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Updated 2017-10-20 19:36
Mark Your Calendar for the 28th Annual FCBA Charity Auction
It’s that time again – time to get dressed to the nines for a night of bidding, imbibing, and banter all for a good cause. Pull up your calendars and mark Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 for the 28th Annual FCBA Charity Auction hosted by the FCBA Young Lawyers Committee. This event is the place to...… Continue Reading
Initial Reimbursement Allocations Announced for Repack Expenses
On Oct. 16, 2017, the Incentive Auction Task Force and the FCC’s Media Bureau jointly announced the initial allocation from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Relocation Fund) for the reimbursement of eligible full power and Class A television stations as well as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) (Eligible Entities) impacted by the Incentive Auction. The...… Continue Reading
Reminder: FREE Upcoming CPB Compliance Webinar
This is a reminder to not snooze on next week’s CPB compliance webinar! On Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth’s CPB Compliance guru Bob Winteringham will present a FREE one-hour webinar to help you navigate the twists and turns of CPB compliance. You can register for the webinar, for free, via this...… Continue Reading
Limited Registration Period for .RADIO Domain Names Ends Oct.31, 2017 – The Time to Register Is Now!
Now until Oct. 31, 2017, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is offering a “Special Limited Registration Period” – a pre-launch opportunity for the registration of .RADIO domain names by radio broadcasters, radio professional, radio amateurs, Internet radios, and radio-related companies. Call letters, corporate names, on-air personality names, and even slogans can all be registered as...… Continue Reading
Now Available: Online Public Inspection Files Webinar
With the March 1, 2018 Online Public Inspection File deadline for mid-sized and smaller market (and non-commercial) radio stations approaching, Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Steve Lovelady recently presented a webinar to help industry professionals navigate through the online filing process. In collaboration with Colorado Broadcasters Association, Montero and Lovelady spoke on a...… Continue Reading
Reminder: FREE Online Public Inspection Files Refresher Course Webinar
This is a reminder that tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 12th at 12:00 p.m. EDT, Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Steve Lovelady in partnership with Colorado Broadcasters Association, will present a FREE webinar entitled “Online Public Inspection Files: A Refresher Webinar.” You can register for the webinar, for FREE, via this link. While 2017 isn’t...… Continue Reading
The FCC Seeks Comment on 911 Access in Enterprise Communications Systems
Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on a variety of issues related to 911 capabilities and Enterprise Communications Systems (ECS). While you may not be familiar with the term “Enterprise Communications Systems,” you are certainly familiar with the concept. As the FCC’s NOI explains, ECS are telecommunications systems that...… Continue Reading
Autonomous Vehicles, 2.0: A Conversation with George Soodoo
The Trump Administration recently took some major steps toward providing a regulatory framework that encourages the safe development, testing, and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Several weeks ago, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao released Automated Driving Systems 2.0 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a document aimed at supporting automotive industry innovators in the...… Continue Reading
Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth Joins Competitive Carriers Association
October 2, 2017– Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications, and broadcasting law firm, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth (“FHH”), today announced it is a new member of Competitive Carriers Association. FHH provides comprehensive legal services for the technology, telecommunications, and media industries, partnering with clients on transformative deals and innovative solutions to cutting-edge business issues and regulatory concerns. FHH...… Continue Reading
Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for Wednesday, September 27
ETRS Form 2 Due Same Day (Except for Hurricane-Impacted EAS Participants) Assuming that it is not delayed due to a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC are still scheduled to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Sept. 27, 2017, at 2:20 PM EDT. As we...… Continue Reading
CPB Compliance: Basic Preparedness and Recent OIG Audit Activity Webinar
Compliance has never been more important for public broadcasters. CPB regularly issues forfeitures of up to $15,000 to public broadcasting stations when the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) finds non-compliance with the provisions of the Communications Act, the terms of the CSG General Provisions, or errant NFFS reporting. Compliance, though, is more than just checking...… Continue Reading
