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.

Irving Azoff Song Licensing Outfit Gains Edge in Antitrust Battle With Radio Stations

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

A magistrate judge potentially deals a blow to some 10,000 radio stations fighting licensing demands over songs by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Bruno Mars, among other superstars. read more. THR, Esq. Business Music Business THR Online

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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. Very recently, the FCC approved investment by a Cayman Islands based fund of more than 5%, up to 49%, of the ownership in Pandora (which owns a company that holds a radio station). AM Radio FM Radio Multiple Ownership Rules Public Interest Obligations/Localism Television alien ownership foreign ownership of US broadcast stations

NAB Details Radio Stations that Could be Affected by Repacking of the TV Band

Broadcast Law Blog

One of the lesser highlighted concerns of the repacking of the TV band into channels 36 and below following the recent incentive auction has been the impact of the repacking on radio stations. As TV stations need to shuffle channels to fit into the smaller TV band as the upper TV channels are repurposed for wireless uses, there will be many situations where there will be tower climbers and other tower work to accomplish the required TV channel changes.

Incentive Auction Developments – Payments to TV Stations Giving Up Their Spectrum Announced and Bill Introduced to Provide More Funds for Repacking Reimbursement for TV, Radio and LPTV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Developments continue, with the FCC yesterday issuing a Public Notice announcing that stations that relinquished their spectrum in the incentive auction will be receiving their payouts from the proceeds of the auction – with such payouts beginning immediately as they can be processed by the Treasury Department. The Public Notice also details the process for these stations to cease operating on their current channels.

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FCC Releases Tutorial on FM Translator Auction Window for AM Stations – Clarifies that AM Buyers Can File Applications

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released an online tutorial for the upcoming windows for filing for FM translators for AM stations. The first window will run from July 26 until 6 pm ET on August 2, where Class C and D AM stations that did not receive a translator in last year’s 250-mile waiver windows can file for a new FM translator to rebroadcast their AM station. AM Radio FM Translators and LPFM AM on FM translators FM translators for AM stations

FCC To Hold Hearing to Determine Whether to Deny License Renewal of Radio Station that was Silent for Most of its License Term

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday took what some may suggest is an unprecedented action to potentially deny the license renewal of an FM broadcast station that was silent for all but one day each year during its license renewal term. As the FCC points out, if the station is not operating, it cannot fulfill the obligation of a licensee to serve the public interest.

Update: Comment Dates Set on Prometheus Petition for Reconsideration of Relaxation of Siting Rules for FM Translators Rebroadcasting AM Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Earlier this week, we wrote about a number of proceedings affecting FM translators , including the Petition for Reconsideration (available here ) of the FCC decision relaxing the rules governing the locations at which AM stations using FM translators to rebroadcast their signal can locate those translators (see our summary here ). As many AM stations with FM translators have already filed applications relying on the new rules, there are bound to be oppositions to this petition.

First Window for New FM Translators for AM Stations to Open July 26

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC released a Public Notice announcing that its window for Class C and D AM stations to file for new FM translators to rebroadcast their stations will open on July 26. We know that the window will be open to any AM station that did not acquire a translator using a 250 mile waiver in last year’s translator window. AM Radio FM Translators and LPFM 250 mile waiver for translators AM on FM translators FM translators for AM stations

FM Translators for AM Stations – Now that the Filing Window is Done, What’s Next?

Broadcast Law Blog

The window for filing applications for new FM translators for Class C and D AM stations has now closed. According to a statement from FCC Chairman Pai , over 1000 AM stations took advantage of the filing window. One would think that this will happen principally in spectrum-congested markets where there are multiple AM stations eligible for the auction, but few available channels for translators.

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. AM Radio FCC Fines FM Radio General FCC Television FCC rulesbook at station Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative

Announcement of FCC Window for AM Stations to File For New FM Translators Coming Very Soon

Broadcast Law Blog

At the NAB Convention, Chairman Pai announced that the promised windows for AM stations to apply for new FM translators would open this summer (see our article here ). The first will be for Class C and D AM stations. Once those applications have been filed, a second window will open for Class A and B AM stations. Stations that acquired translators through other means can still apply for a new translator in this window.

Long Periods of Silence Can Jeopardize a Station’s License – $5000 Fine and Short-Term Renewal Given to a Station that had Been Silent for Extended Periods

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released last week , the FCC made clear that stations that have long periods in which they are not operated (perhaps being put back into operation for a day or two every year to avoid the automatic cancellation of their licenses) are not operating in the public interest , and are putting their license in jeopardy. AM Radio FCC Fines FM Radio General FCC License Renewal Public Interest Obligations/Localism short term license renewal silent station

FCC Changes in Rules on Computation of Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations Now Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

In fact, as we wrote here , the FCC has even allowed 100% ownership of a privately-held company with broadcast interests – where a husband and wife team from Australia purchased a number of primarily radio stations in Alaska and Texas. With the new rules now effective, the opportunity for more foreign investment in US broadcast stations is highlighted once again.

