors Julius Knapp

The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC) has adopted a resolution commending Julius Knapp of the FCC on his long and distinguished career. Mr. Knapp announced his retirement recently after over 40 years in government service, most recently as the FCC’s Chief Engineer and head of its Office of Engineering and Technology. Mr. Knapp established a strong record of letting science be the FCC’s guide in resolving sometimes contentious debates, including those about the benefits of proposed spectrum usages vs. the adverse effects on other spectrum users. He and his staff have been reliable sources of expert engineering input for generations of Commissioners who may not themselves be technically trained. He could always be counted on to carefully consider and evaluate competing claims and render a sound judgment, while also never losing sight of the importance of advancing the potential of new technologies, improving public safety, and making communications more efficient and reliable.

“Julie has been the very model of a dedicated, unbiased, and knowledgeable civil servant,” said Fletcher Heald’s Mitchell Lazarus, longtime counsel for the FWCC. “We at FWCC have appreciated his long body of work and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Is it Time for All-Digital AM Radio?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on whether it should allow AM radio broadcast stations to abandon their analog signals in favor of an all-digital signal format. Preliminary tests have shown that all-digital signals provide improved audio quality and immunity from interference. While the FCC does not propose to require any AM station to convert to all-digital operation, it has asked whether it should allow digital conversion on a voluntary basis.

Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be – That is the Channel 6 Analog LPTV Question

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited a new round of comments on the fate of analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations that transmit on Channel 6 and target their audio channel to FM radio receivers.

Nearly all of the television broadcast industry has already converted to digital operation. There are no more analog full power or Class A television stations, but a few analog Low Power Television (“LPTV”) stations remain on the air. They face a deadline imposed by the FCC –as specified in this Public Notice from April 2017– of July 13, 2021, to convert to digital or to shut down. Continue Reading

Displacement Application Window for Pending Rural LPTV Applicants Opens Today

If you filed any applications for new Low Power Television (LPTV) stations during the 2009 application window, your applications have not yet been granted, and channels you requested have been displaced by a full power or Class A TV station as a result of the spectrum repack, you now have an opportunity to request new channels. Starting today and ending January 31, 2020, you may amend your applications to change channels. Continue Reading

In an Emergency: Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?

About 80% of the 240 million phone calls received by 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) come from wireless callers. The goal of regulators is that technology automatically identify the location of callers even if callers don’t know where they are or are unable to speak the information because of injury or constraint by an attacker. The idea is to convey a “dispatchable location,” enabling first responders to figure out “which door to kick in” when they arrive on the scene of an emergency. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has now adopted rules to help locate callers in terms of not only the street address but also the vertical location within a multi-story building. Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December – February

 

Broadcast Deadlines:

December 1, 2019

License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on December 16, January 1, and January 16. Continue Reading

What to Do If Your EAS IPAWS Tests Aren’t Working

Your Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment may have stopped passing through tests received via the equipment’s Internet connection to the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) because one of the trust root certificates used to validate digital signatures associated with alerts expired a little over a week ago. If your EAS equipment is rejecting IPAWS alerts, here is what to do about it. Continue Reading

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