Incentive Auction Second Priority Filing Window Opens: What to Know
On Sept. 20, the FCC announced the second filing window for all full power and Class A television stations receiving new channel assignment as part of the post-incentive auction repack. The filing window will open Oct. 3 and close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2. During this “second priority” filing window, all eligible stations...… Continue Reading
Regulatory Fee Deadline Extended for Those Affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
As readers should know by now, annual FCC Regulatory Fees are due to be paid by no later than September 26 by all FCC regulatees. However, in recognition of the havoc caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma the FCC has has extended the deadline for regulatees in the areas impacted by those storms (which the...… Continue Reading
Fall FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines
Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions. September 26, 2017 – Annual Regulatory Fees – These will be due and payable for Fiscal Year 2017, and will be based upon a licensee’s/permittee’s holdings on October 1, 2016, plus anything that might...… Continue Reading
Online Public File to Bring New Scrutiny to Issues/Programs Lists
Believe it or not, the date by which all radio stations must have their complete public files online is now less than six months away. Television stations have been dealing with this reality for several years now, as have large stations in large markets for the past couple of years. Now, every radio station, both...… Continue Reading
Busy Times Lie Ahead in Telecom as Pai Lays Out Modernization Plans
As we wrote about last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is planning to make some major overhauls at the FCC. Eight months into his term, Pai is preparing to “modernize [the FCC’s] rules to match the realities of today’s marketplace.” At this year’s National Broadcast Association’s Radio Show, Pai announced he would present to his...… Continue Reading
FCC’s September Agenda Packed with Proposed ‘Modernizations’
Main Studio and Paper Rules on the Chopping Block, AM Revitalization on the Way It’s shaping up to be a busy few months for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. And did you know September is Modernization Month? Well, at least according to Chairman Pai it is. Today, the Chairman announced a new initiative to curtail, or...… Continue Reading
FCC Activates DIRS for Second Time in Two Weeks as Irma Approaches
Just a week after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, has already hit parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This is a major storm, with wind gusts measured at 155 mph in Barbuda. This weekend Irma is set to make its way into Florida...… Continue Reading
FCC Releases Annual Regulatory Fee Order – Payments Due Sept. 26, 2017
Now that summer and beach season is over, the Commission has finally released the final listing of regulatory fees for 2017 and their due date. While it might not be as big of news as a Taylor Swift release, this is an important time for the Commission which has announced the final amounts due for...… Continue Reading
Online Public Inspection Files: A Refresher Webinar
While 2017 isn’t even close to being over yet, we’re already looking ahead at next year’s deadlines. TV stations and a large first batch of commercial radio stations have already had to move their public inspection files online. But starting on March 1st of 2018, noncommercial radio stations, as well as the remaining commercial that were...… Continue Reading
Tech Advisors to Assist FCC in Faster Approvals for New Devices
The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC) has initiated a Technical Inquiry into reforming the FCC’s technical regulations. Comprised of very smart industry engineers, academics, and other technological leaders who provide technical advice to the FCC, the TAC aims to provide useful guidance to the FCC on its technical rules and the status of emerging technologies....… Continue Reading
FCC Media Bureau Postpones Filing Deadline for Biennial Ownership Reports
The FCC on Sept. 1 postponed the due date for the submission of 2017 biennial broadcast ownership reports to the FCC until March 2, 2018. Biennial ownership reports are required to be filed every two years by all commercial and (starting this year) noncommercial AM, FM, TV, Class A, and LPTV stations and entities holding...… Continue Reading
Hello from the Other Side, I Must Have Called 21 Million Times… : To Tackle Robocalls From Illegally Spoofed Numbers, FCC Proposes Whopping $82M Fine
Earlier this month, in its war against illegal robocalling campaigns the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed another hefty fine. That is, a fine of 82 million dollars. Yikes! The target of the FCC’s wrath? Mr. Philip Roesel, who wasn’t just calling a la Adele style. Instead, Mr. Roesel is accused of both illegal robocalling in...… Continue Reading
