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 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.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

Only three weeks ago, we wrote about an application for experimental authority filed by an AM station operator in Arizona, seeking permission to cease operating its AM station for a one year test to operate solely with its paired FM translator. The FCC found that no new technology was proposed (as everyone knows how an FM translator works) and that any market information about consumer behavior could be gathered while still operating the AM station.

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.

Elimination of Requirement that Broadcasters Post Their Licenses Becomes Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

As we wrote here , at the FCC’s December meeting, the FCC was scheduled to adopt an order eliminating the requirement that broadcasters post a physical copy of their licenses and other instruments of authorization at their control points or transmitter sites. As a station’s licenses are now generally available online, the FCC stated that they saw no reason to require that they be posted at station locations not normally accessible to the public.

Radio Station Being Silent Too Long Brings FCC Sanction – How Long Can a Broadcast Station Be off the Air Before It Causes Trouble at License Renewal Time?

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC proposed to fine a station and gave it a short-term license renewal as the station could not demonstrate that it had served the needs and interests of its community. Because the station had been silent for much of the renewal term – only turning on for a short time every now and then – enough to avoid having its license cancelled for being silent for more than a year.

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.

The Importance of Assessing the Safety and Security of Broadcast Stations and Their Personnel

Broadcast Law Blog

A topic not much discussed among broadcasters, but one that should be paramount in the future planning of all broadcast companies, is insuring the security of their stations and the safety of their employees. This is an issue on which all broadcasters should be focusing. Last month, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for the second time featured a panel at one of its conventions dealing with this topic.

Playing Music in Bars and Restaurants – Cautions When Allowing Broadcast Stations to Play in Retail Outlets

Broadcast Law Blog

This exception is based on the physical size of the business and the number of broadcast receivers that it uses. It applies only when the business plays an FCC licensed radio or TV station (or cable or satellite TV programming) where the originator of the programming has paid the appropriate fees. Note that this exception is not limited to consumer-type radios, but the business can only play FCC licensed radio or TV stations (cable and satellite TV count as TV too).

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

Broadcast Law Blog

Only three weeks ago, we wrote about an application for experimental authority filed by an AM station operator in Arizona, seeking permission to cease operating its AM station for a one year test to operate solely with its paired FM translator. The FCC found that no new technology was proposed (as everyone knows how an FM translator works) and that any market information about consumer behavior could be gathered while still operating the AM station.

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 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. Moreover, in broadcasting, there was the fear that such foreign owners could disseminate propaganda to the citizens of the US.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

This decision noted that it was based not on the new rules for analyzing foreign ownership in broadcast stations approved by the Commission in late September (see our summary here ), as those rules were not yet effective as they were only published in the Federal Register last month and certain aspects still needed to undergo analysis under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters

Broadcast Law Blog

Due to be placed in the public files of radio and TV stations with 5 or more full-time employees are EEO Public Inspection File Reports for radio and TV stations in the following states: Arkansas , Kansas , Louisiana , Mississippi , Nebraska , New Jersey , New York , and Oklahoma. Unlike many other months, there are not many comment filing deadlines for broadcasters in the month. AM stations also can continue to file for FM translators to rebroadcast their stations.

Operating Broadcast Stations in an Emergency - AM Operations at Night, STAs and Other Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

The threat from the recent fires to the tower farm on Mount Wilson from which many of the radio and television stations serving the Los Angeles area operate highlight the need for broadcasters to have an emergency plan in the event that some local catastrophe affects their tower site. However, a broadcaster taking advantage of this provision needs to observe the requirements of the rule. mv/m contour of an AM station, the 1 mv/m of an FM or the Grade B of a TV station.

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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. AM Radio FCC Fines FM Radio General FCC Television FCC rulesbook at station Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative

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

Broadcast Law Blog

Comments on the FCC’s proceeding on the Class A AM stations are also likely due on January 30 (though the FCC promised more guidance on deadlines that were affected by the shutdown – such guidance to be released today). TV stations in New Jersey and New York in Employment Units with 5 or more full-time employees also need to file their FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Reports. There will no doubt be other important dates both to broadcasters generally and to specific stations.

FCC Adopts New Rules on Satellite TV Stations, Removing Order from March Meeting Agenda

Broadcast Law Blog

Earlier this week, the FCC released an order adopting new rules governing the sale of TV stations serving as “satellites” of other stations in their markets – either rebroadcasting the primary station or otherwise operating in conjunction with that parent station, usually serving rural areas where an independent full-service station cannot economically operate.

L.A. Weatherman Sues CBS Stations For Hiring Young, Attractive Women

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Matthew Belloni Kyle Hunter has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against CBS Broadcasting and its stations KCBS and KCAL. read more. THR, Esq. THR, Esq. Television Television

Broadcaster's Calendar 2011 - Important Dates for Radio and Television Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

It's the beginning of a new year, and each year brings numerous regulatory deadlines for radio and television broadcasters. You can find the calendar setting out important dates for broadcasters in 2011 here. This year, the normal filing deadlines are supplemented by deadlines in connection with the first sets of radio license renewals due for stations in many Mid-Atlantic and Southern states.

