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.

FCC 63

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%.

Trending Sources

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 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 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wrote about Chairman Pai’s promise to start the process of modernizing media regulation by abolishing a simple but outdated rule – one requiring that each broadcast station have a physical copy of the FCC rules on the station premises.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.

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.

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 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.

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 ).

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.

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.

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.

Run 40

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

FCC To Consider Abolition of Requirement that Broadcasters Maintain Letters From the Public in their Public Files – Moving Toward the End of the Physical Public File?

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, the FCC announced its agenda for its May open meeting to be held on May 25. Among the items on the agenda is a proposal to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to abolish the obligation that broadcasters maintain in their public files copies of letters and emails from the general public about station operations. Radio broadcasters too will soon be moving their public files online. In a blog post , he noted the need for security at broadcast stations.

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.

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2015 – Part 1, What’s Up at the FCC

Broadcast Law Blog

Each year, at about this time, we pull out the crystal ball and make predictions of the issues affecting broadcasters that will likely bubble up to the top of the FCC’s agenda in the coming year. Sometimes policy decisions will come from individual cases, and sometimes they will be driven by a particular FCC Commissioner who finds a specific issue that is of specific interest to him or her. General Broadcast Issues. Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations.

FCC Regulatory Fees Due September 24 – Plus FCC Proposes Changes in Future Broadcaster Fee Computations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC announced yesterday 2015 regulatory fees are due by 11:59 pm (Eastern Daylight Time) on September 24, 2015. The FCC also announced that the FCC’s automated filing and payment system (Fee Filer) for FY 2015 regulatory fees was open yesterday and will reopen on Tuesday, September 8 (it is closed today through the holiday weekend as the entire FCC electronic filing system is being shut down for maintenance).

What’s Up in Washington For Broadcasters in 2014? — Part 1, FCC Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

It is the beginning of another year – and a time to look ahead to look ahead at what broadcasters should expect from Washington in the coming year. With so many issues on the table, we’ll divide the issues into two parts – talking about FCC issues today, and issues from Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington’s alphabet soup of regulatory agencies in the near future. In addition, watch these pages for our calendar of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters in the next few days.

FCC Seeks Comment on Another Request for Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations Above 25%

Broadcast Law Blog

Recently, we wrote about two cases seeking declaratory rulings from the FCC that non-US ownership of companies owning broadcast stations should be permitted even though that ownership would exceed the 25% standard that had been, until that last few years, the limit on such ownership. Last week, the FCC announced the filing of another such request – this one by Hemisphere Media Group looking to operate Spanish-language stations in the US.

FCC Releases Guide to New Broadcast Application Fees

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC fees that must be paid by commercial broadcasters when they file most applications with the Commission went up as of July 3. The FCC yesterday released a full guide to those fees – setting out how much broadcasters must pay when seeking any particular action from the FCC (including applications for approvals of assignments and transfers , construction permits , STA requests , license renewal , new call letters and even when they file biennial ownership reports).

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2016 – Looking at the Legal Issues that the FCC Will Be Considering in the New Year

Broadcast Law Blog

It’s that time of the year when we need to dust off the crystal ball and make predictions about the legal issues that will impact the business of broadcasters in 2016. While we try to look ahead to identify the issues that are on the agenda of the FCC and other government agencies, there are always surprises as the regulators come up with issues that we did not anticipate. In addition, watch these pages for our calendar of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters in the next few days.

May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Incentive Auction, ATSC 3.0 and Broadcast Deregulation

Broadcast Law Blog

But, just because there are none of these regular filings due, that does not mean that the month will be a quiet one for broadcasters on the regulatory front. In connection with the incentive auction , on May 11 , stations that are relinquishing their channels in exchange for compensation from the FCC must file an FCC Form 1875 detailing where payments for that relinquishment will go.

FCC Fines iHeart Media $1,000,000 for Broadcasting EAS Alert Tones When there was No Emergency – What the Big Fine Says to Broadcasters

Broadcast Law Blog

One million dollars is still a big fine, even though the FCC has been handing out fines for that amount, or more, many times in recent months. But fines rarely hit these levels for broadcasters. But, yesterday, the FCC issued such a fine – hitting iHeart Media with a $1 Million fine as part of a Consent Decree imposed for the inappropriate use of EAS tones in the Bobby Bones syndicated radio program. These big fines highlight issues that the FCC considers to be important.