FCC Details Window for LPTV Stations and TV Translators Displaced by the Incentive Auction to Seek New Channels

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC last week released a Public Notice describing the process for the filing of applications for replacement channels for LPTV stations and TV translators that are displaced by the incentive auction. As the announcement of the window will give LPTV and translator stations 60 days to prepare applications, and the window itself will last 30 days, it looks like we are looking at displacement applications being due late in the first quarter of 2018.

What’s Next for TV Stations Repacked as a Result of the Incentive Auction? – Recent Flurry of FCC Announcements

Broadcast Law Blog

As the repacking of the TV band proceeds after the Incentive Auction , the FCC has issued some guidance as to what comes next for TV stations. Obviously, in the near future, TV stations that agreed to surrender their spectrum in the auction will get notice from the FCC to expect their payments from the proceeds collected from the wireless companies that purchased the repackaged surrendered TV spectrum.

Radio Station Being Silent Too Long Brings FCC Sanction – How Long Can a Broadcast Station Be off the Air Before It Causes Trouble at License Renewal Time?

Broadcast Law Blog

In a decision released yesterday , the FCC proposed to fine a station and gave it a short-term license renewal as the station could not demonstrate that it had served the needs and interests of its community. Because the station had been silent for much of the renewal term – only turning on for a short time every now and then – enough to avoid having its license cancelled for being silent for more than a year.

New FCC EEO Audit Letter Sent to 280 Radio and TV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Letters to over 280 affected radio and TV stations went out late last week, and the FCC’s Public Notice of the audit, listing all of the affected stations, has just been released. Responses from the audited stations are due to be filed at the FCC by March 31. Licensees should review the list of affected stations carefully to see if any of your stations are on the list. It is a new year, and the FCC is starting with a new round of EEO audits.

List of Mutually Exclusive Applications for FM Translators to Rebroadcast AM Stations Released By FCC – Settlement Window Through November 29

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice providing the details for its settlement window for mutually exclusive applications for new FM translators to rebroadcast AM stations. These applications were the ones filed earlier this summer in the FCC’s first window reserved for AM station licensees to file for new FM translators to rebroadcast their AM stations as part of the FCC’s AM revitalization proceeding.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC’s public notice announcing the commencement of the audit includes the audit letter that was sent to all of the targeted stations. The list of over 200 radio stations subject to the audit is here. The list of almost 80 TV stations is here. As employment information for all stations within a named station’s “employment unit” must be provided in response to the audit, the reach of this notice goes far beyond the 300 stations targeted in the audit notices.

FCC Announces EEO Audit of Over 250 Radio and TV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Letters to over 250 radio and TV stations went out asking for evidence of their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. The Commission has pledged to audit 5% of all broadcast stations and cable systems each year to assure their compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules – requiring wide dissemination of information about job openings and non-vacancy specific supplemental efforts to educate their communities about job opportunities in the media industry.

FCC Announces First Round of 2016 EEO Audits for Radio and TV Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Letters to about 280 radio and television stations went out on February 24 asking for evidence of their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. In today’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 April 11. AM Radio EEO Compliance/Diversity FM Radio Television annual EEO public file report FCC EEO audit station employment unit

FCC Proposes to Adopt Rules Allowing Fundraising for Third-Party Nonprofit Organizations By Non-CPB Noncommercial Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

A noncommercial station can raise funds for nonprofit groups during normal program breaks in PSAs or other similar brief announcements, but under current policy, they cannot conduct a telethon or radiothon to raise funds for the Red Cross, a local charity, a religious organization or even for the football team or orchestra at a college or university that owns a noncommercial broadcast station.

FCC EEO Audit List Released – 58 Radio Stations on the List

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC today released its most recent EEO audit letter for broadcasters – and it is a relatively brief list – just one page with 58 radio stations listed (compare this with the last audit that targeted about 280 radio and TV stations, see our article here ). The FCC’s public notice includes the audit letter that was sent to all of the targeted stations. The FCC reminds stations that were targeted by the audit to put a copy of the audit letter in their public file.

Incentive Auction Next Step – FCC Identifies Auction-Eligible Stations and Requires All TV Stations to File Information on Technical Facilities by July 9

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC just took another step toward the TV incentive auction, and set one of the first of what will no doubt be many deadlines for stations to meet as part of the process. The FCC released a list of all stations that they find to be eligible to participate in the incentive auction. These are also the stations that will be protected in the post-auction repacking of the television spectrum if their licenses are not surrendered as part of the auction process.

Want a New FM Station? FCC Proposes FM Auction in July, Lists Channels to be Sold, and Imposes a Freeze on Certain Applications

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC has announced that it plans to hold an auction to award construction permits allowing the winners to build new FM radio stations. The FCC’s freeze on applications that could impact these new stations is in place until the winning bidders file their post-auction applications. If you are interested in starting a station from scratch, look through this list of channels to see if there are opportunities for a construction permit for a new station in an area of interest.

