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.

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.

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FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts, Relying on Online Public File to Make Documents Available

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. Certain other clarifications about the disclosure of such documents were contained in the draft order, which is expected to be adopted at the FCC meeting on October 23.

FCC Releases Draft Order to Eliminate Broadcasters’ Obligations to File Contracts, Relying on Online Public File to Make Documents Available

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC this week released its draft order proposing to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters file certain contracts relating to ownership and control with the Commission. Certain other clarifications about the disclosure of such documents were contained in the draft order, which is expected to be adopted at the FCC meeting on October 23.

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.

October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Obligations, Repacking Reports and More

Broadcast Law Blog

The beginning of a calendar quarter always brings numerous regulatory obligations, and October is one of those months with a particularly full set of obligations. These reports are the FCC’s only official record of how a station served its community. TV stations have the additional quarterly obligation of filing with the FCC by October 10 their Quarterly Children’s Television Reports, Form 398. EEO obligations also arise for stations in a number of states.

Beware of the Political File Obligations in this Hot Political Advertising Year

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Media Bureau issued a decision in January 2017 requiring that dual identification (see our article here ), but that decision was withdrawn when the current FCC Chairman came into office with a promise that the FCC would reexamine the issue and release a new decision (see our article here ). If your station is in one of those states, be sure to not only observe the FCC’s rules, but also those of the state in which you are located.

FCC Reminder to Video Programming Distributors – Including Broadcasters – on Accessibility Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

With the recent hurricanes and last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the FCC Public Notice issued last week reminding all video programmers of the importance of making emergency information accessible to all viewers seems very timely. As the FCC also reminds readers of its notice of the ways in which to file complaints against video programming distributors who do not follow the rules, TV broadcasters need to be extremely sensitive to all of these requirements.

FCC Reminds Small Market TV That Political File Goes Online As of July 1, No FCC Review of the Obligations Seems Imminent

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC on Friday issued a reminder to all TV stations that, as of July 1, they will have to upload all of their new political broadcasting documents to their online public file s. Later this year, that obligation is extended to all TV stations. For more about the requirements for the political file, see our Guide to the FCC’s Political Broadcasting Rules, here.

Beware of the Political File Obligations in this Hot Political Advertising Year

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Media Bureau issued a decision in January 2017 requiring that dual identification (see our article here ), but that decision was withdrawn when the current FCC Chairman came into office with a promise that the FCC would reexamine the issue and release a new decision (see our article here ). If your station is in one of those states, be sure to not only observe the FCC’s rules, but also those of the state in which you are located.

FCC Releases Order on Online Public Inspection File – Answering Questions about Compliance with Radio’s New Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, we wrote about the FCC’s decision to require that radio stations move their public inspection files online. Stations with 5 or more full-time employees that are located in Top 50 markets need to make the transition to the online file later this year once the FCC gets its new rules approved by the Office of Management and Budget following a Paperwork Reduction Act review. For each of these services, the FCC addressed a number of issues.

Comment Dates Set on FCC Proposal to Extend Online Public File Obligations to Radio, Cable, and Satellite

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has finally had published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to extend the online public file obligations to radio, satellite radio, cable operators and satellite TV providers. While not specifically addressed in this notice, we note how various FCC proceedings on seemingly unrelated issues can sometime intersect in the issues they consider. As we wrote here , the FCC is considering classifying some online video providers as MVPDs.

FCC Proposes to Eliminate Public File Obligations – No More Letters from the Public for Broadcasters, No Cable Headend Information for Cable Systems?

Broadcast Law Blog

At its open meeting earlier this week, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing changes to the public file rules for both broadcasters and cable systems. For commercial broadcasters, the FCC proposed to eliminate the requirement that they include in their public file copies of letters and emails to the station concerning station operations. The FCC tentatively concluded that the obligation to keep these letters and emails was no longer necessary.

A Broadcasters Calendar of Regulatory Obligations for 2017

Broadcast Law Blog

The dates set out on the calendar include FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the FCC requires that certain documents be added to a station’s public file. These dates just recently changed for noncommercial broadcasters as the FCC suspended its requirement that noncommercial stations file Biennial Ownership reports every other anniversary of their license renewal filing (see our post here ). AM Radio FM Radio General FCC Internet Radio Political Broadcasting Television

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. That is presumably so that the FCC can assess whether any ownership concerns are raised by any individual control party.

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. That is presumably so that the FCC can assess whether any ownership concerns are raised by any individual control party.

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.

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. 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. See our article here on Mid Term EEO report obligations. For details on this obligation, see our article here.

