FCC Shuts Down Because of Government Funding Impasse – What Does It Mean for Broadcasters?

Broadcast Law Blog

Do you have a deal to buy a new station or a planned technical modification that needs FCC approval? Well, it looks like those plans may have to wait as the budget controversy in Washington has shut down the FCC. But what does the shut-down really mean for broadcasters? The FCC clarified some of the questions broadcasters have in a Public Notice released Wednesday. The FCC has a meeting scheduled for January 30 (assuming the FCC is open by then).

FCC Adopts Change in Rules Eliminating Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Certain Contracts

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday adopted an Order eliminating the requirement that broadcasters file with the Commission copies of certain contracts, agreements and other documents relating to ownership and control – instead relying on the obligations to either upload the documents to a station’s online public file, or to place a list of the documents in the public file (with information listing the parties involved, and the dates of execution and of expiration).

Trending Sources

FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts, Relying on Online Public File to Make Documents Available

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. Certain other clarifications about the disclosure of such documents were contained in the draft order, which is expected to be adopted at the FCC meeting on October 23.

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – The Shutdown Does Not Put Everything on Hold

Broadcast Law Blog

We typically publish our article about upcoming regulatory dates before the beginning of each month, but this month, the looming FCC shutdown and determining its effect on filing deadlines pushed back our schedule. The FCC-hosted public inspection file database is offline, so those Quarterly Issues Programs lists can’t be uploaded unless the budget impasse is resolved this week. Auction deadlines proceed whether or not the FCC is otherwise open for business.

FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts, Relying on Online Public File to Make Documents Available

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. Certain other clarifications about the disclosure of such documents were contained in the draft order, which is expected to be adopted at the FCC meeting on October 23.

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, December FCC Meeting and Getting Ready for New Years’ Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

While the holidays may be upon us, there is no rest in the broadcast regulatory world. TV stations with 5 or more employees located in any of the New England states have the additional obligation to file their FCC Mid-Term EEO Report – due on December 3 as the 1 st is a Saturday. This report, filed on FCC Form 397, provides the FCC with the last two years’ Public File Reports, and a contact person at your stations to be contacted with EEO questions.

FCC v. Fox Broadcasting Transcript

Media Law Prof Blog

Here's a link to the transcript of oral argument in FCC v. Fox Broadcasting. Link courtesy of SCOTUSBlog

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FCC Fine for Premature Construction of Radio Station – Don’t Construct New Facilities Without FCC Permission

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has for decades prohibited the “ premature construction ” of broadcast stations – constructing new stations or new facilities for existing stations prior to the issuance of an FCC construction permit. But, last week, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing to fine an LPFM station licensee $5000 for making changes in its station without prior FCC approval of its pending construction permit application.

FCC Regulatory Fees for Broadcasters Proposed to Increase Significantly to Cover Cost of FCC Headquarters Move

Broadcast Law Blog

FCC regulatory fees come around each year, and it seems like they always go up. This year is no different, as the FCC has asked for comments on its proposed fees to be paid later this year (probably in September), and the proposed fees go up significantly for broadcasters. The fees are meant to recoup the costs of the FCC’s regulation of the industries that it oversees. TV broadcasters also face new fees.

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Consent Decrees Remind Broadcasters to Seek FCC Approval for Corporate Changes – Even When Control Does Not Change

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, the FCC released a Consent Decree where a broadcast company admitted to certain unauthorized transfers of several stations , even though actual control of the stations, for the most part, did not change. Stock of the company was transferred into a trust by the company’s shareholder without FCC approval, even though the shareholder continued to control the station until his death approximately a decade later.

FCC Updates Foreign Ownership Compliance Policies for Broadcast Companies

Broadcast Law Blog

At the FCC’s open meeting last week, the Commission adopted new policies for assessing and computing foreign ownership of broadcast companies – particularly such ownership in public companies. The rules adopted last week were principally an outgrowth of the petition for declaratory ruling filed by Pandora which sought FCC approval, in connection with its acquisition of a radio station, for foreign ownership of greater than 25%.

