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 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.

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Comcast Beats Spanish-Language Broadcaster's Discrimination Complaint

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The FCC says that Liberman Broadcasting, owner of Estrella TV, isn't a “video programming vendor” and thus can't make its case. read more. THR, Esq. The Business Television Tech Business THR Online

Looking at the Last Night’s Election Results and the Future of Washington Policy For Broadcasters

Broadcast Law Blog

For positions such as the chairman of the FCC, many of these publications listed familiar DC names as likely appointees if, as expected by most pundits, Hillary Clinton was elected president. Given the results of last night, those speculations are sure to ramp up as everyone tries to guess what will happen with broadcast policy in a Trump administration. At this point, we can only speculate as to what that election will mean for broadcast policy – particularly at the FCC.

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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.

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.

Supreme Court Declines to Review Broadcast Indecency, Media Cross-Ownership

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Broadcasters win Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" dispute but won't get a further review from the high court on media-ownership restrictions. The Business Television Business CBS FCC Janet Jackson Politics

CBS Tells FCC That Stephen Colbert's Trump Jokes Weren't Indecent Nor Obscene

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The broadcaster looks to avoid any "character" test in a license review. read more. THR, Esq. Business Television Business THR Online

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 Negotiates $100,000 Settlement and Cancellation of Some Licenses with Broadcaster Who Filed Applications Under False Names and Refused to Cooperate with FCC Investigations

Broadcast Law Blog

While much of the broadcast industry’s attention has been focused on the designation for hearing of Entercom’s license for the Sacramento radio station involved in the contest that went very much wrong (see our article here ), many have not focused on a case that one might think would be far more appropriate for a judge to sort out. FCC Fines FM Translators and LPFM General FCC License Renewal FCC misrepresentations short term license renewal

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.

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 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

Remember Children’s Television Compliance Obligations – The FCC Does Not Forget

Broadcast Law Blog

With the obligation of television stations to file the quarterly Children’s Television Reports on FCC Form 398 by Monday (as the usual January 10 date is on a weekend) and the simultaneous requirement to place into their online public file documentation of compliance with the commercial limits in Children’s programming , it is worth reminding stations of the seriousness with which the FCC continues to view its children’s television rules.

CBS Defends Right to Restrict Access to Online Streams

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

To hold otherwise, it tells the FCC, would risk broadcasters refusing to put content online in the first place. read more. THR, Esq. The Business Television Tech Business THR Online

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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, 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

Will the Supreme Court Finally Lift Ban on 'Seven Dirty Words' You Can't Say on TV? (Analysis)

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Eriq Gardner In a Tuesday hearing before the high court, broadcasters make the argument that regulatory policy on swear words is a constitutional impingement of free speech. Television Television Business Cher FCC Nicole Richie

FCC Regulation of Internet Video? – Dates Set for Comments on Treating Over-the-Top Video Providers like Cable and Satellite TV

Broadcast Law Blog

Whether to treat Internet video providers by the same rules that apply to cable and direct broadcast satellite systems is the subject of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the FCC just before Christmas, notice of which was published in the Federal Register today , setting the comment dates on the proposal. And the FCC has defined a TV channel as one comparable to what is delivered by broadcast TV. But just what video would be covered by the FCC’s proposal?

Supreme Court Rules FCC's Indecency Policy 'Vague,' But Allows Agency to Further Police Nudity and Language on TV

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Despite First Amendment concerns from broadcasters, the high court rules unanimously that the government still has a role in policing the airwaves.

Hollywood Docket: Will the FCC appeal?; UFC vs. pirates; RIAA's legal bill

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

In the wake of the appeals court ruling restricting the FCC's ability to fine broadcasters for indecent language on the airwaves, the big question is now whether the FCC intends to appeal. Doing so poses the risk of further bleeding.

FCC Clarifies Public File Obligations for Identifying Issues and Sponsors for Political Ads – Admonishes Numerous TV Stations for Violations

Broadcast Law Blog

Late Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued an order (at this time available in Word format only, here ) clarifying its public file rules for political ads – both ads from candidates and from third-party groups. The FCC’s clarifications require broadcasters who run candidate or issue advertising to include information about not only the candidates mentioned in an ad, but also any Federal issues that the ad addresses.

Supremes Hear Oral Argument In FCC v. Fox Broadcasting

Media Law Prof Blog

The Supreme Court hears oral argument today, January 10, in FCC v. Fox Broadcasting, on appeal from the 2nd Circuit. More here from the Legal Information Institute, here from the First Amendment Center, here from SCOTUS Blog

FCC Votes "Blackout Rule" Out

Media Law Prof Blog

From the Hollywood Reporter: The FCC has voted unanimously to end the "blackout" rule that has allowed the NFL to prohibit broadcasts of pro football games locally if seats remain unsold on the day of the game.

FCC Fines: $17,000 for Unsecure AM Tower Fence (Not Owning the Tower Site is No Excuse); $25,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists; $22,000 for Nonfunctioning EAS and Wrong Tower Coordinates

Broadcast Law Blog

A flurry of fines against broadcasters have come out of the FCC in the last week. These fines highlight the scrutiny under which owners of broadcast stations can find themselves should an FCC Field Office inspector knock on their door. If the FCC pays a visit and finds a violation, a station is often looking at a fine even if it quickly takes corrective action. They are something that all broadcasters should seriously consider. .

Four Fines Up to $8000 for Tower Lighting Issues – A Message on the Importance to the FCC of Safety Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

There are times that the FCC, though its Daily Releases, appears to be trying to make a point. Three of the fines were for $8000, and one for $6000, and three were against broadcasters and one was against a non-broadcast licensee. The broadcaster thought that it had received permission to make that change, but never received confirmation from the FAA that the obligation to light the middle tower had been removed.

Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court to Back FCC's Indecency Policies

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Eriq Gardner Cases involve fleeting nudity and unexpected curse words on broadcast television. read more. THR, Esq. Television Television Barack Obama

FCC National Broadband Plan - What It Suggests for TV Broadcasters Spectrum

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today released its National Broadband Plan to Congress, and in it spelled out its suggestions for the future of television. But the largest swath of spectrum to be used to meet this perceived need is proposed to come from television broadcasters. The Commission’s plan proposes to recapture 120 MHz of spectrum (20 UHF channels) from television broadcasters.

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 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.

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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.

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.

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%.

Comcast Accused of Discriminating Against Spanish-Language Network

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

In a complaint with the FCC, Liberman Broadcasting says Comcast aims to bolster Telemundo and NBC Universo at the expense of Estrella TV. read more. THR, Esq. The Business Television Business THR Online

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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.

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.

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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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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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 ).

Supreme Court Rules FCC Did Not Give Broadcasters Notice of Change In Policy in Fox v. FCC

Media Law Prof Blog

FCC, and as we could have expected, its decision is narrow. The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in Fox v. In a unanimous 8-0 opinion (Justice Sotomayor having recused herself), Justice Kennedy writing for the majority, the Justices

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