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Updated 2018-12-09 23:22
Now Available: 2018 FCC EEO Rules Webinar
With FCC license renewals fast-approaching and public inspection files now all on line, it is time to seriously review and assess your FCC EEO compliance (….that is before the FCC does it for you!). In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Dawn King, Anne Crump,...… Continue Reading
FCC to Radio Licensees: We’re Watching You (or at Least Your Public Files)
With the whirl of the holiday season upon us, most broadcasters rightly thought they could put off looking ahead to the next license renewal cycle until 2019. Au contraire, says the FCC, which began sending out blast emails to certain radio licensees on December 6, warning that FCC internal audits have revealed that many stations’...… Continue Reading
Bipartisan TRACED Act Seeks to Reduce Robocalls
Before Thanksgiving, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation aimed at decreasing the number of unwanted robocalls. The TRACED Act would expand FCC authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), empower the FCC to mandate call authentication rules for voice service providers to cut down on caller ID spoofing, and create an interagency working...… Continue Reading
Please Welcome Seth Williams!
Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is pleased to announce a new member of our team! Seth Williams joined us as an associate on November 15 after spending several years in private practice at another D.C.-area law firm. While still in school, Seth also gained experience in several areas of communications law, working as an intern at...… Continue Reading
FCC Streamlines Hearing Aid Compatibility Reporting Requirements for Service Providers
On November 16, 2018, the FCC released a Report and Order amending the hearing aid compatibility (“HAC”) reporting requirements for wireless service providers. In short, the order changes the emphasis for disseminating HAC information to consumers from FCC reports to service provider websites, requiring service providers to post additional information on their websites about the...… Continue Reading
Deadline Announced for AM Revitalization Comments
Attention all you AM radio nostalgia buffs and others interested in the future of AM radio, who hopefully read our post of October 10 about the FCC’s proposals to allow higher power operation by smaller AM stations by reducing nighttime signal protection for 50 kW Class A AM stations. The FCC’s proposals have been published...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for November/December
Let’s play some word association. If we say “Deadlines”, you might answer “Scary.” Hence, the reason we’re publishing our November and December FCC deadlines post on Halloween. Only, unlike the ghouls and goblins you may see on the streets tonight, these are real! Please note that the list is NOT exclusive, so there may be others....… Continue Reading
Mark Your Calendar for the 29th Annual FCBA Charity Auction
The fall chill in the air must mean one thing – and no, it’s not just pumpkin spice lattes! It’s time to go out for a night of bidding, imbibing, and banter all for a good cause. Pull up your calendars and mark Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 for the 29th Annual FCBA Charity Auction hosted...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes LPTV and FM Repack Reimbursement Schedule
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has invited comments on a “catalog” of categories and amounts it thinks are reasonable for reimbursement of expenses incurred by low power TV (“LPTV”) stations as a result of involuntary channel changes imposed by the post-incentive auction repacking of the TV spectrum. Congress initially appropriated funds to reimburse costs incurred...… Continue Reading
C Band Receive Only Earth Stations Application Filing Window Extended
The FCC has extended the filing deadline for the C band receive only earth stations applications to October 31, 2018. In a Public Notice, the FCC decided to extend the filing deadline (which was October 17, 2018) due to difficulties experienced with the International Bureau Filing System (IBFS) which prevented some applicants from filing for license...… Continue Reading
What’s Next for AM Radio?
