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

Looking at the Last Night’s Election Results and the Future of Washington Policy For Broadcasters

Broadcast Law Blog

For positions such as the chairman of the FCC, many of these publications listed familiar DC names as likely appointees if, as expected by most pundits, Hillary Clinton was elected president. At this point, we can only speculate as to what that election will mean for broadcast policy – particularly at the FCC. The make-up of the FCC will likely facilitate such changes, as Republicans will no longer be in the minority at the FCC.

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What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2015 – Part 1, What’s Up at the FCC

Broadcast Law Blog

Each year, at about this time, we pull out the crystal ball and make predictions of the issues affecting broadcasters that will likely bubble up to the top of the FCC’s agenda in the coming year. Sometimes policy decisions will come from individual cases, and sometimes they will be driven by a particular FCC Commissioner who finds a specific issue that is of specific interest to him or her. Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations.

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, Ownership and Ancillary Revenue Reports, Ownership Review and Incentive Auction Updates

Broadcast Law Blog

Of course, for TV stations and radio stations that have already converted to the online public file, that will mean uploading those reports to the FCC-hosted public file. Mid-Term EEO Reports on FCC Form 397 must be filed with the FCC by December 1 by radio employment units with 11 or more full-time employees in Colorado , Minnesota , Montana , North Dakota , and South Dakota and television employment units with five or more full-time employees in Alabama and Georgia.

Protecting Broadcast Investors’ Social Security Numbers for the Biennial Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcasters (and, Potentially, Noncommercial Ones Too)

Broadcast Law Blog

If all goes as scheduled, at the beginning of December, commercial broadcasters will file Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323. As we wrote when the obligation to file the current version of these reports was first adopted , the FCC’s intent was to be able to track the interests of broadcast investors across all of their attributable ownership interests in various broadcast companies to assess broadcast diversity.

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%.

FCC Extends Comment Dates on Petitions for Reconsideration of the Media Ownership Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today announced that it is extending , by one week, the time in which to file comments on the Petitions for Reconsideration of the FCC’s decision on media ownership rules. Multiple Ownership Rules embedded markets fcc media ownership rules joint sales agreement JSA newspaper broadcast cross ownership

Radio Ownership Subcaps on the Table for FCC Review

Broadcast Law Blog

We’ve written (see, e.g. our articles here , here and here ) about the pending petitions asking the FCC to reconsider decisions reached last year to end the UHF discount, to leave the TV local ownership rules in place and to make attributable new TV Joint Sales Agreements, and to not adopt any change in the FCC radio ownership rules in “embedded markets.”

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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.

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.

Foreign Ownership of US Broadcast Stations Suddenly the Rage? – FCC Seeks Comments on Two Proposals for Alien Ownership to Exceed 25%, Including One for 100% Australian Ownership

Broadcast Law Blog

In the last two days, the FCC has asked for public comment on two proposals for foreign ownership of US broadcast stations where that ownership would exceed 25% of the company – a limit that has for decades been seen as the upper end of ownership by foreign nationals. Now, the FCC seeks comments on two cases, one where an Australian husband and wife team seek to acquire 100% ownership of companies owning 29 radio and TV stations in Alaska, Arkansas and Texas.

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Preparing for the FCC’s Soon to be Released Decision on Changes to its Multiple Ownership Rules

Broadcast Law Blog

While the trade press has been full of reports that the FCC has voted on an order addressing the issues raised in its Quadrennial Review of its multiple ownership rules , and that the decision largely left those rules unchanged (including the broad ban on the cross-ownership of daily newspapers and broadcast stations ), no final decision on the review has yet been released. Taking steps to encourage minority ownership is also on the table in this proceeding.

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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 ).

FCC Seeks Comment on Another Request for Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations Above 25%

Broadcast Law Blog

Recently, we wrote about two cases seeking declaratory rulings from the FCC that non-US ownership of companies owning broadcast stations should be permitted even though that ownership would exceed the 25% standard that had been, until that last few years, the limit on such ownership. Last week, the FCC announced the filing of another such request – this one by Hemisphere Media Group looking to operate Spanish-language stations in the US.

