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.

Trending Sources

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.

5 Questions on the Meaning of the FCC’s Recent Ruling on Online Recruiting – How Does it Change a Broadcaster’s EEO Obligations?

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC recently issued a declaratory ruling (which we summarized here ) addressing the requirement that broadcasters widely disseminate information about all of their job openings in such a way as to reach all of the groups within their communities. The recent FCC decision stated that a broadcaster can now rely solely on online sources to meet the wide dissemination obligation. This decision does not end all other EEO obligations imposed by the FCC rules.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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 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.

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.

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).

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.

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).

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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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

$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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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 Grants Certain TV Stations Limited Waiver from Online Public File Obligations for Documents from Prior Renewal Terms

Broadcast Law Blog

Earlier today, we wrote about the FCC's reminder that TV broadcasters must, by February 4, complete the upload to their FCC-mandated online public inspection file all materials from the current renewal term that were created prior to the August 2 effective date of the online public inspection file requirement. This decision does not relieve stations from all obligations to post materials from prior renewal terms, as described below.

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.

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 Deadlines in January - Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Children's Program Reports, Comments on TV Online Public File and Public Interest Obligation Proposals, FM Window and More

Broadcast Law Blog

In addition to the normal FCC deadlines for routine filings, January brings the deadline for comments in a number of FCC proceedings, and a filing window for new FM applications. For TV stations, the Commission recently extended to January 17 the Reply Comment deadline on its proposals (summarized here ) for an online public inspection file.

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. We wrote about the changes made by the FCC here.

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).

Making Good on Deregulation – FCC Proposes to Eliminate Main Studio Rules and Review All Other Broadcast Regulatory Requirements

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, the FCC took its first steps to quickly fulfill those promises, releasing two draft orders to be considered at its May 18 meeting, one to repeal the main studio rule and the second announcing the opening of a proceeding to review all of the other rules that govern broadcasters except the ownership rules that are already under consideration in other proceedings (see our posts here and here about some of the ownership rules already under review).

FCC Chairman Reminds TV Broadcasters of the Importance of their Online Political File Obligations as its Staff Investigates Complaints about Deficiencies

Broadcast Law Blog

This week, the FCC’s Office of Political Broadcasting in its Media Bureau sent letters to all of the stations involved, asking that the stations respond to the complaints and provide details about the factual assertions that were made, by May 27. At the same time, the FCC Chairman issued a Statement , reminding TV broadcasters of the importance of the political file, and how seriously the FCC takes any violations of its rules.

April FCC Obligations for Broadcasters - Renewals, EEO, Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Captioning of Live or Near-Live Online Programming, FM Translator Filings, an FM Auction and Comments on Alien Ownership

Broadcast Law Blog

April is one of those months in which many FCC obligations are triggered for broadcasters. There are the normal obligations, like the Quarterly Issues Programs lists , that need to be in the public file of all broadcast stations, radio and TV, commercial and noncommercial, by April 10. And there are renewal obligations for stations in many states, as well as EEO Public File Reports that are due to be placed in station's public files and on their websites.

FCC Proposes Revised Rules for Online Public File - Including Political File - and Discusses the Public Interest Obligations of TV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

At its meeting today, the FCC vacated its 2007 Order mandating an online public file and the filing of the Form 355 “Enhanced Disclosure” form that detailed the public interest service of television broadcasters. The online public file form will automatically import other FCC filings that are required to be in the file. Until the FCC electronic database is perfected, the documents will be placed online in their current formats.