FCC Audits Another 200 Broadcast Stations on EEO Performance

Broadcast Law Blog

On Friday, the FCC released another of its regular EEO audit notices ( notice and list of affected stations available here ), asking approximately 200 radio and TV stations, and the station employment units with which they are associated (i.e.,

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FCC Seeking Nominations For the 2021 FCC Chair's Awards For Advancement in Accessibility

Media Law Prof Blog

From the FCC: FCC SEEKING NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2021 FCC CHAIR’S AWARDS FOR ADVANCEMENT IN ACCESSIBILITY ("FCC CHAIR’S AAA”) Recognizing Innovations in Technology Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announces the opening

FCC Implements Supreme Court Order Reinstating 2017 Ownership Rule Changes, and Asks for Updating of Record of 2018 Quadrennial Review

Broadcast Law Blog

Last Friday, the FCC took two actions on broadcast ownership resulting from the recent Supreme Court decision (about which we wrote here ) upholding changes to the ownership rules that the FCC adopted in 2017. The FCC started such a proceeding in 2018.

The Return of FCC Form 395B?  – The FCC Looks at Reviving Reports on the Race and Gender of Broadcast Employees

Broadcast Law Blog

Comments are due on September 30 on the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to bring back some form of the old FCC Form 395B , the Annual Employment Report. Could portions of the FCC be designated to receive such information and keep it protected?

FCC To Clarify Political Advertising Rules – No Significant Changes Proposed

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, it was announced that the FCC would be considering some changes to its political broadcasting rules at its monthly open meeting in August. The FCC’s proposal would just make sure that what is already being done is spelled out in the rules.

Congressional Letter to FCC on CALM Act Violations Puts Focus on FCC Enforcement Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

As we highlighted yesterday in our weekly summary of regulatory issues for broadcasters, last week saw a letter from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo to the FCC asking for the FCC to review the enforcement of the rules established by the CALM Act , which prohibits loud commercials on TV stations. But, ultimately, the FCC adopted rules that were based on industry standards and most parties seemed to believe that they were workable (see our article here about the adoption of those rules).

FCC Publishes Tentative Agenda For March 17th Open Meeting

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has published the tentative agenda for its March 17th open meeting. Among the items the FCC plans to discuss at this point: Improving the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts Consideration of Two National Security Matters (unidentified

FCC Approves Fourth Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has approved another set of COVID-19 telehealth program applications. More information about the telehealth program, including prior FCC program application approvals, here Text here.

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This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  September 4, 2021 to September 10, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC opened the window for Fiscal Year 2021 regulatory fees which must be paid no later than 11:59 pm, Eastern Daylight Time on September 24, 2021 – a 25% penalty will be attached to late payments ( Public Notice ).

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: July 10, 2021 to July 16, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Video Division of its Media Bureau has begun to release decisions on TV license renewal applications filed in the renewal windows beginning last June that have been held up for public file deficiencies.

FCC Grants Conditional Waiver To NFL For "Coach to Coach" Communications In Event of Internet Outage

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has conditionally granted the National Football League's request for a waiver of Section 96.39(C) C) of the Commission's rules "to allow it to continue to operate its coach-to-coach communications system in the limited circumstance of an Internet outage in

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: July 3, 2021 to July 9, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Media Bureau reminded all low power television and television translator stations that their digital transition must take place by Tuesday, July 13, 2021. The proposed changes are detailed in the FCC’s draft of the proposal, here.

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 Extends Comment Dates on CVAA – Inquiry About Whether There is a Need to Update Video Programming and Other Accessibility Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

Under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (commonly called the CVAA ), the FCC has adopted many rules designed to enhance accessibility to broadcast communications, particularly those provided by television broadcasters. In a recent Public Notice , the FCC asked for comments as to how the implementation of the CVAA has worked in the decade that it has been in effect, and what changes (if any) need to be made to reflect current technologies.

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This Week in Regulation For Broadcasters:  October 9, 2021 to October 15, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC updated the list of applicants eligible to participate in Auction 111, an upcoming closed auction of LPTV and TV translator construction permits.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: July 31, 2021 to August 6, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

This is another reminder that the FCC prohibits use of EAS tones – real or simulated – not tied to an actual emergency or test. ( ESPN NALF ). Nearly 200 radio and TV stations have been randomly selected by the FCC for an audit of their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules.

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October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: License Renewals, Broadcast Ownership Filings, Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists, Rulemaking Comment Dates and More

Broadcast Law Blog

Stations filing their renewals (other than LPFMs) are also required to file a Broadcast EEO Program Report (FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396), submitting two years of EEO Public File reports for FCC review unless your employment unit employs fewer than 5 full-time employees.

Remember – Political Ads for State and Local Races Trigger FCC Political Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

While most broadcast stations don’t think much about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules in odd-numbered years, they are required to do so, as races for state and local political offices trigger most of the same FCC obligations as do races for federal office.

