FCC Incubator Order Becomes Effective Just as Third Circuit Hears Arguments on 2017 Order Relaxing FCC Broadcast Ownership Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

The Office of Management and Budget, acting pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, has just approved the FCC’s broadcast incubator program , about which we wrote here. That approval makes the program effective. The program permits an established broadcaster to provide assistance to a new broadcaster (generally, a qualified small business) to enter the radio broadcast industry.

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).

Trending Sources

June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – License Renewal, EEO Reports, Reg Fee Comments, Ownership Appeal Argument and More

Broadcast Law Blog

The license renewal cycle, about which we have been warning broadcasters for at least the last year (see, for instance, our posts here , here and here ), is now upon us. The FCC’s June meeting is light on broadcast matters. To look ahead at some of the other upcoming deadlines, see our Broadcaster’s Calendar, 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%.

Countdown to Comments on Next Quadrennial Review of Media Ownership Begins – Part I, Local Radio Ownership

Broadcast Law Blog

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the next Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules was adopted in December and was published today in the Federal Register , starting the 60 day period for public comments. On the TV side, the FCC is again looking at local TV ownership (specifically combinations of Top 4 stations in a market and shared services agreements ) and also at the dual network rule restricting common ownership of two of the Top 4 TV networks.

Stay Tuned: Big Broadcast Ownership Rule Changes to be Unveiled Later Today

Broadcast Law Blog

According to the testimony given yesterday by FCC Chairman Pai at an oversight hearing before the House of Representatives Communications and Technology Subcommittee, the FCC is likely to release today a draft of its order on reconsideration of last year’s FCC decision on its Quadrennial Review of its broadcast ownership rules (the rules restricting the number of media outlets that one company can own in any geographic market). Eliminating the radio/television cross-ownership rule.

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.

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.

Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations Suddenly the Rage? – FCC Seeks Comments on Two Proposals for Alien Ownership to Exceed 25%, Including One for 100% Australian Ownership

Broadcast Law Blog

In the last two days, the FCC has asked for public comment on two proposals for foreign ownership of US broadcast stations where that ownership would exceed 25% of the company – a limit that has for decades been seen as the upper end of ownership by foreign nationals. Now, the FCC seeks comments on two cases, one where an Australian husband and wife team seek to acquire 100% ownership of companies owning 29 radio and TV stations in Alaska, Arkansas and Texas.

FCC Seeks Comments on Univision Request to Exceed 50% Foreign Ownership

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week released a Public Notice soliciting comments on the request of Univision, which owns US radio and TV stations, to have foreign ownership that exceeds 50%. As we wrote here , the FCC previously permitted foreign ownership of up to 49% of the company. As we have written here and here , the FCC will permit foreign investors to own a interests above 25% in companies that control licensees of US broadcast stations.

FCC Decision Illustrates Details of the Application of FCC Foreign Ownership Approval Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC issued a “remedial declaratory ruling” finding the change in control of stock in a company that owned broadcast stations did not offend the public interest, and that the approval of foreign ownership in the company that controlled broadcast stations above 25% (but capped at 49%) that was issued last year could stay in effect.

FCC Decision Illustrates Details of the Application of FCC Foreign Ownership Approval Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC issued a “remedial declaratory ruling” finding the change in control of stock in a company that owned broadcast stations did not offend the public interest, and that the approval of foreign ownership in the company that controlled broadcast stations above 25% (but capped at 49%) that was issued last year could stay in effect.

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. Instead, the company is a public company, and thinks that, from time to time, its foreign ownership might exceed 25%.

FCC Seeks More Comments on the Effect of Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership on Minority Ownership of Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

It looks like the FCC''s long-delayed multiple ownership proceeding won''t be decided this summer. The FCC has asked for public comment on the report submitted by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council ("MMTC") addressing the likely impact on minority ownership of broadcast stations of allowing more media cross-ownership. So this report was commissioned by MMTC, an organization dedicated to promoting minority ownership in all media.

