US Attorneys and FCC Combine to Shut Down Pirate Radio Station

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday issued a News Release about an unusual action taken by the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts entering into a consent decree with a pirate radio operator, where the operator agreed to surrender all of its operating equipment to the FCC, and to stop broadcasting illegally. This shows what the FCC and the Department of Justice can already do to stop illegal pirate radio operators.

Another EEO Audit Released – Looking at the FCC’s Current EEO Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released another of its regular EEO audit notices ( available here ), asking that approximately 80 radio stations, and the employment units with which they are associated, provide to the FCC (by posting the information in their online public inspection file) their last two year’s EEO Annual Public File reports , as well as backing data to show that the station in fact did everything that was required under the FCC rules.

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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. So, if you are planning an FCC application that will be filed a few months from now, pay attention to the effective date of the new fee schedule to avoid having your application bounced for paying an incorrect fee.

FCC Releases Draft Order on Changes to Children’s Television Rules – Action Expected July 10

Broadcast Law Blog

In anticipation of its July 10 open meeting, the FCC last week released its draft Order making changes to its rules requiring television stations to broadcast specific amounts of educational and informational programming directed to children. The FCC draft Order also would change some of the specific requirements for station’s primary video channel.

Transfer of FCC EEO Branch from Media Bureau to Enforcement Bureau Now Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

In July, we wrote about the FCC’s plan to transfer the responsibility for EEO enforcement f rom the Media Bureau, where it has resided, to the Enforcement Bureau which the FCC suggested would have more resources and experience to aggressively enforce the FCC’s EEO rules and policies. That transfer was effective on Friday (see the FCC public notice here ).

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 appeal, as we wrote here , essentially argues that the FCC has not done enough to promote minorities and other new entrants to get into broadcast ownership.

FCC Commissioner O'Rielly's Statement on the Sinclair/Tribune HDO

Media Law Prof Blog

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly's statement on the Sinclair/Tribune Hearing Designation Order (HDO

FCC Pulls Controversial Set-Top Box Proposal From Meeting Agenda

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler says rules reshaping access to TV programming will remain under consideration, but that the FCC needs to resolve technical and legal issues.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

All of those January dates that we wrote about here have been extended by an FCC Public Notice released yesterday until at least Wednesday, January 30 (except for the deadlines associated with the repacking of the TV band which were unaffected by the shutdown). So Quarterly Issues Programs lists should be added to the online public file by January 30, and Children’s Television Reports should be submitted by that date if they have not already been filed with the FCC.

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. The FCC clarified some of the questions broadcasters have in a Public Notice released Wednesday. So for those stations needing FCC approvals for actions relating to the repacking of the TV band, the FCC will be functioning.

FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The next stop will be a courtroom as the media regulatory agency retreats from prohibiting ISPs from blocking and throttling content. read more. THR, Esq. Business Tech Business THR Online

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.

Another FCC Broadcast Case Designated for Hearing – With Much Different Stakes

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, the FCC issued a hearing designation order – though one with much lower stakes than the last designation order issued by the FCC which seemingly resulted in the termination of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. Issues were raised as to whether the licensee in its FCC applications lied to the FCC about whether its board of directors was made up of US citizens – there being substantial evidence that the board members were in fact citizens of other countries.

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 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 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. The FCC promised to revisit TV fees next year to determine the impact of the incentive auction.

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FCC Starts First EEO Audit of Radio and TV Stations for 2019 – And Announces Upcoming Review of its EEO Audit and Enforcement Program

Broadcast Law Blog

On Friday, the FCC issued its first EEO audit of almost 300 radio and TV stations across the country (see the model audit letter and list of stations affected here ), the day after announcing its intent to abolish the Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report (see our articles here and here ). If that cluster has 5 or more full-time employees, it must observe the FCC’s EEO requirements and respond to this audit.

Overpower FM Translator Prompts $12,000 FCC Fine

Broadcast Law Blog

In an Order released earlier this week , the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau imposed a $12,000 fine on the licensee of an FM translator in California because FCC inspections revealed that the translator was operating above its licensed power. The FCC found that the station was operating with a Transmitter Power Output of 7.5 The power output cannot exceed 105% of what is authorized on the license (See Section 74.1235(e) of the FCC Rules).

Michigan Radio Station Gives Up FCC License

Media Law Prof Blog

Lake Isabella/Mount Pleasant, Michigan, radio station WRAX-FM has surrendered its license to operate to the FCC, before the agency held a scheduled hearing on whether the station's license should be renewed. The FCC scheduled that hearing on August 3.

A Call to Regulate E-Cig Advertising – What is the FCC’s Role in Regulating Advertising For the Vices?

Broadcast Law Blog

In recent months, there have been many calls to regulate e-cigs , and potentially to regulate the marketing of all sorts of vaping products , including a call last week by an FCC Commissioner in an op-ed article in USA Today. And those advertisements bring us frequent questions about whether the FCC has rules about advertising these products. So far, the FCC has had no real role in regulating these products. Could the FCC itself do more?