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).

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November FCC Meeting to be an Important One for Broadcasters – FCC Releases Draft Orders on ATSC 3.0 and Ownership Rule Revisions

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, we previewed the FCC’s likely decision to significantly change its ownership rules for television owners – proposing to take actions including allowing TV duopolies in markets with fewer than 8 independent TV voices after the combination, allowing some combination of the Top 4 TV stations in certain markets, repealing the radio-TV cross-ownership rules, and repealing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibitions.

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FCC Regulation of Internet Video? – Dates Set for Comments on Treating Over-the-Top Video Providers like Cable and Satellite TV

Broadcast Law Blog

Whether to treat Internet video providers by the same rules that apply to cable and direct broadcast satellite systems is the subject of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the FCC just before Christmas, notice of which was published in the Federal Register today , setting the comment dates on the proposal. And the FCC has defined a TV channel as one comparable to what is delivered by broadcast TV. But just what video would be covered by the FCC’s proposal?

FCC Extends Filing Deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports Until March 2, 2018, But Will Require Reporting of Station Ownership as of October 1, 2017 Even By Those Who Sold Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC on Friday announced that they were extending the deadline for filing Biennial Ownership Reports by broadcasters from December 1 to March 2, 2018 to be sure that the new version of the form in the FCC’s LMS database will be up and ready to be used. The FCC will open the window for filing these ownership reports on December 1 (which was to be the deadline).

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Full Text of FCC Decision on Quadrennial Review of the Multiple Ownership Rules Released Today

Broadcast Law Blog

In the last few minutes, the FCC has released its order on the Quadrennial Review of its multiple ownership rules , about which we wrote last week. AM Radio EEO Compliance/Diversity FM Radio Multiple Ownership Rules Television quadrennial review of FCC ownership rulesThe decision is available here , and includes dissenting opinions from the two Republican commissioners and a concurring statement from Commissioner Clyburn.

Appeals Court Tells FCC to Finalize Multiple Ownership Review, Throws Out TV JSA Attribution, and Questions Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban

Broadcast Law Blog

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued an opinion faulting the FCC for not completing any required review of its broadcast ownership rules since the 2006 review was completed in 2007. These reviews of its ownership rules, now done as “ Quadrennial Reviews ” every four years, but previously required to be done biennially, have been the subject of much judicial review and delay in the past 9 years. The Court has put pressure on the FCC to finalize that review.

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Undoing the Past – New FCC Rescinds Rulings on Noncommercial Ownership Reports, Political Broadcasting Sponsorship Disclosure and Shared Services Agreements

Broadcast Law Blog

With the change in administration at the FCC, there are opportunities for certain actions to be taken very quickly, without going through the full process of a rulemaking requiring public notice of the proposed rule change and time for public comment. Noncommercial licensees had objected to these requirements as they could be seen as invasive by Board members of public institutions that hold FCC licenses – especially by Board members at state universities.

FCC Extends Comment Deadline in Multiple Ownership Proceeding and Issues Updated Statistics on Minority Ownership of Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has extended the time for filing comments in its ownership proceeding. While comments on the new Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules had been set to be filed by July 7 (see our article here ), the Commission has now extended the deadline until August 6 at the request of the Coalition for Smaller Market Television Stations, which wanted more time to develop additional comments, particularly on the issue of shared services agreements.

FCC to Eliminate Need for Social Security Numbers from Board Members of Noncommercial Licensees for Biennial Ownership Report

Broadcast Law Blog

Last week, we wrote about two of the three broadcast items to be considered at the FCC meeting on April 20. The third item, also related to noncommercial licensees, is the resolution of the long-simmering dispute about whether or not to require that those individuals with attributable interests in noncommercial broadcast stations – officers and board members – to provide their Social Security Numbers or other personal information to the FCC to obtain an FCC Registration Number – an FRN.