Remember Children’s Television Compliance Obligations – The FCC Does Not Forget

Broadcast Law Blog

With the obligation of television stations to file the quarterly Children’s Television Reports on FCC Form 398 by Monday (as the usual January 10 date is on a weekend) and the simultaneous requirement to place into their online public file documentation of compliance with the commercial limits in Children’s programming , it is worth reminding stations of the seriousness with which the FCC continues to view its children’s television rules.

Updated Political Broadcasting Guide – Questions and Answers about Broadcasters’ Obligations During this Election Season

Broadcast Law Blog

We have also written here and here about issues that are currently pending at the FCC about the proper sponsorship identification tag that belongs on an ad paid for by a PAC that is funded by one individual. In the past few months, I have been a part of a number of seminars on these rules (see, for instance, this article for the slides outlining a broadcaster’s obligations from one such presentation).

Details of FCC Regulatory Fee Filing Obligations - Get Ready for August 31 Deadline

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC now has sent notices to broadcast stations about their obligation to pay regulatory fees by August 31. Last week, it issued three public notices about the fees - one simply announcing that the fees are due by that date , one setting out the procedures for filing the regulatory fees , and a third reminding all filers that they need to pay using the FCC's on-line Fee Filer system.

Details of FCC Regulatory Fee Filing Obligations - Get Ready for August 31 Deadline

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC now has sent notices to broadcast stations about their obligation to pay regulatory fees by August 31. Last week, it issued three public notices about the fees - one simply announcing that the fees are due by that date , one setting out the procedures for filing the regulatory fees , and a third reminding all filers that they need to pay using the FCC's on-line Fee Filer system.

FCC Seeks Comments on Online Political File for TV Stations - Should Obligations Be Changed or Expanded?

Broadcast Law Blog

It has been almost a year since the FCC adopted rules for an online public inspection file for television stations. Are there other steps the FCC could take to make the database more user-friendly? The FCC also asks the public, including political candidates and their representatives, to comment on whether they found it easy to access information in the file, whether improvements could be made, and whether the ability to view the file online has been beneficial.

FCC Seeks Comments on Expanding Online Public File Obligations to Radio and to Cable and Satellite Television Operators

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has asked for public comment on whether it should extend the online public inspection file obligation to radio , and also whether it should adopt an online public file obligation for cable television and satellite television operators. The FCC now asks for comments on whether that day has come, and radio broadcasters should be subject to the same obligations.

A Big Day at the FCC – Kids TV, EAS and C Band Proposals, Incubator and LPTV/FM Repacking Reimbursement Drafts, FM Translator Reconsideration, and NJ TV License Renewal Decision

Broadcast Law Blog

There was lots of news out of the FCC yesterday that will give us issues to write about for weeks to come. The rulemaking will also look at whether all kid’s programming obligations could be met by broadcasts on a single multicast stream or through other efforts. The FCC Press Release on the action is here , and and the text of the notice is here. The FCC Press Release on that item is here , and we will post a link to the full text when it is available.

FCC Issues Reminder on Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Reports – Filing Obligations Begin on June 1 for Radio Stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia

Broadcast Law Blog

EEO Mid-Term Reports on FCC Form 397 must be filed at the mid-point of the renewal cycle of radio stations if they are part of a station employment unit with more than 10 full-time employees , or 5 or more full-time employees for TV. The FCC yesterday issued a reminder to stations about this obligation. We wrote about the basics of the FCC’s EEO policies for broadcasters here.

August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – New Fees, EAS Registration Requirement, EEO Obligations and More

Broadcast Law Blog

As we enter the last full month of summer, when many are already looking forward to the return to the more normal routines of autumn, regulatory obligations for broadcasters don’t end. Even if you are trying to squeeze in that last-minute vacation before school begins or other Fall commitments arise, there are filing deadlines this month, as well as comment deadline in an FCC proceeding dealing with broadcasters’ public inspection file obligations.

FCC Requires that TV JSAs be Filed By November 28, and Releases Guide to Filing Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

As we wrote in early April , the FCC has determined that TV Joint Sales Agreements , by which the owner of one TV station in a market sells more than 15% of the advertising time on another station in the same market , are “ attributable interests ” under the multiple ownership rules. The FCC gave stations involved in existing JSAs two years to undo current agreements , and the decision is on appeal by the NAB and other affected broadcasters.

June Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Public File Reports and Form 397, CALM Act Compliance Obligations, Incentive Auction Actions, Comments on Reg Fees and LPFM Rules, and More

Broadcast Law Blog

June brings some standard obligations for broadcasters in a number of states with anniversaries of their license renewal filing, plus the return of an obligation that we have not seen in 4 years- the obligations of radio stations in certain states to file an FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report. First, let’s look at the standard recurring obligations. TV Stations also have CALM Act obligations that go into effect on June 4.

