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wrote about Chairman Pai’s promise to start the process of modernizing media regulation by abolishing a simple but outdated rule – one requiring that each broadcast station have a physical copy of the FCC rules on the station premises.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

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

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 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

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."

Update: FCC Adopted Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Eliminate the Requirement that Licensees Maintain Paper Copy of the Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

At its meeting yesterday, as promised, the FCC adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking to eliminate the rule that certain classes of FCC licensees maintain a paper copy of the FCC rules. We wrote about the draft NPRM here , which the FCC substantially adopted. Under current rules, licensees of LPTV, TV and FM translator, and TV and FM booster stations (but not full-power stations) are required to maintain paper copies of FCC rules applicable to those services.

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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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.

Bill Introduced in Congress to Repeal FCC Information Collection Requirements for Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports

Broadcast Law Blog

A bill was introduced in Congress this week (see press release here ) proposing to roll back the FCC’s requirement that noncommercial broadcasters, in connection with the Biennial Ownership Reports that are due by December 1 of this year, get an FCC Registration Number for every person who has an attributable interest in a noncommercial licensee.

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A Full House at the FCC as Two “New” Commissioners Confirmed

Broadcast Law Blog

Since the beginning of the year, the FCC has been acting with fewer than its full complement of Commissioners. Last week, Congress confirmed the nominations of Democratic Commissioner Rosenworcel for her return to the FCC, as well as new Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican. With this make-up of the FCC, the Commission will likely continue to proceed in the deregulatory fashion that we have seen so far this year.

FCC Announces New Round of EEO Audits for Radio Companies

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice announcing its second EEO audit for 2015. Letters to just over 100 radio (no TV stations were included in the current audit) went out on June 12 asking for evidence of their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. In yesterday’s notice, the FCC released the form audit letter and list of stations that will be audited. Responses from the audited stations are due to be filed at the FCC by July 27.

FCC Proposes $144,344 Fine on Pirate Radio Operator and His Landlord

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing to fine three individuals $144,344 for operating a pirate radio station in North Miami, Florida. Given the fact that the illegal operation was repeated, and done after prior enforcement actions, the FCC deemed that the parties knew what they were doing was illegal, and thus imposed the maximum fine allowed by the Communications Act for a continuing violation of FCC rules.

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

FCC to Debut New and Improved Website Next Week

Broadcast Law Blog

Our articles routinely contain links to FCC decisions, and otherwise refer to information on the FCC’s website. Next Thursday, December 10, the FCC will be unveiling a new and improved site – a prototype of which is available here. The FCC will begin revamping the site at 8 PM Eastern on December 9, so plan accordingly as portions of the website may not be available next Wednesday evening. The FCC’s Public Notice about the revamped site is available here.

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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).

$11,000 FCC EEO Fine for Recruiting Solely Through Online Sources – Time to Revisit the FCC Rules?

Broadcast Law Blog

An FCC decision fining a cable company $11,000 for not adequately recruiting for job openings should be viewed as a warning to broadcasters as well as well as MVPDs – failure to recruit for job openings by disseminating information about those opening through diverse sources will likely result in a substantial fine under the current rules being enforced by the Commission’s Media Bureau.

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Preparing for Annual Regulatory Fee Filing – Order on This Year’s Fees Circulating at the FCC

Broadcast Law Blog

About this time each year, broadcasters and other entities regulated by the FCC prepare to find out the amount of their annual FCC regulatory fees. Last week, the FCC added to its list of “items on circulation” (FCC orders that have been written and are circulating among the Commissioners for a vote) an order to establish the specifics of this year’s regulatory fees, and to propose some additional changes to be considered next year.

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

This case involved an individual named Brian Dodge who, according to a settlement agreement ( available here ) reached with the FCC’s Media Bureau and announced last week, filed multiple applications over almost 30 years either under a cloud because of an unresolved misrepresentation finding in a case in 1988 that led to the dismissal of an application in which he was involved. FCC Fines FM Translators and LPFM General FCC License Renewal FCC misrepresentations short term license renewal

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 and Online TV Services

Media Law Prof Blog

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

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.

FCC Chair Pai on the False Alert Issued In Hawaii

Media Law Prof Blog

It says in part: “The FCC’s investigation into this incident is well underway. Federal Communications Chair Ajit Pai has issued a statement concerning the false alert announcing a missile attack on Hawaii. We have been in close contact with federal

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 proposal to review all media rules – referred to as the Modernization of Media Regulation – will look at all media-related FCC rules with the idea of eliminating or modifying those that no longer make sense in the modern media environment. These two proceedings again demonstrate that Chairman Pai is serious about his deregulatory agenda for the FCC.