FCC Application Fees Going Up

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released an Order announcing its adjustments to its application fees for commercial broadcasters and other FCC licensees. cost of living increase in the processing fees that are paid when broadcasters file an application with the FCC. Fees for broadcast applications can be found starting at page 27 of the PDF containing the Order. FCC Fees changes in FCC application fees FCC application fees

FCC Media Bureau Clarifies Broadcasters’ Negotiation Remedies

New Media and Technology Law

Broadcasters may invoke “Must Carry” status or seek to negotiate terms for “retransmission” under FCC rules requiring “good faith” negotiations. The FCC also has issued a series of orders in connection with mergers and other transactions, some of which allow an arbitrator to pick one offer or the other in “night” baseball-style arbitration when certain networks and operators cannot agree on terms of carriage. In re Liberman Broadcasting, Inc.

FCC Approves For the First Time 100% Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released its first decision approving 100% foreign ownership of a group of US broadcast stations. This comes after significant relaxation of the FCC’s interpretation of the foreign ownership limits which, less than 4 years ago, had been interpreted to effectively prohibit foreign ownership of more than 25% of a company controlling broadcast licensees (see our article here about the 2013 decision to relax the restrictive policy).

FCC Will Examine Potential Changes to Broadcast Indecency Regulation

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The government agency wants to hear about how it should police isolated curse words and nudity on public broadcast airwaves. Television FCC Business read more. The Business THR, Esq.

FCC Broadcast Fine Policy

Media Law Prof Blog

Two recent FCC rulings clarify the rule on fines when the conduct occurs more than one year ago or the beginning of the current license period. In Applied License Ministries, the agency upheld the fine, because the bad behavior preceded

FCC Reminds C-Band Satellite Dish Users – Including Broadcasters – To Register By October 17

Broadcast Law Blog

On Friday, the FCC issued a reminder to all operators “of fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 The FCC is exploring allowing additional users into this spectrum, and has warned that only registered users of the spectrum will be entitled to any protections against any new users who may be authorized. So broadcasters using this spectrum to receive satellite-delivered programming should heed the FCC’s advice and register by October 17.

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FCC Issues Draft Proposal To Revoke Rule Requiring Physical Copy of FCC Rules at All Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

We yesterday wrote about Chairman Pai’s promise to start the process of modernizing media regulation by abolishing a simple but outdated rule – one requiring that each broadcast station have a physical copy of the FCC rules on the station premises. Yesterday, the FCC released a draft of their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement that change in the rules.

FCC Changes in Rules on Computation of Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations Now Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

Last year, the FCC made some modifications in its assessment of foreign ownership of companies with broadcast interests, relaxing some of their compliance rules to take account of the realities of the current public stock trading marketplace – realities that, using the FCC’s old policies, made determinations of the level of foreign ownership in any company difficult. We wrote about the changes made by the FCC here.

Broadcast Creditors Beware – $11,000 Fine Imposed for FCC Reporting Shortcomings in an AM Foreclosure Action

Broadcast Law Blog

The potential perils of foreclosing on a radio station were evident in a Consent Decree released by the FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday , agreeing to an $11,000 penalty to be paid to the FCC U.S. Plus, local counsel and FCC counsel need to work together at each stage of the process to make sure that the proper approvals are obtained from the FCC before the local court actions are implemented. That was significant to the FCC in this case.

Fox Urges End to Broadcast Indecency Limits

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The broadcaster says that if the FCC continues to police broadcast airwaves, the agency should restrain itself to monitoring the equivalent of "shock treatment." Television Fox Broadcasting Corporation FCC Business The Parents Television Council erupts in outrage. read more. The Business THR, Esq.

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FCC Officially Starts Proceedings to Abolish Main Studio Rule and Review All Other Broadcast Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

As expected, at its monthly open meeting yesterday, the FCC started two proceedings of particular importance to broadcasters. The second asks for comments on all of the other rules affecting broadcasters and other media companies to see which are ripe for appeal. She suggests that many FCC rules remain important – including EEO rules, Biennial Ownership Reports, and certain rules governing access to cable programming.

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Public File Obligations, Nationwide EAS Test, Registration of C Band Earth Stations, and Comments in Numerous FCC Proceedings

Broadcast Law Blog

October is one of the busiest months on the broadcast regulatory calendar, as it includes a confluence of routine EEO filing requirements, quarterly filing requirements for Children’s Television Reports, public file uploading for all stations for their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, a Nationwide EAS test, and comment dates in many FCC proceedings. Any station using a C Band satellite dish for the reception of programming is urged by the FCC to register those dishes by October 17.

