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Updated 2019-05-24 00:24
FCC Considers Repurposing the 1675-1680 MHz Band
By a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted on May 9, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) sought comment on whether it should open the 1675-1680 MHz band for non-federal government mobile use. This marks the very plodding next step in a process that began back in 2012 when Ligado (then still known as Light Squared) petitioned...… Continue Reading
Peter Tannenwald Honored by WAMU Radio
We are very proud to congratulate our own Peter Tannenwald on being recognized by American University Radio in Washington, DC. for his many years of work with radio station WAMU, the local NPR affiliate found on 88.5 FM. Peter was presented with a ceremonial (but functioning) microphone at the WAMU Community Council meeting on May...… Continue Reading
New Developments in Broadband – April
Broadband on Capitol Hill Although optimism for a broadband infrastructure spending bill this year is fading, it is still a possibility. Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D‑CA) plan met with President Trump today to discuss infrastructure legislation. Schumer recently said that an overall infrastructure plan (including broadband and traditional infrastructure such...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for May-July
Broadcast Deadlines: April 29, 2019: Quadrennial Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules – Comments are due with regard to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MB Docket 18-349, FCC-18-179A1) which initiated the required 2018 Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership rules. May 28, 2019: Deadline for Submission of Information on Earth Station and Satellite Use Of The C-Band...… Continue Reading
Now Available: “Navigating the Online Public Inspection File” Webinar
Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero, Steve Lovelady, and Dan Kirkpatrick recently presented a webinar about Online Public Inspection Files (OPIFs). The webinar, in collaboration with the broadcast associations of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee in addition to the Public Radio Regional Organizations, covered a variety of topics,...… Continue Reading
Radio Stations’ FCC License Renewal Cycle Starts Again
Has it been eight years already? It’s hard to believe, but yes – the license renewal cycle for radio stations is about to start over again, with preparatory on-air announcements already in progress. The TV cycle will start next year. In a Public Notice released today, The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Media...… Continue Reading
Deadline for Submission of Information on Earth Station Use of the 3.7 – 4.2 GHz Band
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Public Notice on April 11, 2019 (DA 19-278) in the proceeding relating to the use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band (referred to as the “C-band”). In its July 13, 2018 Order, the Commission announced that it would issue an information collection requirement for...… Continue Reading
FCC Poses New Questions to Improve Secondary Market Spectrum Transactions
On March 15, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on how the Commission can improve its secondary market rules for spectrum transactions. Specifically, the FCC wants to know whether and how it can improve its secondary market rules to get more spectrum in...… Continue Reading
WINDOW FOR LIMITING PRE-72 SOUND RECORDING OWNERS’ ABILITY TO COLLECT CRIPPLING DAMAGES AWARDS FROM YOU IS RAPIDLY CLOSING If you are an “Oldies” station – or you play more than a handful of songs from the early 60s/early 70s (or before) in a given week – then this post is for you. There is a...… Continue Reading
FCC Pops Lid off Spectrum High End
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has opened a new frontier in the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed and experimental operations, adopting rules covering frequencies between 95 GHz and 3 THz (3,000 GHz). Once upon a time, the world’s techies thought that radio waves at extremely high frequencies (i.e., with very short...… Continue Reading
Some Stations are Granted Relief From Duplicative DTV Transition Reports
Full Power and Class A TV stations that are changing channels as part of the TV spectrum repack and are scheduled to transition in Phases 3, 5, and 8 have been granted relief from the obligation to file what would otherwise be duplicative transition reports close together in time. Full power and Class A stations...… Continue Reading
FCC Adopts Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to FM Stations and FM Translators
[Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1, addressing repack funds for LPTV and TV Translator stations, is available here] As we reported in August 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) at that time released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking laying out how it would parcel out reimbursement funds...… Continue Reading
FCC Adopts Rules for Distributing Repack Funds to LPTV and TV Translator Stations
[Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a two part series. Part 2, addressing repack funds for FM stations, will be available tomorrow] As we reported in August 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) at that time released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking laying out how it would parcel out reimbursement funds for...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for April-June
Broadcast Deadlines: April 1, 2019: License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia must begin their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of license. These announcements must be continued on April 16, May 1, and May 16. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Public...… Continue Reading
LPTV-Translator Displacement and Companion Channel Freeze Lifted
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has announced in a public notice on March 19, 2019, that it will lift the 9-year old freeze on applications for displacement relief and digital companion channels by Low Power Television and TV Translator stations (together, “LPTV”). Applications will be accepted starting April 18, 2019. The new...… Continue Reading