Late on Friday, October 5, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in a five-year ongoing effort to “revitalize” the AM radio broadcast service. The new proposals continue a trend toward allowing higher power operation by smaller stations, by reducing nighttime signal protection for some 60 Class A AM...… Continue Reading
FCC Streamlines Rules for Earth Stations in Motion and Seeks Comments on Expanding Frequencies for Their Use
We previously have reported on Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) authorization of use of earth stations installed on aircraft to communicate with Fixed-Satellite Service (“FSS”) spacecraft in geostationary orbits. These Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft are part of a broader category of Earth Stations in Motion (“ESIMs”). FCC regulations regarding licensing and operational requirements of...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines for Fall 2018 (October/November/December)
Deadlines! Get your deadlines here! With summer in the rearview mirror, it’s time to get back to work and look ahead to the rest of the year. Here’s a list of FCC-related broadcast and telecom deadlines. Please note that the list is NOT exclusive, so there may be others. For help meeting these deadlines or...… Continue Reading
FCC Acts to Speed 5G Rollouts
In a much ballyhooed action on September 26, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took another stride in its effort to clear away regulatory and administrative obstacles to 5G cell site construction via the issuance of a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order in a proceeding titled “In the Matter of Accelerating Wireless...… Continue Reading
EAS and WEA Tests Postponed; Now Scheduled for Oct. 3
In coordination with FEMA, the FCC has postponed the nationwide tests of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to Wednesday, Oct. 3 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. The test was originally scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 20. On Oct. 3, the WEA test will begin at 2:18 p.m....… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes to Reaffirm its Limitations on the Authority of Local Cable Franchise Authorities
The FCC will vote this month on whether to consider adopting a set of rulings that would limit the authority of cable local franchise authorities (LFAs) in the franchising and regulation of cable systems in response to a recent court case that threatens to expand LFA authority over cable systems and their diverse service offerings....… Continue Reading
Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for Sept. 20, But Don’t Use EAS Tone Outside Test
Unless it is delayed by a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC are on track to conduct a combined nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Should you decide to air any news coverage or...… Continue Reading
FCC Activates DIRS for Hurricane Florence; Postpones DIRS Exercise
The FCC issued a Public Notice activating its Disaster Information Reporting Service (DIRS) as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is set to make landfall in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic regions causing catastrophic flooding, high winds, and heavy rains. Broadcasters and other communications providers in those regions are encouraged to voluntarily supply certain filings with...… Continue Reading
FCC Proceeding on C Band Use and Receive Only Earth Stations Moves Forward; Comments Due Oct. 29
The Commission issued an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the proceeding relating to the use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. As we’ve previously written, the Commission has been considering allowing the use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band (known as the C band) by mobile broadband. The C-band is currently...… Continue Reading
Copyright Enters the Twilight Zone (A Series of Controversial Decisions May Not Be as Bad as They Seem: Part Two)
If you read the first part of this two-part post on some bizarre copyright decisions emanating from federal courts in 2018, you know I left you with a cliffhanger. Copyright law was seemingly turned on its head when a federal court judge in New York declared that embedding tweets with photos could be considered direct...… Continue Reading
FCC Releases Annual Regulatory Fee Order – Payments Due Sept. 25
While we all hit the beach for the last time this Labor Day weekend, the FCC today released the final listing of regulatory fees for 2018 and their due dates. Although the FCC has not yet activated the Fee Filer system for 2018 regulatory fees, we expect that to happen very soon. Fees must be...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines September – October 2018
Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703) 812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Broadcast deadlines: Sept. 20, 2018 – EAS National Test – Participants’ ETRS Form Two...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline Set for NPRM on Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Stations; Comments due Sept. 26
As we reported last week, the FCC has proposed new rules to distribute the funds allocated under the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA). These funds are to be used to reimburse broadcasters that were involuntarily affected by the post-incentive auction repacking of television stations. Under the REA and the proposed rules, FM radio stations and LPTV...… Continue Reading
Copyright Enters the Twilight Zone (A Series of Controversial Decisions May Not Be All that They Seem: Part One)
[Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part episode on three copyright decisions issued by federal courts in 2018 that relate to the use of photos in news reporting; the second part will be posted next week.] Picture for a moment a man. Not an ordinary man by any stretch. This man is Tom...… Continue Reading
FCC Postpones DIRS Exercise to Sept. 13 Due to Hurricane Lane
As we reported yesterday, the FCC was set to conduct a voluntary DIRS exercise Aug. 23 – Aug. 24. However, due to the possible activation of the DIRS for Hurricane Lane set to hit Hawaii this week, the FCC has postponed the DIRS exercise until Sept. 13. The FCC will send out additional information in...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Stations; Part II: FM Stations
(Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for information on LPTV and TV Translators review Part One here.) Back in March 2018, Congress passed the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA), which allocated additional funds to be used to reimburse broadcasters involuntarily affected by the post-incentive auction repacking of television stations. In addition to providing additional money for full-power...… Continue Reading
DIRS Exercise Happening This Week (Aug. 23-24)
On Aug. 15 many broadcast stations received an e-mail from the FCC regarding a Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) exercise scheduled for later this week: Aug. 23-24. The DIRS keeps track of the status of both broadcast and non-broadcast communications facilities during natural disasters, including whether a facility is operating, the availability of electric power,...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Stations; Part I: LPTV and TV Translators
Back in March 2018, Congress passed the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA), which allocated additional funds to be used to reimburse broadcasters involuntarily affected by the post-incentive auction repacking of television stations. In addition to providing additional money for full-power and Class A stations, the REA for the first time expanded the universe of stations eligible...… Continue Reading
RMLC and GMR Agree to Extend Interim License for Another Six Months
We have been following the ongoing saga that is the dispute-turned-litigation between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR) since late 2016, providing several updates along the way. What started as an impasse between a main representative of commercial radio stations in the country on music licensing issues (the RMLC) and...… Continue Reading
EAS and WEA National Tests Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20; ETRS Form 1 due Aug. 27
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC have announced Thursday, Sept. 20 at 2:20 p.m. EDT as the scheduled date and time for this year’s annual nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). (Note that unlike the past two years, the scheduling date is on a Thursday, not a Wednesday as some...… Continue Reading
FCC Streamlines Pole Attachment Rules to Promote Broadband Deployment
On Aug. 3 the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling which streamlined pole attachment procedures and preempted state and local laws regulations, and policies imposing a moratoria on telecommunications deployment. The FCC’s actions seek to speed the process and reduce costs associated with new utility pole attachments to facilitate broadband...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines August 2018
Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703) 812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Telecom Deadlines: August 3, 2018 – Quarterly 911 Live Call Data Reports – Nationwide CMRS...… Continue Reading
FCC Adopts Uniform Formal Complaint Procedural Rules
After decades of handling formal complaints using no less than three different sets of rules, the FCC has finally adopted uniform procedures that generally apply to all formal complaints filed with the Commission. Alongside Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr praised the measure to get formal complaints all under one roof. However,...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces Comment Deadline for Proposed New Kid Vid Rules
We wrote on July 5 that the FCC released a Draft NPRM intended to significantly relax the Kid Vid rules. The Commission officially adopted the NPRM at its July meeting on July 12. The Commission’s Media Bureau has now announced that comments will be due for the Children’s Television Programming NPRM on Sept. 24 and...… Continue Reading
D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC Reinstatement of UHF Discount
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today dismissed challenges to the FCC’s April 2017 decision to reinstate the UHF Discount. That discount allows broadcast television station owners to count only 50 percent of households served by UHF stations when calculating a station’s compliance with the FCC’s national ownership cap, which limits...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces the Next Step in Licensing Next Generation TV
When the FCC released its Next Gen TV Report and Order in November 2017, we wrote about how this authorized television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television transmission standard (also known as ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The rules from that Order became effective on February 2, 2018, except for the...… Continue Reading
FCC 2018 Application Fee Schedule Announced
On July 10, the FCC released an Order on adjustments to the application fees that the Commission collects from applicants. The Commission is required to adjust these fees every two years to keep pace with the changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year’s application fees will go up by 3.7 percent in response...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline Announced for FM Class C4 Inquiry