Approaching FCC Broadcast and Telecom Filing Deadlines
Time to mark your calendars for FCC filing deadlines for broadcasting and telecommunications. Find our list of upcoming deadlines in the industry below. Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions. September 1, 2017: Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Report – Facilities-based...… Continue Reading
FCC Activates Disaster Information Reporting System Ahead of Hurricane Harvey
Even if you are not living in the direct path, you are likely aware that many areas in Louisiana and Texas are preparing for Hurricane Harvey. As local citizens prepare for a Class 3 Hurricane expected to bring dangerous flooding, wind and rain, broadcasters and other communications providers in that region will also need make...… Continue Reading
Now Available: Archived Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Webinar
With the October 1 deadline looming, FHH’s Dan Kirkpatrick and Paul Feldman held a webinar to help industry leaders navigate the waters regarding must-carry/retransmission consent. If you missed the webinar, or just want a refresher, never fear: you can catch it in re-runs. We’ve posted a recording of the show here – all audio and slides...… Continue Reading
Last of Citizens Broadband Radio Service Rules Become Final
The FCC’s rules for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) have become final, after many years in the works. No, it’s not your grandfather’s “Ten-four, good buddy” citizens band, but a high-end, super-Wi-Fi-type service that someday will serve your portable devices with fast digital signals. But don’t run down to Best Buy quite yet. The engineers are...… Continue Reading
Reminder: FREE Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Webinar Tuesday, August 22
This is a reminder that on Tuesday, August 22 from 2:00-3:15 p.m. (EDT), FHH carriage gurus Dan Kirkpatrick and Paul Feldman will present a FREE webinar entitled “Must-Carry and Retransmission Consent 2017.” Free registration for the webinar is available here. The industry faces an October 1, 2017 deadline requiring all full-power television stations to make...… Continue Reading
ETRS Form 1 Due August 28 for all EAS Participants; Requires Registration in FCC CORES System
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC have announced that a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place on September 27, 2017, at 2:20 PM EDT. As a precursor to this test, all EAS Participants (which includes most broadcast stations and cable and DBS operators) must file a “Form 1”...… Continue Reading
Commercial Radio Stations Offered Opportunity to Extend Interim License with GMR
No sooner did we report an update on the dispute between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR), do we have another update to share. Only this time, the update: (1) is less wonky/more practical, (2) is good news for commercial radio stations, and (3) requires action by affected stations. Radio...… Continue Reading
RMLC Seeks PI; Attempts to Stay in PA, Avoid CA
(As end of GMR Interim License Period Approaches, fight over GMR’s refusal to deal with Pennsylvania radio stations has implications for others around the country) We’ve written (and talked) plenty about the fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) – which represents the interests of the commercial radio industry in negotiating licenses with performing...… Continue Reading
How to Find Renewal – For Wireless Licenses
The FCC has rewritten the rules on renewing wireless radio licenses. Unlike renewing, say, a car registration, these require more than an application form and a check. The FCC also wants assurance that you have been using the license. Because if you haven’t, they want to let it expire and make room for somebody else....… Continue Reading
FCC Seeks Comment on Mid-Band Spectrum Opportunities
Being in “the middle” has historically gotten a bad rap. There’s the underappreciated “middle child,” and of course no one wants to be the unneeded “middle man.” This concept has even proven true with the Commission’s wireless spectrum policies. While the FCC has made it a priority to promote industry access to wireless spectrum, these...… Continue Reading
Independent Decisionmakers Reduce SESAC’s Commercial Radio License Rate by Tens of Millions of Dollars
(Stations will pay 60% less than old SESAC rate card) While the fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR) has captured music licensing headlines in 2016 and 2017 (including here at Commlawblog), it has previously been RMLC v. SESAC which stole the show. (Recall that until GMR came on...… Continue Reading
Save the Date for Our FREE Must-Carry/Retransmission Consent Webinar
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 – 2:00-3:15 p.m. (EDT) For all full power TV stations, October 1, 2017 is a critical deadline for electing between must-carry and retransmission consent for the next three years. What should you consider before electing must-carry or retransmission consent? What has changed in the three years since elections were last made?...… Continue Reading
Last Nail in the PTFP Coffin?