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. So the change in the rules allowing noncommercial stations to raise funds for third party non-profit organizations is now in effect.

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

Broadcast Law Blog

This decision noted that it was based not on the new rules for analyzing foreign ownership in broadcast stations approved by the Commission in late September (see our summary here ), as those rules were not yet effective as they were only published in the Federal Register last month and certain aspects still needed to undergo analysis under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Reminder: October 31 Last Day to Seek 250 Mile Waiver for FM Translators Moves to Rebroadcast AM Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

All this year, the FCC has been busy processing applications by AM broadcasters to buy an FM translator or a translator construction permit , and to move the translator as much as 250 miles to rebroadcast an AM station. These translator moves have been very successful for many AM stations, giving them an opportunity to put their programming on an FM channel in their market for the first time.

FCC Makes Clear It Doesn't Regulate Formats - Rejects Petition Against Sale of Noncommercial Station

Broadcast Law Blog

The sale of a noncommercial radio station is often controversial, especially when it's clear that the format of the station will change after the transfer. In a decision released last week denying a Petition to Deny challenging the application for the sale of KTRU, the noncommercial radio station owned by Rice University, the FCC again made clear that they are not in the business of regulating the formats of broadcast stations.

L.A. Weatherman Sues CBS Stations For Hiring Young, Attractive Women

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

Matthew Belloni Kyle Hunter has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against CBS Broadcasting and its stations KCBS and KCAL. read more. THR, Esq. THR, Esq. Television Television

Broadcast Stations Going Dark - Issues to Think About

Broadcast Law Blog

Each day, there seems to be a report about broadcast stations going off the air because of the current economic downturn - some permanently (witness several Montana full-power television stations formerly owned by Equity Broadcasting whose licenses were surrendered two weeks ago), some temporary, and some being given away to charity (like Clear Channel's announcement of its donation of 4 AM stations to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council ).

FCC Asks for Formal Comments on Next-Generation of Television, and Approves Greater Use of FM Translators By AM Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

This order expands the area in which FM translators can be operated to rebroadcast an AM station. FM translators for AM stationsAt its meeting yesterday, the FCC took two big actions affecting broadcasters. First, it approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to adopt a transition plan for television broadcasters to move to the new ATSC 3.0 standard.

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. A station employment unit is one or more commonly-controlled stations serving substantially the same area, and sharing at least one employee. The FCC yesterday issued a reminder to stations about this obligation.

FCC Chairman Pai Promotes Transparency – Releases Draft Orders on Next-Generation TV and FM Translators for AM Stations – What Will Be Considered for Radio at February FCC Meeting?

Broadcast Law Blog

For radio, the draft order would permit an expansion of the area in which an FM translator rebroadcasting an AM station can be located. Under current rules, the 1 mv/m contour of translator must be entirely contained within the lesser of the daytime 2 mv/m contour of the AM station or within a circle with a 25 mile radius from the AM transmitter site.

FCC Releases Instructions for Window for AM Stations to File for FM Translators and Announces Translator Filing Freeze – Pay Attention to the Details!

Broadcast Law Blog

Late yesterday, the FCC released the Public Notice setting out the instructions for the upcoming window for Class C and D AM stations to file for new FM translators. This may be to preserve some channels for applicants in the next window – one to be announced in the future for all AM stations (including Class A and B AM stations) to file for new translators. AM Radio FM Translators and LPFM 250 mile waiver for translators AM translators FM translators for AM stations

Request Filed with the FCC to Stay Effective Date of New Liberalized Rules on the Location of FM Translators for AM Stations

Broadcast Law Blog

Prometheus Radio Project, an advocacy group which has been active in lobbying for the interests of LPFM applicants and licensees, has asked that the FCC stay the April 10 effective date of the new rules liberalizing the location in which FM translators serving AM stations can locate (see its petition here ). Their allegation is that the moves by these translators will “box in” LPFM stations at their current site.

TV Station Agrees to $55,000 Payment for EAS Tones Used in Promotional Announcement

Broadcast Law Blog

The FCC yesterday announced a consent decree with TEGNA, the licensee of a television station in Jacksonville, Florida, which used simulated EAS tones in a promotional announcement for the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. According to the consent decree, the station ran the announcement only 4 times. It was apparently produced by the team and inserted into the station’s master control without review.

FCC Approves Expansion of Use of FM Translators By AM Stations – But Warns Broadcasters Not to Jump the Gun and File Before New Rules Become Effective

Broadcast Law Blog

As we wrote last week, the FCC approved the expanded use of FM translators by AM stations – allowing their use anywhere within a 25-mile radius of their AM transmitter site, or within the 2 mv/m contour of the AM station – whichever is greater. The current rule restricts that will be replaced limit FM translator use to the lesser of the 2 mv/m contour or the 25-mile radius for the AM station.