Judge Won't Let FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal Stop Lawsuit Alleging Charter Throttled Netflix

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Rejecting a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by New York's attorney general, a judge notes how the FCC said that states "continue to play their vital role in protecting consumers from fraud."

FCC to Hold Public Forum on ENT Captioning of Live TV Programming Tomorrow, May 10

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC tomorrow will hold a public forum on Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT) of captioning live TV programming tomorrow from 1 PM to 4:45 PM Eastern Time (see the agenda here ). The forum will be available for viewing online (go to the FCC webpage here for information about connecting). Emergency Communications General FCC Programming Regulations Public Interest Obligations/Localism Television electronic newsroom technique ENT captionning

The FCC and Online TV Services

Media Law Prof Blog

The National Journal on growing resistance to the FCC's plan to regulate online TV services

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

FCC Net Neutrality Repeal Challenged in Court

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Among the petitions filed Tuesday is one from 21 state attorney generals. read more. THR, Esq. Business Television Tech Business THR Online

FCC general counsel responds to Comcast decision

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The FCC's top lawyer has taken to the agency's blog to respond to yesterday's big appeals court ruling shooting down the FCC's authority to regulate "net neutrality" on the Web. Tags: FCC Austin Schlick says he's "assessing the implications" of the decision.

Update: Comment Dates Set on FCC Proposal to Abolish Requirement for Paper Copies of FCC Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

The comment dates have now been set on the FCC’s proposal to abolish the requirement that licensees of certain classes of broadcast stations (including translators and auxiliary stations) maintain a paper copy of the FCC rules. FM Translators and LPFM General FCC FCC rule book Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative

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. That change became effective on January 22, 2019 , as noted in an FCC Public Notice released earlier this week. General FCC filing of broadcasters contracts Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative online public inspection file station contracts and agreements

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 to Shake Up Media Ownership Rules

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The media agency is widely expected to eliminate many local market regulations at a meeting next month. read more. THR, Esq. Business Television Business THR Online

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 Further Extends Deadlines for Filings Due During the Shutdown – Including Quarterly Issues Programs Lists – and Moves Up Monthly Meeting

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, we wrote about upcoming deadlines for broadcasters, and noted that the FCC was going to be releasing an order providing further details on the deadlines for pleadings and other documents that were due during the government shutdown. Filings that were due at the very beginning of the shutdown, from January 3-7, will still be due today , January 30, as noted in prior FCC releases.

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 To Investigate Stephen Colbert's Trump/Putin Comments

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC will investigate Stephen Colbert's joke about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, delivered May 1st on his late-night talk show. The FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, said the standard the FCC will apply is "obscenity

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The FCC Votes Net Neutrality In Effect

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has adopted new rules under Title II of the Communications Act to regulate the Internet. Briefly, in the words of the FCC''s Open Internet Order: no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization.

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. That change became effective on January 22, 2019 , as noted in an FCC Public Notice released earlier this week. General FCC filing of broadcasters contracts Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative online public inspection file station contracts and agreements

FCC Annual Regulatory Fees Due September 25 – Media Bureau Fee Filing Guide Available

Broadcast Law Blog

On Thursday, we wrote about the FCC’s release of its order setting the amounts for the Annual Regulatory Fees paid by all of those regulated by the FCC. On Friday, the FCC released a Fact Sheet detailing the fees for broadcast and other licensees regulated by the Media Bureau and how those fees should be paid. The Fact Sheet links to this sheet for more information about how to access the FCC’s calculation of the specific amount owed for each of a licensee’s stations.

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).

FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality Thursday Despite Protests (Analysis)

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

FCC Business The passage will begin a long process of comments and rewrites before there is a final vote, followed by the inevitable court challenges. read more. The Business THR Online THR, Esq.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

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. Here, too, the FCC is looking at reform of its children’s programming requirements (see our post here ).

What Does an FCC Designation for Hearing Mean?

Broadcast Law Blog

In light of yesterday’s announcement that the FCC Chairman has proposed that portions of the acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group of the television stations owned by Tribune Media would be designated for hearing , one question that many have asked is, “What does designation for hearing mean?” The FCC had a large staff of Administrative Law Judges who heard these cases, and they were usually quite busy.

FCC Regulatory Fees Due By September 26

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC late yesterday released an Order setting the amount of FY2017 Annual Regulatory fees, along with a public notice setting September 26 as the deadline for those fees. But the amounts of the fees for various classes of broadcasters were set by the FCC’s Order also released yesterday. However, the FCC was not able to come up with a definitive source for such information, leaving that issue to be examined in the future.

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FCC Approves Rule That Would Permit Cable Providers to Send More Notices via Email

New Media and Technology Law

In an effort to modernize communications, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decided to allow cable operators to deliver general subscriber notices required under so-called Subpart T rules (47 CFR §§ 76.1601 et seq.) However, the E-Sign Act allows federal agencies like the FCC to exempt a specified category or type of record from the normally required consent requirements if it makes the agency’s requirements less burdensome and does not harm consumers.

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