Posts Tagged ‘auctions’

    FCC Releases Draft AM Revitalization Order to Simplify Proofs of Performance

    Last week, the FCC released a draft of an order to simplify the proofing of AM stations . This order will be considered at the FCC’s September 26 meeting. While the proposals to be adopted are part of the AM Revitalization proceeding, even the Commission recognizes that these are not fundamental changes in the way that stations operate, but instead technical changes that can, hopefully, save some AM stations some money. The FCC also noted that it was removing proposals for changes in the AM main studio rules from the AM Revitalization proceeding as these changes are already being considered in the proceeding proposing to entirely eliminate the main studio rules (see our post here ).

    Recordkeeping Rules for Third-Party Fundraising by Noncommercial Broadcasters to be Effective November 13, 2017

    In July, we wrote about the effective date of the FCC’s new rules allowing non-CPB noncommercial stations to interrupt their normal programming to raise funds for third-party charitable and non-profit organizations (we wrote here about the decision itself), for up to 1% of their total airtime. In July, we noted that the new rules on the recordkeeping requirements about these fundraising efforts had not yet gone into effect, as they needed to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Yesterday’s Federal Register announced that this approval has been received, and the paperwork rules will go into effect on November 13. The new rules require on-air disclosures at the beginning and end of any fundraising appeal where the station tells its audience that the money is going to a third-party, not to the station. That announcement must be made at least hourly for longer fund-raising appeals.

    Washington Issues for TV Broadcasters – Where Things Stand at the FCC

    There is never a shortage of Washington issues for broadcasters to consider, and the rapid pace of change since the new administration took over in January has made it even more difficult to track where all the issues stand. While we try on this Blog to write about many of the DC issues for broadcasters, we can’t always address everything that is happening. Every few months, 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 the latest version, published last week, is available on their website, here

    FCC Issues Guidance for Broadcasters and Other Regulated Services in the Path of Hurricane Irma

    The FCC has issued a series of public notices to broadcasters and other FCC regulated entities in the path of Hurricane Irma. General guidance was issued by the FCC, here , discussing how stations can get special temporary authority to operate with facilities different than those specified in their licenses by email or even by telephone during the emergency. This may be particularly important if stations towers or antennas are damaged by the storm and, to continue service, stations need to use alternate facilities. During the recent Texas Hurricane harvey, the FCC even issued some daytime only AM stations authority to temporarily operate with nighttime operations where they were providing emergency information. If STAs are needed, the public notice provides information about where to call or email The FCC has also activated its Disaster Information Reporting System for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico , and is likely to extend it to portions of Florida in the near future

    FCC Issues Draft Proposal To Revoke Rule Requiring Physical Copy of FCC Rules at All Broadcast Stations

    We yesterday wrote about Chairman Pai’s promise to start the process of modernizing media regulation by abolishing a simple but outdated rule – one requiring that each broadcast station have a physical copy of the FCC rules on the station premises. Yesterday, the FCC released a draft of their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement that change in the rules. That draft will be considered at the FCC meeting later this month (on September 26), after which a final copy of the NPRM will be released, and later published in the Federal Register setting formal comment dates. It is a very small step toward the modernization of media regulation sought by the Chairman, but a step nevertheless.  

    FCC Regulatory Fees Due By September 26

    The FCC late yesterday released an Order setting the amount of FY2017 Annual Regulatory fees, along with a public notice setting September 26 as the deadline for those fees. Reg fees may be paid now through September 26. If not paid by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on that date, penalties of 25% will be assessed. In addition, applications by any licensee that has not paid its fees may be held by the Commission without action until the fees are paid, and can even end up resulting in a license cancellation in cases where the failure is a long-term unresolved issue. The public notice also makes clear that fees can only be paid by electronic transfer of funds.

    FCC Extends Filing Deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports Until March 2, 2018, But Will Require Reporting of Station Ownership as of October 1, 2017…

    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). However, the reports will still report on the ownership of each broadcast station as of October 1, 2017, meaning that station owners who sell their station between October 1 and the new deadline are being told by the FCC that they will need to file their own biennial reports – even if they no longer own any broadcast stations.

    Remember FCC Rules on Underwriting Limitations – And that They Don’t Apply to Spots Bought By Nonprofit Entities

    Last week, the FCC reached a consent decree with a noncommercial broadcaster, where the broadcaster paid an $8000 penalty for, among other things, running underwriting spots that were too promotional. While the consent decree and its implementing order provide no details on the underwriting violations by the broadcaster, we can assume that the broadcaster ran spots that somehow crossed the line – giving price information about a sponsor’s products, or including a call to action suggesting that listeners somehow patronize the sponsor, or making qualitative claims about the sponsor or its products or services. We have written about similar violations many times (see, for instance, our articles here , here , here , here  and here ) and I have conducted seminars for numerous noncommercial broadcasting organizations talking about specifics as to what is permitted in underwriting acknowledgements and what will get a noncommercial station into trouble (see for instance, the presentations mentioned here and here ).

    More and More Actions on Pirate Radio – What is Next?

    It seems like virtually every day, the FCC announces that it has sent numerous Notices to pirate radio operators warning them that their operations are illegal and that, if the operations do not cease, legal penalties may follow. Yesterday, the FCC released ten such Notices, including ones sent to operators of pirate radio stations themselves (see notices here and here ) and to the owners of buildings in which pirate radio operations have been tracked (see notices here and here ). These Notices have been common over the past several months, seemingly signaling a new focus on pirate radio operations by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau

    Effective Date for Elimination of Last Remnant of Rule on Keeping Correspondence in Broadcast Public Inspection File

    Earlier this year, the FCC eliminated the requirement that broadcasters maintain, in their public inspection files, copies of letters from the public about station operations (see our article summarizing that action here ). One aspect of that rule change did not become immediately effective, as it was subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act, was the elimination of the requirement that television broadcasters report, in their license renewal applications, about letters complaining about violent television programming. The elimination of that requirement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow , and that will trigger the effective date of that part of the rule change – making that total elimination of all obligations to retain letters from the public in the public inspection file.

    September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack…

    Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for which broadcasters need to be prepared. For commercial broadcasters, the September date that should be on everyone’s mind is the deadline for the payment of annual regulatory fees . As we wrote here , there is an FCC order circulating among the Commissioners that should be released any day, setting the amounts of the regulatory fees and the deadline for their payment

    Reminder – ETRS Form One to be Filed by August 27 By All EAS Participants – Including Broadcasters – In Anticipation of September Nationwide EAS…

    All EAS Participants – including all full-power broadcasters – must complete the 2017 ETRS Form One on or before August 28, 2017.  We wrote about this obligation here . The filing deadline was set for next week as the ETRS system is used so that stations can report on the results of nationwide EAS tests. With the next Nationwide EAS Test set for September 27 , the accounts and basic information for all EAS participants need to be in the system to allow for that reporting.

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