FCC’s Decision on the Quadrennial Review of the Multiple Ownership Rules – Part 1 – Radio Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s Order released at the end of August deciding the issues in its Quadrennial Review of its ownership rules is over 100 pages long. For TV, it declines to change the local ownership rules , readopts the decision to make Joint Sales Agreements into attributable interests (thus effectively banning them in many markets, though making some tweaks to the grandfathering of existing JSAs), and adopts new rules for reporting shared services agreements.

FCC Suspends Rolling Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Report Deadlines – But All Noncommercial Stations to File Form 323-E by December 1, 2017

Broadcast Law Blog

In the last year, noncommercial broadcast stations , both radio and TV, have been filing their Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323-E every other year, on the anniversary date of the filing of their license renewal applications. The FCC on Tuesday issued a Public Notice suspending the anniversary date filings in 2017 – but all noncommercial broadcasters still will need to file a report next year – by the uniform December 1 filing deadline.

Reconsideration of FCC Order on UHF Discount Published in the Federal Register – Starts Clock on Comments and Consideration of the Multiple Ownership Rules by a Republican-Led FCC

Broadcast Law Blog

While several parties went to Court to challenge the FCC’s decision ending the UHF discount , one broadcaster decided instead to ask for reconsideration. The FCC ended that discount in September (see our summary here ), finding that in a digital world, UHF channels were no longer inferior to VHF ones. Given that most TV stations are operating on the UHF band after the digital conversion, the FCC determined that the discount was not justified in the current television marketplace.

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What’s Up in Washington For Broadcasters in 2014? — Part 1, FCC Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

With so many issues on the table, we’ll divide the issues into two parts – talking about FCC issues today, and issues from Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington’s alphabet soup of regulatory agencies in the near future. Each January, we publish a list of issues for the coming year, and it is not always the case that these issues make it to the top of various piles (literal or figurative) that sit in various offices at the FCC.

Appeal Date Set for Changes in FCC Rules for Biennial Ownership Reports – Why Many College and University Licensees are Concerned

Broadcast Law Blog

The changes in the FCC’s rules for Biennial Ownership Reports on FCC Form 323 were today published in the Federal Register. We summarized the changes in the requirements here – changes that include putting noncommercial stations on the same schedule as commercial stations (filing on December 1 of odd-numbered years) and requiring that all licensees obtain, for every person or entity with an attributable interest, an FCC Registration Number (an “FRN” ).

FCC Sets Comment Dates on Proposal to Relax Restrictions on Foreign Ownership in Companies Holding US Broadcast Station Licenses – What Is the FCC Proposing?

Broadcast Law Blog

In Friday’s Federal Register, the FCC published a summary of the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to revise its policies regarding the ownership of broadcast stations by non-US citizens setting the date for comments on its proposal of December 21 , with Reply Comments being due by January 20. The NPRM suggests that the FCC will use for broadcasting, with some modifications, the procedures that it uses in assessing foreign ownership of non-broadcast FCC licensees.

FCC Seeks More Comments on the Effect of Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership on Minority Ownership of Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

It looks like the FCC''s long-delayed multiple ownership proceeding won''t be decided this summer. The FCC has asked for public comment on the report submitted by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council ("MMTC") addressing the likely impact on minority ownership of broadcast stations of allowing more media cross-ownership. So this report was commissioned by MMTC, an organization dedicated to promoting minority ownership in all media.

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February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports and Comments on Ownership, EEO and Copyright Issues

Broadcast Law Blog

While there is a new administration in charge at the FCC, there are still those regular regulatory dates that broadcasters must face, as well as dates unique to pending proceedings that arise from time to time. We wrote about FCC Mid-Term Reports here. Comments are also due in various FCC proceedings of importance to broadcasters. We would also expect to see more action on the FCC’s incentive auction , as the “clearing target” for the reverse auction has been met.