(NTIA Proposes Formal End to Public Telecom Facilities Program) The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes to repeal all of its regulations establishing and governing the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP). The PTFP was a competitive grant program that helped public broadcasting entities, state and local...… Continue Reading
Leggo Our Spectrum – The Auto Industry’s Win for Vehicular Radar
FCC Order Represents One More Step Towards Fully-Autonomous Vehicles I’ve written on connected and autonomous vehicles in the past, including about an ongoing spectrum fight at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding use of spectrum set aside years ago for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (specifically, for a technology called DSRC). The FCC now has revised...… Continue Reading
FCC Tweaks Mic Rules, Microsoft Launches Spectrum Fight
In late 2015, major wireless microphone manufacturers requested that the FCC “reconsider” various mostly-technical rules that it had adopted as part of a wide-ranging strategy to reallocate spectrum for wireless microphones. (We’ve written about recent regulatory changes for wireless mics here, here and here.) The Commission now has responded via an Order aimed at fine-tuning...… Continue Reading
The FCC Re-Tweaks the Equipment Authorization Rules
Some FCC regulations are carved in stone, changing about as often as the rules of chess. But not the equipment authorization rules, which lay out the procedures manufacturers and importers must follow to market devices having potential to cause interference to radio communications. The FCC likes to revise and update these every few years. This...… Continue Reading
Winter is Coming . . . Freeze on certain FM Translator/FM Booster and LPFM Applications starts July 19th
In case you missed this detail in Matt McCormick’s recent article about the upcoming FM translator application filing window for AM Class C and D station owners, Wednesday (July 19) is the start of a temporary freeze on acceptance of applications for minor modifications of existing FM translators and LPFMs, and for FM booster construction...… Continue Reading
FCC Releases Instructions for Registering for the 2017 EAS Test Reporting System
(New procedures require all filers to register in the FCC’s updated CORES system) On June 26, 2017, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission released instructions as to how Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants must register for access to the 2017 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). The PSHSB also...… Continue Reading
Sinclair-Tribune Merger Open for Comments
As has been widely reported, Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a $3.9 Billion cash and stock agreement in May with Tribune Media Company. The agreement calls for Sinclair to acquire Tribune Media and its 42 broadcast television stations, among other media assets. Just before the July 4 holiday, the companies filed a series of transfer of...… Continue Reading
See you later, local correspondence file!
As Egon said in Ghosbusters, “print is dead.” Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement. But at least as to many broadcast stations’ local public inspection files, it is essentially true as of today. Back in January, the FCC voted to do away with the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain in their...… Continue Reading
Slants Supreme Court Case Slays Ban on Registration of Disparaging Trademarks
I am officially a big fan of The Slants. I’ve never seen them in concert. I don’t own any of their albums (I’ve never even downloaded any of their individual songs). I’m actually still not entirely sure what “Chinatown Dance Rock” really is. But I will forever be indebted to Simon Shiao Tam and crew. ...… Continue Reading
Countdown Clock Ticking on Digital Millennium Copyright Act Designated Agent Registrations
(Registered agent contact information must be ELECTRONICALLY filed with the Copyright Office by December 31, 2017) How much is peace of mind worth to you? Does $6.00 and less than an hour of your time sound about right? What if I told you that this alone would significantly reduce the likelihood that you will be...… Continue Reading
One-Week FM Translator Filing Window for Class C and D AM Stations Opens July 26
The long-awaited filing window for certain Class C and D AM stations to apply for new FM translators will open at 12:01 a.m. EDT on July 26, 2017, and will close at 5:59 p.m. EDT (not at 11:59 p.m.) on August 2, 2017. A second window for eligible Class A and B AM stations (and...… Continue Reading
Major Changes Sought in Nascent Citizens Broadband Radio Service
The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) has not even been born yet, but already major industry players want to change its basic character. CBRS, as its name implies, was conceived and approved by the FCC a couple of years ago as a broadband service for locally-focused businesses. The regulatory paradigm included both a large swathe...… Continue Reading
NTIA Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Threats
We’ve previously reported on a drone-related multistakeholder process convened by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Department of Commerce and is responsible for telecommunications and technology policy. For several years, NTIA has considered important policy issues related to emerging technologies through these “multistakeholder processes,” which bring together industry, public...… Continue Reading
UPDATE: FCC Announces Deadline for Comments on Proposed Elimination of the Main Studio Rule
In a previous entry, we discussed the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate the main studio rule, which requires radio and television broadcasters to maintain a main studio located at or near a station’s community of license. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on June 2, 2017, which means...… Continue Reading
FCC Imposes $55,000 Fine for Inappropriate Use of EAS Tones
Continuing its historical hard line on misuse of EAS tones, the FCC announced on May 30 that it had settled an investigation with WTLV, a TEGNA-owned television station in Jacksonville, Florida regarding unauthorized EAS tones appearing in an ad for the Jacksonville Jaguars (the local NFL team). As part of the settlement, TEGNA entered into...… Continue Reading
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