C Band Earth Station Registration Updates Due May 28

Broadcast Law Blog

Earlier this month, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that companies that are licensees, or have otherwise registered their fixed C Band satellite earth stations in the 3.7 Operators of fixed earth stations who filed registrations last year between April 19 and October 31 using the simplified process that the FCC allowed during that period are exempted from this updating process (see our posts here and here on last year’s window). General FCC C Band earth station

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

Broadcast Law Blog

As we wrote on Friday, the effect of the shutdown is now becoming clear – and it has the potential to put on hold a number of the FCC deadlines, including the filing of Quarterly Children’s Television Reports due on January 10 and the uploading of Quarterly Issues Programs lists, due to be added to station’s public inspection files on January 10. Check with your own station’s counsel for more information about deadlines that may apply to your own stations.

FCC Approves Another Radio Station Acquisition by a Company that is 100% Foreign-Owned

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday issued a Declaratory Ruling approving the acquisition of an FM radio station in upstate New York by a company that is 100% controlled by two individuals, neither of whom is a US citizen. This is the third case where the FCC has approved ownership of US broadcast stations by a company 100% owned by foreign citizens (see our articles here and here on earlier cases).

Court of Appeals Strikes Down Communications Act Ban on Political and Issue Advertising on Noncommercial Broadcasting Stations - Analyzing the Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

The Communications Act's ban on noncommercial broadcast stations running political and issue advertising was struck down as unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Communications Act provisions that ban political and issue advertising on public broadcasting stations violate the First Amendment. The court left intact another provision that prohibits commercial advertising on public stations.

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. As we wrote several months ago , Pandora has sought to acquire an FM radio station that operates in the Rapid City, South Dakota radio market.

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. Make sure that you are aware of these upcoming deadlines, particularly ones that may impact your station’s operations.

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.

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Incentive Auction, FM Translators for AM Stations, Webcasting Fees, LUR Windows and More

Broadcast Law Blog

While January starts off with some regulatory deadlines that apply to all broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs lists must be placed in a station’s public file by the 10 th of January – there are many other dates that come due this month, dates to which broadcasters need to pay careful attention. Records showing a TV station’s compliance with the commercial limits in children’s television should also be placed in the station’s public file.

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.

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. Make sure that you are aware of these upcoming deadlines, particularly ones that may impact your station’s operations.

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.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

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. Relaxation of the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership prohibitions have been proposed, and one might think that the preservation of newspapers might be of paramount importance to the FCC.

Elimination of Requirement for Broadcasters to File Contracts and Agreements with the FCC Becomes Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

Back in October, the FCC eliminated the requirement that broadcasters file contracts and organizational documents with the Commission. General FCC filing of broadcasters contracts Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative online public inspection file station contracts and agreementsSee our post here for more details. That change became effective on January 22, 2019 , as noted in an FCC Public Notice released earlier this week.

Are You Streaming Your Radio Station? Reminder that Broadcasters Need to Pay Royalties to SoundExchange as well as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC

Broadcast Law Blog

But there are certain basics that broadcasters and other companies that are streaming need to know. Some stations may have focused on the recent statements by organizations like RMLC made in other contexts (see our post here , the organization that represents commercial radio in negotiating with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC and the one that is trying to bring GMR into similar industry-wide negotiations, currently through litigation ).

Arizona Appeals Court Upholds TV Station's Right To Broadcast Live Police Chase and Suicide of Suspect

Media Law Prof Blog

Fox News (CA-CV 14-0437), the Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's dismissal of tort claims and the First Amendment right of the defendant to broadcast the car chase and subsequent suicide of a suspect In Rodriguez v.

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FCC Makes Clear It Doesn't Regulate Formats - Rejects Petition Against Sale of Noncommercial Station

Broadcast Law Blog

The sale of a noncommercial radio station is often controversial, especially when it's clear that the format of the station will change after the transfer. In a decision released last week denying a Petition to Deny challenging the application for the sale of KTRU, the noncommercial radio station owned by Rice University, the FCC again made clear that they are not in the business of regulating the formats of broadcast stations.

Changes in the Board of Nonprofit Corporation Doom FCC Application for New FM Station – Addressing Control Issues in Noncommercial Broadcasting

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released earlier this week , the FCC dismissed an application for a new noncommercial FM station based on a change in the majority of the applicant’s board of directors within a one-year period after the application was filed. But the decision does raise some questions about just what constitutes a change in control of a noncommercial broadcaster.

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.

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.

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. Check to make sure that your stations have done that update to be ready for this month’s test.

The Limits on FCC Leniency on Fines for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released last Friday , the FCC made clear how far it is willing to go in extending to noncommercial stations leniency for fines for violations of its rules. As we have written before , the FCC changed its policy in a case in which we were involved so as to mitigate harsh penalties for first-time paperwork violations when those violations were by student-run college radio stations.

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%.

Preparing for the 2020 Elections – Our Updated Political Broadcasting Guide

Broadcast Law Blog

To help broadcasters sort out the confusing rules they need to follow in connection with such 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). In the upcoming months, I will be doing a number of seminars on these rules for various broadcast associations – watch for announcements on those in the coming months.