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Broadcast Law Blog

September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In the tentative agenda for that meeting released on Thursday , the FCC identified several issues that deal with the media including two big items on video issues – the decision as to what to do about the Commission’s proposals to open the cable set top box to competing systems, and a new proposal designed to promote sources of independent programming for video distributors.

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FCC Chairman Releases Summary of Media Ownership Reform Proposals – Little Change in Existing Ownership Rules, Reinstatement of JSA Ban

Broadcast Law Blog

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week released a “fact sheet” setting out a summary of the draft order now circulating among the FCC Commissioners for review and possible approval. This order, if adopted, would resolve the Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s ownership rules. As we wrote here , the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently pushed the FCC to quickly resolve this proceeding. Multiple Ownership Rules

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FCC Approves Up to 49% Foreign Ownership of Univision – What Guidance is Provided to Potential Foreign Investors in US Broadcast Stations?

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling permitting certain identified foreign companies and individuals to own up to 40% of the voting interests in Univision, and allowed aggregate foreign ownership of up to 49% of the equity of the company. Even though the FCC looked to the new rules for guidance, the final conditions look much like those imposed on Pandora.

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FCC Sets December 2 Deadline for Filing 2015 Biennial Ownership Reports for Commercial Broadcast Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today released an Order setting December 2 as the date for the filing of FCC Form 323 Ownership Reports by commercial broadcast stations. While the report is technically supposed to be filed by November 1 every other year, that date has routinely been extended as the FCC form is far more complicated to complete for many licensees than are the normal ownership reports that are filed after station purchases and sales (see for instance, this article two years ago).

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FCC Order on Biennial Ownership Requirements – All Broadcasters, Commercial and Noncommercial, Need to Start Collecting Information from Attributable Owners and Directors for Next Year’s Filing

Broadcast Law Blog

In an order released last month which has not received much attention, the FCC clarified its requirements for the filing of Biennial Ownership Reports. We earlier wrote here about the FCC’s proposals in this proceeding (including the dazzling use of acronyms for various kinds of identification numbers assigned to attributable owners). Thus, in the recent decision, the FCC decided that SUFRNs will no longer be allowed (except in very rare cases described below).

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FCC Extends Reply Comment Deadline in Multiple Ownership Proceeding

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has extended to April 17 the date by which Reply Comments must be filed in the Commission's multiple ownership proceeding. This proceeding is examining all of the FCC's ownership rules, and specifically proposes abolition of the radio-television cross-ownership rule and liberalization of the rules limiting the common ownership of broadcast stations and daily newspapers.

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FCC to Consider Allowing Increased Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations at Its November Meeting

Broadcast Law Blog

At its November 14 meeting, the FCC is tentatively scheduled to consider the relaxation of its limits on the ownership of broadcast stations by foreign entities or citizens. Under the current “ alien ownership ” limitations, US citizens or entities must own 80% of a broadcast licensee, or 75% of a licensee’s parent company. In the broadcast world, the 25% alien ownership limit must be analyzed both as to equity and voting interests.

Court Tells FCC to Give More Consideration to Newspaper-Broadcast Cross Ownership Rules and to Policies to Promote Broadcast Ownership By Minorities

Broadcast Law Blog

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has once again questioned the FCC's determinations on broadcast ownership issues. In a decision just published, Prometheus Radio Project v FCC , the Court reviewed the FCC's 2007 actions relaxing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules and adopting policies to increase diversity in broadcast ownership. The discussion of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules was entirely procedural.

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Court Rejects Stay on FCC’s Reinstatement of UHF Discount – Does it Mean TV Ownership Consolidation is in the Clear?

Broadcast Law Blog

Yesterday, in a very short one page decision, the US Court of Appeals rejected the requests filed by public interest groups to stay the effect of the FCC’s decision to reinstate the UHF discount (see our article here about some of the issues involved in this stay request, and our article here about the reinstatement of the UHF discount by the current FCC). Digital Television Multiple Ownership Rules Television TV consolidation UHF discount

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