TV Public Interest Obligations and Online Public Inspection File on Agenda for Next FCC Meeting

Broadcast Law Blog

Online public files , detailed reports about virtually every program aired on a television station as to its source and whether it addressed various types of perceived community interests, and other paperwork requirements that would have required most television stations to hire a new employee just to deal with the burden, were all part of mandatory television public interest reporting requirements adopted by the FCC back in 2007 (see our articles here and here on these reports on FCC Form 355).

Understanding a Broadcaster’s Political Broadcasting Obligations Under FCC Rules – A Webinar Outlining the Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, Bobby Baker, the head of the FCC’s Office of Political Programming and I conducted a webinar for broadcasters in 16 states on the legal issues that need to be considered in connection with the upcoming political season. With Lowest Unit Charge windows either open or to open this month in Iowa and New Hampshire, and windows opening in South Carolina and Nevada in the first week in January, stations need to be paying attention to their political obligations.

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – New Captioning Obligations, Online Political File for Small TV Stations, Issues Programs List and Children’s Television Reports, and More

Broadcast Law Blog

July brings a number of new regulatory dates for broadcasters – including the effective dates of two new compliance obligations for small market TV stations, as well as numerous routine regulatory filing dates. Full power TV and Class A TV stations by January 10 also need to have filed with the FCC their FCC Form 398 Children’s Television Reports , addressing the educational and informational programming directed to children that they broadcast.

FCC Clarifies Public File Obligations for Identifying Issues and Sponsors for Political Ads – Admonishes Numerous TV Stations for Violations

Broadcast Law Blog

Late Friday, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued an order (at this time available in Word format only, here ) clarifying its public file rules for political ads – both ads from candidates and from third-party groups. The FCC’s clarifications require broadcasters who run candidate or issue advertising to include information about not only the candidates mentioned in an ad, but also any Federal issues that the ad addresses.

FCC Proposes Lessened Interference Protections for Class A “Clear Channel” AM Stations – What Does This Proposal Mean for AM Revitalization?

Broadcast Law Blog

Late last week, the FCC issued a “ Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ” in its AM Revitalization Proceeding. The FCC has been taking steps over the last several years to attempt to restore AM radio to health. Perhaps even more importantly, and a question specifically raised for comment by the FCC, is the impact that any loss of service from these stations would have on the EAS network.

Mandatory Captioning of IP Delivered Clips of TV Programs? The FCC Seeks Information About Extending Internet Video Captioning Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

Closed captioning of video programming repurposed to the Internet has been an obligation of television stations for over a year. Now, the FCC is asking if any program excerpt should be captioned when transmitted over the Internet. In a Public Notice released this week, the FCC asked whether the obligation to caption television programming transmitted through IP technologies should be extended to clips of such programming as well. Questions asked by the FCC are many.

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October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, EEO Obligations, Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports, and Incentive Auction Comment Deadlines

Broadcast Law Blog

All broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, have an obligation to complete their Quarterly Issues Programs lists and place them into their public inspection filed by October 10. For TV stations, the 10 th also brings the obligation to submit Quarterly Children’s Television Reports on Form 398 to the FCC (as the 10 th falls on a Federal holiday, you may be able to file on the 11 th , but consult your legal advisor for details on that deadline).

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.

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 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).

Formal Proceedings to Begin to Revise Rules for Broadcasters’ On-Air Contests and Expand the Online Public File Obligations to Radio, Cable and Satellite

Broadcast Law Blog

Since our note Friday about November regulatory dates for broadcasters , it’s become clear that the FCC will be acting on two more matters of interest to broadcasters – particularly radio broadcasters though each have some implications for TV as well. The FCC will likely take comments for at least a few months from the time that the proposal that is adopted is published in the Federal Register.

Changes in FCC Rules on Third-Party Fundraising By Noncommercial Stations Effective Now – Except for the New Disclosure and Paperwork Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

At its April meeting, the FCC voted to allow noncommercial stations not affiliated with NPR or CPB to raise funds for third-party nonprofit organizations , even where such fundraising appeals interrupted normal programming, as long as the licensee did not devote more than 1% of its yearly airtime to such appeals.

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Broadcast Law Blog

While none of these articles or presentations can be comprehensive, these slides and the TV NewsCheck update, at least give you a quick overview of the many issues that broadcasters should be watching to stay on top of their legal obligations. Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here.

FCC Adopts New Obligations to Caption Online Video Clips of TV Programs

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC on Friday voted to extend its rule about captioning TV video repurposed to the Internet so as to cover not only full television programs, but also clips of those programs. While the full text of the FCC’s decision has not yet been released, from the discussion at the FCC meeting and from its Public Notice about the rules, the outlines of the newly imposed obligations seem fairly clear.