FCC Establishes First Two Innovation Zones

Media Law Prof Blog

From an FCC press release: FCC ESTABLISHES FIRST TWO INNOVATION ZONES New York City & Salt Lake City Projects Empower Advanced Wireless Technology and 5G-Ready Network Experimentation -- WASHINGTON, September 16, 2019—The Federal Communications Commission today announced the creation of

August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: National EAS Test, License Renewals, EEO Reporting, Political Broadcasting Rules Proposals, Media Ownership Comments, Annual Regulatory Fees, and More

Broadcast Law Blog

And there are renewal and EEO deadlines, as well as several comment dates on FCC regulatory proposals. After skipping last year’s annual test due to the pandemic, FEMA and the FCC chose August 11 to hold this year’s National EAS Test.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  September 11, 2021 to September 17, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

Read our summary of all of the FCC notices on the procedures and requirements for paying these fees on our Broadcast Law Blog, here. The draft will be considered at the FCC’s September 30 regular monthly open meeting. ( Draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ).

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. read more. THR, Esq. The Business Television Tech Business THR Online

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  September 25, 2021 to October 1, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

million and enter into a consent decree with the FCC because Pluto failed to include captions in streamed programming that had previously been broadcast with captions on TV. Filers can watch an online informational session hosted by FCC staff on October 5 at 2:00 p.m.

FCC Adopts Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Review EEO Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

When the FCC initiated its most recent EEO audits , we mentioned that the Commission was planning a rulemaking to review the effectiveness of its EEO rules for broadcasting and multi-channel video operators. The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to review these rules has now been released. EEO Compliance/Diversity FCC EEO audit FCC EEO enforcement FCC Form 397 EEO mid-term report

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This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: July 24, 2021 to July 30, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC wants to refresh the record on its collection of information about the race and gender of broadcast employees. The FCC found that the stations shared a consultant who failed to negotiate in good faith with AT&T while negotiating for carriage on DirecTV.

FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: One-Ring Scam Calls

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the matter of one-ring scam calls. One-ring scams are annoying and pernicious, waking up many Americans with confusing calls in the middle of the night and tricking them out of

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: August 7, 2021 to August 13, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC and FEMA conducted their annual Nationwide Test of the EAS system on Wednesday, August 11. FEMA/FCC Announcement ). The FCC this week announced the close of Auction 109, which offered for sale construction permits for 139 new radio stations – 4 AM stations in the St.

Auction for New AM and FM Channels Ends with Almost a Third of the Channels Unsold – Does the Result Say Something About the FCC’s Local Ownership Rules?

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week announced the end of Auction 109, which offered for sale construction permits for 139 new stations – 4 AM stations in the St. The full auction results can be seen on the FCC’s auction site here. See this article about FCC Commissioner Carr’s visit to one such station.

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.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: August 14, 2021 to August 20, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

Two Federal Register notices set dates for changes to the FCC’s EAS rules. The FCC proposed a $3,500 fine against the licensee of a new Oklahoma FM translator for its failure to file a license application and for its subsequent unlicensed operation after the completion of its construction.

Low Power FM Back In Front of FCC – Another Proposal to Raise Power and Word of a New Filing Window

Broadcast Law Blog

As we noted a week ago in our summary of FCC regulatory actions, a Petition for Rulemaking has been filed by REC Networks asking that the maximum authorized power for LPFM stations be raised from 100 to 250 watts. This is just an initial proposal asking the FCC to start a rulemaking to further consider this power increase. In its draft of the reconsideration order to be considered by the FCC at its June meeting, the FCC would reject all of these reconsideration requests.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: May 8, 2021 to May 14, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

In a speech to the Media Institute, FCC Commissioner Starks spoke of the importance of diversity in media ownership and how it should be considered in making any decisions on revisions to the media ownership rules. As we noted in last week’s update , the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that sets out its tentative plan for assessing broadcast regulatory fees to be collected before October 1 of this year, with comments due on or before June 3 and reply comments due by June 18.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: August 21, 2021 to August 27, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

On Friday, the FCC released its decision setting 2021 annual regulatory fees. In a win for broadcasters, the NAB and other broadcast groups convinced the FCC to lower the broadcast fees that the FCC had initially proposed, avoiding a proposed significant increase in the fees on radio.

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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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 Announces that Window to Apply for New Noncommercial FM Stations Will Open in November

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC released its decision to limit to 10 the number of applications that can be filed by one party in the next window for new noncommercial FM stations in the reserved FM band (those channels below 92.1 By making this decision, the FCC cleared the way for the window itself, which was first hinted at last summer (see our article here ).

FCC: Robocaller Should Pay Nearly $13M Fine For Illegal, Spoofed Robocalls

Media Law Prof Blog

The FCC has suggested that Scott Rhodes, whom the agency has named as a robocaller who placed "unlawful, spoofed robocalls to target a community grappling with the recent murder of a local woman, threaten a journalist and newspaper, and attempt

FCC May Hold January Open Meeting By Conference Call, Without the “Meat”

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC by law is required to hold a monthly public meeting but, when the bulk of its employees are furloughed, it is difficult to meaningfully adhere to that obligation. The FCC announced earlier this week that it would go ahead with its January 30 meeting but, if the lapse in appropriations continues through January 29, it will conduct that meeting by conference call, rather than live as is routine.

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 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.

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  October 2, 2021 to October 8, 2021

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC issued a Public Notice to remind potential applicants of the upcoming filing window for applications for construction permits for new noncommercial educational FM stations. These reports inform the FCC of the ownership of each station as of October 1, 2021.

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.

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