FCC Extends Comment Deadline in Multiple Ownership Proceeding and Issues Updated Statistics on Minority Ownership of Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has extended the time for filing comments in its ownership proceeding. While comments on the new Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules had been set to be filed by July 7 (see our article here ), the Commission has now extended the deadline until August 6 at the request of the Coalition for Smaller Market Television Stations, which wanted more time to develop additional comments, particularly on the issue of shared services agreements.

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. These reviews of its ownership rules, now done as “ Quadrennial Reviews ” every four years, but previously required to be done biennially, have been the subject of much judicial review and delay in the past 9 years.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

At the end of this last week, we saw the FCC’s Media Bureau take actions in three different proceedings directly applicable to broadcasters to undo what had been done during the prior administration – r escinding actions with respect to noncommercial ownership reports , the disclosure of information about the sponsor of political advertisements, and on the treatment of TV assignment and transfer applications for television stations where shared service agreements are involved.

Congressional Database Obsession: The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is Quietly Adding Cosponsors

Music Technology Policy

Sensenbrenner introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act last year, we roundly criticized the bill as an 11th Century solution to a 21st Century problem, the Domesday Book meets a unicorn. But the bill was roundly cheered by the MIC Coalition, which includes the National Association of Broadcasters. No one is asking when the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act will be dropped, but in a way they don’t have to.

November FCC Meeting to be an Important One for Broadcasters – FCC Releases Draft Orders on ATSC 3.0 and Ownership Rule Revisions

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, we previewed the FCC’s likely decision to significantly change its ownership rules for television owners – proposing to take actions including allowing TV duopolies in markets with fewer than 8 independent TV voices after the combination, allowing some combination of the Top 4 TV stations in certain markets, repealing the radio-TV cross-ownership rules, and repealing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibitions.

FCC Allows More Than 25% Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations – Instructions for Investors are to Be Developed

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling concluding that its long-standing policies on foreign ownership of broadcast stations were misunderstood – “clarifying” its policy to make clear that, if alien ownership exceeds 25% of the holding company of a licensee, it may in fact be permissible. The Commission decided to adopt a case-by-case approach to determine if any proposed alien ownership in excess of 25% is in the public interest.

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 ).

Court Tells FCC to Give More Consideration to Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership Rules and to Policies to Promote Broadcast Ownership By Minorities

Broadcast Law Blog

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has once again questioned the FCC's determinations on broadcast ownership issues. In a decision just published, Prometheus Radio Project v FCC , the Court reviewed the FCC's 2007 actions relaxing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules and adopting policies to increase diversity in broadcast ownership. The discussion of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules was entirely procedural.

Protecting Broadcast Investors’ Social Security Numbers for the Biennial Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcasters (and, Potentially, Noncommercial Ones Too)

Broadcast Law Blog

If all goes as scheduled, at the beginning of December, commercial broadcasters will file Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323. As we wrote when the obligation to file the current version of these reports was first adopted , the FCC’s intent was to be able to track the interests of broadcast investors across all of their attributable ownership interests in various broadcast companies to assess broadcast diversity.

Preparing for the FCC’s Soon to be Released Decision on Changes to its Multiple Ownership Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

While the trade press has been full of reports that the FCC has voted on an order addressing the issues raised in its Quadrennial Review of its multiple ownership rules , and that the decision largely left those rules unchanged (including the broad ban on the cross-ownership of daily newspapers and broadcast stations ), no final decision on the review has yet been released. Taking steps to encourage minority ownership is also on the table in this proceeding.