Does the FCC Use the Online Public File to Spot Rule Violations? $20,000 Fine to TV Station for Late-Filed Children’s Television Reports Suggests it Does

Broadcast Law Blog

In a Notice of Apparent Liability released yesterday , the FCC proposed to fine a TV station $20,000 for being late in the filing of 4 years of Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398). While the penalty is consistent with the size of penalties that the FCC has been imposing for similar violations in recent years (see our article here ), the means by which the FCC apparently discovered the violation is what perhaps makes this case most interesting.

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.

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 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 ).

Two More Paperwork Burdens Proposed for Relaxation Under FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative – TV Ancillary and Supplementary Revenue Reports and Public Notice Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

In addition to the elimination of the main studio rule (about which we wrote here ), another media item is proposed for consideration at the FCC’s October 24 meeting. The first deals with the filing by TV stations of FCC Form 2100, Schedule G (formerly Form 317), which reports on the ancillary and supplementary services revenue received by the TV station. The second proposed change deals with FCC-mandated public notice requirements.

Odds and Ends – CALM Act Revisions, New Effective Date for Higher FCC Application Fees, and a Case Exploring the Reach of the FCC Character Policies

Broadcast Law Blog

In the last few weeks, while I was on vacation and otherwise occupied, there have been many big developments in the broadcasting and music industries that I’ll try to write about separately – including the release of the FCC’s Order setting up the first official outline of the television incentive auction process and the Department of Justice beginning an examination of the antitrust consent decrees that govern ASCAP and BMI. But a couple of quick FCC decisions bear mentioning here.

FCC Proposes Regulatory Fees to Be Paid Later This Year – Questions about Allocation of Radio Fees, TV Satellite Stations, and Small Entity Exceptions

Broadcast Law Blog

Each year, the FCC is required by Congress to collect regulatory fees to cover the costs of its operations. All entities regulated by the FCC contribute to the amount necessary to cover the FCC’s costs – fees being allocated by the proportion of the total number of FCC employees needed to regulate a particular service. The FCC now proposes to further adjust the fee burden, allocating even more to stations that serve the largest populations.

FCC to Investigate Steven Colbert? – Much Ado About Nothing

Broadcast Law Blog

Several articles published at the end of last week suggested that the FCC, based on a statement by FCC Chairman Pai on a radio show, would be investigating comments made by Stephen Colbert on a program last week. The comments, suggesting a sexual act between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, has raised much controversy and apparently resulted in the filing of a number of complaints at the FCC. FCC Fines Indecency stephen colbert indecency stephen colbert obscentiy

FCC Releases First EEO Audit for 2017 – Over 200 Radio and Almost 80 TV Stations Named in the Audit Notice

Broadcast Law Blog

In the swirl of news about the deregulatory efforts of the new FCC, one could almost forget that there are still many regulations in place that require significant amounts of paperwork retention by broadcasters. That point was hammered home yesterday, when the FCC released its first EEO audit letter of 2017 for radio and TV broadcasters. The FCC’s public notice announcing the commencement of the audit includes the audit letter that was sent to all of the targeted 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%. As a result, participation was not required by the FCC.

Combatting Pirate Radio – What Can the FCC Do?

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday upheld a previously issued $15,000 fine to an operator of an illegal station in Florida, rejecting arguments that the community service provided on the station should mitigate the fine. The FCC, from time to time, releases this sort of fine, yet these stations keep popping up. landlords and advertisers) that their support could “expose them to FCC enforcement or other legal actions.” Most defer to the FCC, given their perceived expertise in this area.

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.

FY 2016 FCC Regulatory Fees Released – With a Reminder to Incentive Auction Participants

Broadcast Law Blog

Right as everyone was set to enjoy the last glimmer of summer over the long weekend, the FCC issued its Report and Order on the regulatory fees for 2016. The FCC adopted all the fees for broadcast stations as proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (about which we wrote about here ) with some adjustments to the regulatory fees on radio and television broadcasters, based on type and class of service and on the population served.

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. The FCC, as part of its Media Modernization Initiative, also started a proceeding to abolish the requirement that TV stations with no ancillary and supplementary revenue (revenue from the digital transmission of non-broadcast services) file an FCC report on that revenue.

FCC Sets Hearing to Determine if Station License Renewal Should Be Denied For Conducting Unsafe Contest

Broadcast Law Blog

One issue that we did not anticipate was reflected in an FCC order released yesterday, designating for hearing the license renewal of the Entercom Sacramento radio station that was involved in the “Hold Your Wee For Wii” contest that led to the death of a contestant. Designation for hearing” means that an FCC Judge will essentially conduct a trial to determine if the contest reflected so badly on the licensee that the station’s license renewal should be denied.

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.

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).