FCC Fines Public Broadcaster $10,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists – No Leniency Without Showing of Financial Hardship

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released an order fining a public broadcaster $10,000 for failing to prepare and place in its public file 13 consecutive quarterly issues programs lists. The FCC rejected those arguments, finding that without making a showing of financial hardship (which the licensee apparently did not do even after having been prompted by the FCC staff several times), there was no reason to lower the amount of the proposed fine.

Washington Issues for TV Broadcasters – Where Things Stand at the FCC

Broadcast Law Blog

There is never a shortage of Washington issues for broadcasters to consider, and the rapid pace of change since the new administration took over in January has made it even more difficult to track where all the issues stand. While we try on this Blog to write about many of the DC issues for broadcasters, we can’t always address everything that is happening. Every few months, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters.

Reminder: A Broadcaster’s FCC EEO Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

With the Martin Luther King Day holiday just passed, it seems appropriate to review the FCC’s EEO rules , which look to promote broad access to broadcast employment opportunities. We have written about the FCC audit process by which it will review the EEO performance of approximately 5% of all broadcast stations each year (see, e.g. our articles here and here ) and also about recent fines for stations that did not comply with the FCC requirements in specific areas.

FCC Releases Draft Order to Abolish FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report

Broadcast Law Blog

Along with the draft NPRM we wrote about yesterday to consider changes to the FCC’s rules for granting new construction permits for noncommercial stations and LPFMs, the FCC last week issued another draft order to be considered at its January 30 meeting, assuming that the partial government shutdown has been resolved and the FCC has returned to normal operations.

FCC, Broadcasters Prepare For Battle Over Spectrum

Media Law Prof Blog

A battle is shaping up between the FCC and broadcasters over the agency's plan to auction off bandwidth that it believes the broadcasters are underusing for cell phones and other popular new media. The broadcasters, understandably, don't want to give

FCC Political Broadcasting Rules for Write-In Candidates

Broadcast Law Blog

In these last few weeks before the many municipal elections that will be occurring in November in states across the country, I have recently received several questions about a broadcaster’s legal obligations toward write-in candidates who want to run advertising on a radio or television station. If the candidate does pass the substantial showing test, then all of the political broadcasting rules apply – just as if the candidate had qualified for a place on the ballot.

FCC Denies Reconsideration of Noncommercial Broadcasting Ownership Report Requirements – But Signs that New Commission May See Things Differently

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday issued an order denying reconsideration of the full Commission decision from last year , synchronizing the Biennial Ownership Report filing requirement for noncommercial broadcasters with that of commercial broadcasters, and requiring that all individuals who have attributable interests in these stations obtain an FCC Registration Number (an “FRN”)(see our summary of the FCC order from last year here ).

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Public File Obligations, Nationwide EAS Test, Registration of C Band Earth Stations, and Comments in Numerous FCC Proceedings

Broadcast Law Blog

October is one of the busiest months on the broadcast regulatory calendar, as it includes a confluence of routine EEO filing requirements, quarterly filing requirements for Children’s Television Reports, public file uploading for all stations for their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, a Nationwide EAS test, and comment dates in many FCC proceedings. Any station using a C Band satellite dish for the reception of programming is urged by the FCC to register those dishes by October 17.

What’s Up for Broadcasters in Washington Under the New Administration – A Look Ahead at TV and Radio FCC Issues for the Rest of 2017

Broadcast Law Blog

A new President and a new Chair of the FCC have already demonstrated that change is in the air in Washington. But there are many other broadcast issues that are unresolved to one degree or another – and potentially new issues ready to be discussed by the FCC this year. So we’ll try to look at the issues that are on the table in Washington that could affect broadcasters, and make some general assessments on the likelihood that they will be addressed this year.

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Update – FCC Concludes that the Colbert Broadcast Did Not Violate FCC Indecency Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

When press reports first started to emerge that the FCC was investigating for possible indecency violations a Stephen Colbert bit from his Late Show television program suggesting that the President had engaged in certain sex acts with the Russian President, we wrote that the controversy was much ado about nothing (see our article here ). According to press reports , the FCC has concluded the same thing and terminated their review of this case.