FCC Extends Comment Dates on Petitions for Reconsideration of the Media Ownership Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today announced that it is extending , by one week, the time in which to file comments on the Petitions for Reconsideration of the FCC’s decision on media ownership rules. Multiple Ownership Rules embedded markets fcc media ownership rules joint sales agreement JSA newspaper broadcast cross ownership

Important Dates for Broadcasters in 2019 – A Broadcaster’s Calendar

Broadcast Law Blog

While the shutdown of the Federal government delayed FCC activities in January, with the government back in business (hopefully for the long term), we have put together a Calendar of Important Dates for Broadcasters for 2019 , available here. While this is not a comprehensive list of all regulatory dates that a broadcaster can expect, and while there can be some changes in these dates as the year goes on, it does provide a start keeping you on top of your regulatory burdens.

FCC to Consider Allowing Increased Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations at Its November Meeting

Broadcast Law Blog

At its November 14 meeting, the FCC is tentatively scheduled to consider the relaxation of its limits on the ownership of broadcast stations by foreign entities or citizens. Under the current “ alien ownership ” limitations, US citizens or entities must own 80% of a broadcast licensee, or 75% of a licensee’s parent company. In the broadcast world, the 25% alien ownership limit must be analyzed both as to equity and voting interests.

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports and Comments on Ownership, EEO and Copyright Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

While there is a new administration in charge at the FCC, there are still those regular regulatory dates that broadcasters must face, as well as dates unique to pending proceedings that arise from time to time. With the start of February, there are routine regulatory dates for broadcasters dealing with EEO requirements. Comments are also due in various FCC proceedings of importance to broadcasters.

May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – License Renewal Activities and Lots of Comment Dates

Broadcast Law Blog

While May is one of those months with no other regularly scheduled regulatory filing deadlines, it is full of other FCC deadlines including comment dates in several proceedings of importance to broadcasters. One of the FCC proceedings with comment dates in May is the proposal to allow AM broadcasters to, at their option, convert to full-time digital operations. Reply comments on the FCC’s latest Quadrennial Review of its ownership rules are also due in May.

Agenda for FCC’s December Meeting – Start of Next Quadrennial Review of the Ownership Rules and Elimination of License Posting Requirement

Broadcast Law Blog

For broadcasters, there are two matters of interest. The first will be the initiation of the next Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules. This will begin with a notice of proposed rulemaking teeing up the areas that the FCC will be considering in this review – including radio ownership issues and likely further clarification of the FCC’s standards for waivers allowing the combination of two of the Top 4 TV stations in any market.

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Broadcast Law Blog

September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In addition to these two items, the FCC also says that it will resolve the proposals to make the FCC’s foreign ownership rules for broadcasting more like those applicable to non-broadcast companies , easing some of the procedural restrictions that made it difficult for non-US investors to become owners of US broadcast stations.

FCC Sets Comment Dates on Proposal to Relax Restrictions on Foreign Ownership in Companies Holding US Broadcast Station Licenses – What Is the FCC Proposing?

Broadcast Law Blog

In Friday’s Federal Register, the FCC published a summary of the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to revise its policies regarding the ownership of broadcast stations by non-US citizens setting the date for comments on its proposal of December 21 , with Reply Comments being due by January 20. The NPRM suggests that the FCC will use for broadcasting, with some modifications, the procedures that it uses in assessing foreign ownership of non-broadcast FCC licensees.

Pandora Files First Petition for Declaratory Ruling Under FCC’s Liberalized Foreign Ownership Rules for Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

In November, the FCC changed its policy regarding the foreign ownership of broadcast stations. In its decision, about which we wrote here , it agreed to entertain applications seeking “ alien ownership ” exceeding the 25% limit for foreign ownership of broadcast stations that had previously been in place. These ASCAP objections triggered an inquiry from the FCC as to Pandora’s foreign ownership.

Comments Due September 24 on Audio Competition Report – Setting the Stage for Radio Ownership Reform?

Broadcast Law Blog

The state of the audio industry will no doubt be a crucial consideration in the next Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules , expected to start late this year or early next. The initial document to be released in the Quadrennial Review will be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking putting forth the FCC’s initial take on whether any of its ownership rules are no longer in the public interest and therefore need to be modified or eliminated.