We wrote on June 10 that the FCC has launched a Notice of Inquiry looking toward the creation of a new “C4” class of FM broadcast station in areas outside the Northeast and Southern California, with an effective radiated power (ERP) limit of 12 kW. These stations would have more power than Class A stations,...… Continue Reading
ETRS Form One Due Aug. 27 for All EAS Participants
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced today that all EAS participants (which includes most broadcasters and cable and DBS operators) must complete their 2018 ETRS Form One on or before Aug. 27. The substance of Form One in ETRS is essentially the same as last year and requests identifying information on a...… Continue Reading
REPUBLICATION: FCC Announces Extension of Filing Window to Oct. 17, 2018 for C Band Receive Only Earth Stations
CommLawBlog Update: On Saturday, July 7 a CommLawBlog post was republished due to a website error. The republished blog post entitled, “July 18 Filing Deadline Approaching for FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz C Band” said that a filing deadline was approaching for all FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2...… Continue Reading
July 18 Filing Deadline Approaching for FSS Receive Only Earth Stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz C Band
The filing window for receive only C Band earth stations closes July 18. As a reminder, the FCC instituted a filing freeze on applications in the 3.7 – 4.2 GHz Band but allowed for a 90-day filing window exception (which we wrote about here) to allow the filing of new or modification applications for C...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines July–August 2018
Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703)812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Telecom Deadlines: July – No scheduled reporting/ certification deadlines for this month. August 1, 2018 –...… Continue Reading
Major Kid Vid Revisions Coming Soon… as the FCC Releases a Draft NPRM
When FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly published a blog post back in January that called for the reexamination of the Children’s Programming Requirements, we questioned whether the requirements would still exist in the near future. We can now report that we are not likely to see the complete demise of the FCC’s Children Programming Requirements (colloquially...… Continue Reading
LPTV/TV Translator Minor Change Freeze Lifted
The FCC has lifted the freeze on filing applications for minor changes in existing Low Power TV (LPTV) and TV translator stations, effective today, July 3. The freeze was lifted without advance warning, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. This process is different from the recent window for filing displacement applications...… Continue Reading
Aug. 1 Comment Deadline Set for Eliminating Posting of Broadcasting License Proceeding
If you were waiting to let the FCC know your thoughts on eliminating the requirement that broadcasters post their licenses, wait no more! The FCC has announced the comment deadline is Aug. 1 with reply comments due Aug. 16. As Matt McCormick wrote last month, the FCC’s push to eliminate the pesky license posting rules...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline Set on ‘Leased’ Access Channels
As we wrote on June 15, the FCC’s rules for leasing channels on cable television systems have never brought about an active leasing marketplace. The FCC is now taking another look at the situation, issuing a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in an old 2007 docket and inviting comments on whether to make adjustments in...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadline for FM Translator Reforms Extended to Aug. 6
The FCC announced yesterday that it is extending the deadline for comments and reply comments on proposed rule changes to the FCC’s procedures for resolving complaints of interference caused by FM translators. The new deadline is set for Aug. 6 with reply comments due Sept. 5. Several parties requested an extension because of the complexity of the issues...… Continue Reading
Supreme Court Says Warrant Needed to Grab Cellphone Location Data
Just when you think you have a beat on the Supreme Court, they always seem to surprise you. Take the decision issued in Carpenter v. U.S., issued last Friday, June 22. The court held that a judicial warrant, based on probable cause, is required before law enforcement officials can call up your cellphone company and...… Continue Reading
FCC Announces Extension of Filing Window to Oct. 17, 2018 for C Band Receive Only Earth Stations
The Commission has announced a 90-day extension of the filing window for C Band receive only earth stations to Oct. 17, 2018. We previously reported that the Commission had opened a filing window until July 18 to file applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth stations in the C Band by entities that own or operate existing FSS...… Continue Reading
‘Leased’ Access or ‘Least’ Access? FCC Chucks 2008 Order and Asks What It Should Do Next
Requirements that cable television systems make a certain amount of channel capacity available for leasing to non-affiliated programmers have been in place since the time when George Orwell predicted that “Big Brother” would control the world – 1984. The leasing rules have never brought about an active leasing marketplace. The FCC is now taking another...… Continue Reading
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