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Making Good on Deregulation – FCC Proposes to Eliminate Main Studio Rules and Review All Other Broadcast Regulatory Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

In his speech at the NAB Convention (available here ), Chairman Pai promised to pursue a broadcast regulatory regime that made sense in today’s competitive media environment. He promised to move quickly to eliminate a number of the unnecessary broadcast rules, and specifically to repeal the main studio rule (see our articles here and here about the current requirements for the operation and staffing of the main studio).

A Seminar on FCC Rules for College Broadcasters – And an FCC Case on the Limits on Leniency on Fines For Rule Violations By Noncommercial Broadcasters

Broadcast Law Blog

Last month, I did a seminar at the College Media Association about the FCC legal issues that college broadcasters need to think about – talking about required FCC filings, pubic file obligations, underwriting issues, and programming that can get the broadcaster into trouble. I mentioned during the session that the FCC decided two years ago that they would be somewhat lenient with student-run radio stations who are first-time violators of certain FCC rules.

Modernization of Media Regulation – What Rule Changes Should Broadcasters be Requesting?

Broadcast Law Blog

It is not every year that the FCC seriously asks broadcasters for suggestions as to what rules it should abolish or modify, but that is exactly what the FCC is doing in its Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding (about which we wrote here and here ). Comments due the week after next, on July 5, and broadcasters should accept the invitation and suggest rules that are ripe for repeal or amendment. What rules should be examined by the FCC?

Undoing the Past – New FCC Rescinds Rulings on Noncommercial Ownership Reports, Political Broadcasting Sponsorship Disclosure and Shared Services Agreements

Broadcast Law Blog

With the change in administration at the FCC, there are opportunities for certain actions to be taken very quickly, without going through the full process of a rulemaking requiring public notice of the proposed rule change and time for public comment. Noncommercial licensees had objected to these requirements as they could be seen as invasive by Board members of public institutions that hold FCC licenses – especially by Board members at state universities.

Programmatic Advertising Buying and the FCC’s Political Broadcasting Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

With the national presidential conventions complete, and most of the state primaries for Congressional, state and local offices either behind us or to occur in the next few weeks, the most concentrated period for the purchase of political advertising on broadcast stations is now upon us, to peak in the late October/early November frenzy. In the last year or two, programmatic buying has become the buzzword in broadcast advertising circles for both radio and TV.

Updated Political Broadcasting Guide – Questions and Answers about Broadcasters’ Obligations During this Election Season

Broadcast Law Blog

To help broadcasters sort out the confusing rules about political advertising , we have updated our Political Broadcasting Guide for Broadcasters (note that the URL for the updated version has not changed from prior versions, so your bookmarks should continue to work). The revised guide is much the same as the one that we published two years ago, formatted as Questions and Answers to cover many of the issues that come up for broadcasters in a political season.

Legal Issues for Broadcasters – Updates on Pending Matters

Broadcast Law Blog

There are so many legal issues that facing broadcasters that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with them all. This Blog and many other activities that those at my firm engage in are meant to help our clients and other broadcasters keep up to date on all of the many regulatory challenges with which broadcasters must deal, while at the same time keeping up with their business operations. Of course, there are issues that radio broadcasters face as well.

FCC Asks for Comments on Regulatory Fees for 2015 – Lots of Questions about Broadcast Fees

Broadcast Law Blog

Paying regulatory fees is a part of the yearly calendar for broadcasters and other entities that do business before the FCC. These fees are usually due in August or September , to be paid before the start of the FCC’s fiscal year on October 1. And each year, about this time, the FCC puts out a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), asking about its system for collecting royalties and what changes should be made before fee collection begins in a few months.

Another EEO Audit – This Time for Cable – Reminds Broadcasters to Observe Their EEO Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

Earlier this month, the FCC announced another of its regular EEO audits , though this time it’s just for cable systems and other MVPDs who, like broadcasters, have EEO obligations. The FCC will audit 5% of all broadcasters and cable companies each year to assess their EEO compliance, so be prepared in case you are next. Broadcasters were last audited in June (radio stations only – see our article here ), so their turn will come again.

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FCC Quickly Disposes of Proposal for AM Station to Go Silent and Broadcast Exclusively on FM Translator

Broadcast Law Blog

However, the FCC apparently did not see this proposal as that earthshaking, and while we were at the NAB Radio Show last week, it dismissed the request for experimental authority to conduct this test on the grounds that it really did not propose any sort of experiment that the experimental rules were designed to promote.