Posts Tagged ‘emergency’

What to Do With the On-Air Employee Who Becomes a Candidate for Elective Office?

It seems like about this time as we begin to near the end of the year that broadcasters contemplate their future. And it seems like that brings many to contemplate moving from behind the microphone to being in front of it – by running for public office. Perhaps because next year will likely be a very active one with Congressional elections and lowest price viagra elections in many states, I have had a number of calls from broadcasters in the last few weeks asking what they should do with the on-air employee who is contemplating making that move by jumping into politics. We have written about this issue many times before, including coverage of when well-known local or national personalities have contemplated runs for office – see our stories here , here and here . In 2010, we wrote an article that provided a discussion of this issue, which remains valid today, and which I edited and reposted in 2016 here . An updated version of that article is below

Reminder: Repacking Transition Progress Report Must Be Filed by Repacked TV Stations by October 10

The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice ( available here ) reminding all TV stations (including Class A TV stations) that are changing channels as a result of the TV incentive auction, including those receiving compensation from auction payments for moving from UHF to VHF channels, that they must file their first quarterly Transition Progress Report no later than October 10, 2017 .  The reports should be filed on FCC Form 2100 – Schedule 387, which is now available by logging in to the FCC’s Licensing and Management System ( https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/login.html ).  The Transition Progress Report form just became available in LMS this week. Additional reports will be due on the 10 th of the month following the end of each calendar quarter, with additional reports due closer to the station’s Phase Assignment and after completing the transition.

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 ).

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

More on Media Deregulation – Chairman Pai Speaks to NAB Radio Show and Promises to Propose the Repeal of a Rule Each Month

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spoke on Wednesday at the opening lunch at the NAB Radio Show in Austin, promising more moves to bring media regulation in line with the realities of the modern media marketplace. In his speech, the text of which is available here , the Chairman promised several actions including the following: A monthly Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggesting a media rule change prompted by suggestions made in the Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding we wrote about here and here . The first proposal for deregulation coming for the September FCC meeting is a modest one, probably chosen as symbolic of the rules that are outdated and unnecessary – the proposal being to eliminate the rule that requires that a broadcaster have a hard copy of the FCC rules at their station. While not a rule that is ever enforced, it is still notable in that the proposal is being advanced only about a month after the end of the comment period on Media Modernization and illustrates a rule that clearly is unnecessary in a day when any broadcaster can access any FCC rule at any time via the Internet. The Chairman stated that he had reviewed the comments in the proceeding to abolish the rules requiring main studios for all broadcast stations, and he concluded that these rules were no longer necessary and would be presenting an Order to implement their abolition before the end of the year.

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 ).

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.

Complaints Filed Against TV Stations for Public File Violations on Political Issue Ads

Earlier this week, the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, two political “watchdog” organizations, filed FCC complaints against two Georgia TV stations, alleging violations of the rules that govern the documents that need to be placed into a station’s public inspection file regarding political “issue advertising” (see their press release here , with links to the complaints at the bottom of the release). FCC rules require that stations place into their public files information concerning any advertising dealing with controversial issues of public importance including the list of the sponsoring organization’s chief executive officers or directors. Section 315 of the Communications Act requires that, when those issues are “matters of national importance,” the station must put into their public file additional information similar to the information that they include in their file for candidate ads, including the specifics of the schedule for the ads including price information and an identification of the issue to which the ad is directed. The complaints allege that, while the stations included this additional information in their public file, the form that was in the public file stated that the sponsors of the ads did not consider the issues to be ads that addressed a matter of national importance, despite the fact that they addressed candidates involved in the recent highly contested election for an open Congressional seat in the Atlanta suburbs.

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