Radio Ownership Subcaps on the Table for FCC Review

Broadcast Law Blog

We’ve written (see, e.g. our articles here , here and here ) about the pending petitions asking the FCC to reconsider decisions reached last year to end the UHF discount, to leave the TV local ownership rules in place and to make attributable new TV Joint Sales Agreements, and to not adopt any change in the FCC radio ownership rules in “embedded markets.” Thus, while a broadcaster can own up to 8 radio stations in the largest markets, no more than 5 can be either AM or FM.

FCC Approves Up to 49% Foreign Ownership of Univision – What Guidance is Provided to Potential Foreign Investors in US Broadcast Stations?

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling permitting certain identified foreign companies and individuals to own up to 40% of the voting interests in Univision, and allowed aggregate foreign ownership of up to 49% of the equity of the company. Thus, this decision provides a good basis for determining what issues any potential foreign investor in a US broadcast station would face, particularly when investing in a public US company.

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Ownership and EEO Comments, Copyright Issues and More

Broadcast Law Blog

Here we are at the start of a new year, and right away we have numerous regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. TV stations have quarterly Children’s Television Reports due to be filed at the FCC by the 10 th , addressing the programming that they broadcast to meet the educational and informational needs of children. Montages” of clips from TV programs, where all of those clips were captioned when broadcast, also need to be captioned when made available online.

The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act: The Domesday Book Meets A Unicorn — Music Tech Solutions

Music Technology Policy

Sensenbrenner introduced a bill entitled “ The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act “, a piece of work that is Dickensian in its cruelty, bringing a whole new meaning to either “ newspeak ” or “draconian,” take your pick.

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, Webcasting Proceeding, FCC Meeting and Other Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

These are the royalties paid to SoundExchange by webcasters – including broadcasters who stream their signals on the Internet and through other digital platforms (see, for instance, our article here about how these royalties include streams played by Alexa and other smart speakers). It is possible that we could also see the Federal Register publication of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in its next Quadrennial Review of the FCC multiple ownership rules.

A Change in the FCC's Broadcast Foreign Ownership Rules In the Near Future?

Broadcast Law Blog

Two weeks ago, comments were filed in the Commission’s proceeding examining whether to adopt a more relaxed view of the foreign ownership provisions of the Communications Act (see our article about that proceeding here ). While the Communications Act limits foreign ownership in communications licensees to 20% (or 25% of a licensee holding company), the Act also allows the Commission to allow greater foreign ownership if it would not adversely affect the public interest.

Important Dates for Broadcasters in 2019 – A Broadcaster’s Calendar

Broadcast Law Blog

While the shutdown of the Federal government delayed FCC activities in January, with the government back in business (hopefully for the long term), we have put together a Calendar of Important Dates for Broadcasters for 2019 , available here. While this is not a comprehensive list of all regulatory dates that a broadcaster can expect, and while there can be some changes in these dates as the year goes on, it does provide a start keeping you on top of your regulatory burdens.

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Ownership and EEO Reports, Retransmission Consent and Foreign Ownership Rulemaking Comments, Incentive Auction and Accessibility Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

December is one of those months when all commercial broadcasters have at least one FCC deadline, and there are also many other filing dates of which many broadcasters need to take note. For all commercial broadcasters, Biennial Ownership Reports are due on December 2. Hopefully, most broadcasters have already completed this filing obligation, as FCC electronic filing systems have been known to slow as a major deadline like this comes closer.

FCC Sets December 2 Deadline for Filing 2015 Biennial Ownership Reports for Commercial Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today released an Order setting December 2 as the date for the filing of FCC Form 323 Ownership Reports by commercial broadcast stations. All commercial broadcasters must submit this report. These reports require information as to each owner of a broadcast company as of October 1, 2015. In addition, the form requires that the race, ethnicity and gender of individual owners be reported, so that minority ownership can be assessed and tracked by the FCC.