FCC Reminder to Video Programming Distributors – Including Broadcasters – on Accessibility Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

With the recent hurricanes and last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the FCC Public Notice issued last week reminding all video programmers of the importance of making emergency information accessible to all viewers seems very timely. As the FCC also reminds readers of its notice of the ways in which to file complaints against video programming distributors who do not follow the rules, TV broadcasters need to be extremely sensitive to all of these requirements.

Understanding a Broadcaster’s Political Broadcasting Obligations Under FCC Rules – A Webinar Outlining the Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

While many broadcasters’ thoughts are on holiday celebrations, the political process leading to the 2016 elections marches on. Last week, Bobby Baker, the head of the FCC’s Office of Political Programming and I conducted a webinar for broadcasters in 16 states on the legal issues that need to be considered in connection with the upcoming political season. For more information, check out our Political Broadcasting Guide , here.

Appeals Court Tells FCC to Finalize Multiple Ownership Review, Throws Out TV JSA Attribution, and Questions Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

Broadcast Law Blog

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued an opinion faulting the FCC for not completing any required review of its broadcast ownership rules since the 2006 review was completed in 2007. The discussion in the decision also raised questions as to whether the FCC could justify the continued existence of the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rules given the radically changed state of the newspaper industry since these rules were adopted over 40 years ago.

FCC Votes to Abolish Requirement for Retaining Letters From the Public on Station Operations – First Step in Broadcast Deregulation?

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC on Tuesday voted to abolish the 44 year old requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain, in their public file, letters (and emails) from the public dealing with station operations (see the full Order here ). As noted by the Commissioners in their comments at the FCC meeting (and as we suggested here and here when this proposal was first introduced), these documents were rarely if ever accessed by the public.

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: EAS Test, Reg Fees, Lowest Unit Rates, Incentive Auction Stage 2

Broadcast Law Blog

While we didn’t do it early, we actually have not missed the many regulatory deadlines and important dates about which broadcasters need to take note this month. Several are of particular importance for virtually all broadcasters. As we wrote here and here , Annual Regulatory Fees for all commercial broadcasters are due by September 27. The FCC meeting considering these issues will be held on September 29.

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, Ownership and Ancillary Revenue Reports, Ownership Review and Incentive Auction Updates

Broadcast Law Blog

While we are into the holiday season, that does not stop the routine regulatory obligations for broadcasters. Of course, for TV stations and radio stations that have already converted to the online public file, that will mean uploading those reports to the FCC-hosted public file. We also wrote recently, here , about the obligations of TV stations to report on their Ancillary and Supplementary revenues that they receive from non-broadcast use of their digital spectrum.

Comments on FCC Proposal to Abolish Broadcast Main Studio Rule Due July 3

Broadcast Law Blog

In today’s Federal Register, the FCC has given notice of its proposal to abolish the main studio rule. We wrote about the FCC’s proposal and the questions being asked in this proceeding here and here. So, if you are interested in expressing your views on this significant deregulatory move by the FCC, file your comments by July 3. AM Radio FCC Fines FM Radio Public Interest Obligations/Localism Television main studio rules main studio staffing requirements

FCC Approves Repeal of Main Studio Rules and Starts Proceeding to Examine Broadcast Public Notices and Filing of TV Ancillary and Supplementary Revenue Reports

Broadcast Law Blog

At the FCC meeting yesterday, the FCC repealed, on a 3 to 2 vote, the main studio and studio staffing requirements for TV and radio broadcasters. Broadcasters need no longer have a main studio or even locate employees in their service areas, but must continue to serve the needs of their community, reflect that service in quarterly issues programs lists, and maintain a toll-free number that will allow local residents to contact the station.

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.

Fox 57

FCC Says No to Court’s Enforcement of Contractual Rights that Limit Broadcast Licensee’s Control Rights – What Does this Mean for Broadcast Contracts? 

Broadcast Law Blog

How far can a court go in ordering broadcasters to comply with the terms of a contract? By trying to get a court to enforce a contract signed with a broadcaster, is the suing party infringing on a licensee’s control over its broadcast station license? As a condition of the sale of Schurz to Gray, to obtain FCC approval, the parties agreed to terminate the Augusta JSA. The FCC’s conclusion was based on two findings.