Continued Controversy About Overtime Rules: No, not the NFL; the FLSA
[Blogmeister’s Note: To re-state an obvious but important point that our blogger, Kevin, has previously made, neither he nor we are “employment” lawyers. But readers and others have expressed enough interest in the coming changes to the federal minimum wage and overtime rules that he thought it a good idea to take a look at...… Continue Reading
Frank Jazzo Honored at NAB State Leadership Conference
We are proud to congratulate retired FHH member Frank Jazzo on his recent recognition at the NAB State Leadership Conference. Overall, it was a wonderful presentation with some of his closest clients offering warm testimonials. Quite simply, “Frank Jazzo is the guy to know. He’s smart, he’s kind, he’s great at his job,” said John...… Continue Reading
Comments and Replies Date Set for Media Ownership Rule Review
In December we reported that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) commenced their 2018 Quadrennial Review of media ownership rules by adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”). On February 28, that NPRM was published in the Federal Register, establishing the comment and reply comment dates in the proceeding. Comments on the NPRM...… Continue Reading
RMLC-GMR Continue to Fight (but Also Agree To Extend Interim License for Yet Another Six Months)
One of the most famous movie franchises ever is the “Rocky” series. From its origin as an underdog story where an unknown fighter named Rocky Balboa shocks the world by taking heavyweight champion Apollo Creed the distance (spoiler alert: only to lose the fight but get the girl) through sequels II (Rocky Wins!), III (Mr....… Continue Reading
Reversing the Trend of Deregulation, FCC Tackles Caller ID Spoofing Head-on
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) continued its long-running fight against unwanted robocalls earlier this month, but the steps the Commission proposed may not make a significant impact immediately. On Friday, February 15th, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on issues associated with implementing new caller ID spoofing...… Continue Reading
Broadcasters Seek New Business Opportunities Amid Legalization of Industrial Hemp Products (Including CBD Oil)
There’s a green wave coming in the form of expanding marijuana legalization across the US, and many of the people trying to take advantage of this green wave are also trying to turn it into another kind of green: money. Broadcasters are also looking to take advantage of these new revenue opportunities, but because marijuana...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for March-May
Broadcast Deadlines – March 11, 2019: Additional Steps to Revitalize the AM Radio Service – Reply comments are due in response to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with regard to revised alternative proposals regarding interference protection to Class A AM radio stations. April 1, 2019: Equal...… Continue Reading
FCC Ponders Revising Several NCE and LPFM Procedures
Anyone who has filed an application for a new noncommercial educational (NCE) station or a new Low Power FM (LPFM) station knows that many traps beset the unwary throughout the process. If you fall into one of those traps, your chance of success can be severely injured. On Valentine’s Day, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”...… Continue Reading
FCC Eliminates EEO Mid-Term Report for Broadcasters
On February 14, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC,” or the “Commission”) released a Report and Order in which it eliminated the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Report (Form 397). As we reported back in January, the FCC found that the Form 397 reporting...… Continue Reading
Now in Effect: FCC Eliminates Requirement to Post Licenses
As we reported back in December, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Report and Order that would eliminate the need to post and maintain broadcast licenses at a physical location. The Commission’s stated goal is to modernize U.S. “media rules and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens that impede competition and innovation in the media marketplace.”...… Continue Reading
A Word of Caution to Broadcasters Pertaining to E-Cigarette and Vaping Advertisements
Last month I participated in a webinar with my colleague Dan Kirkpatrick where we addressed the issue of advertising controversial products. While the topic of marijuana advertising (which we discussed in our webinar) gets much attention these days–especially with the recent decision by CBS to turn down a cannabis ad for the Super Bowl–we also...… Continue Reading
Jeffrey Mitchell Joins Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C.
Washington-area based telecommunications, media, and technology law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that Jeffrey A. Mitchell has joined the firm as Of Counsel. Jeffrey brings with him more than two decades of Telecommunications experience both in private practice and in multiple roles for the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The...… Continue Reading
FCC Further Extends Certain Deadlines
As we reported, immediately after reopening from the Federal government shutdown, the FCC extended most filing deadlines that would have fallen during the shutdown to January 30, 2019. Upon review, the FCC has now further extended many of those deadlines. In a Public Notice released on January 30, the Commission’s Bureaus and Offices collectively retained the...… Continue Reading
FCC Extends Filing Deadlines
As we reported early in the government shutdown, the FCC proactively extended most filing deadlines until one business day after the first day the FCC was re-opened post-shutdown. Now that the government (including the FCC) has reopened, the Commission has further extended that deadline by one additional day. As a result, most filings that would have been...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for February-April
You’ll find below the list of deadlines* facing broadcasters and telecommunications providers during the upcoming months of February, March, and April. If you noted the asterisk, it’s because the government shutdown may affect many of these deadlines, either because the relevant online filing system or the required information is not accessible. If that is the...… Continue Reading
Webcaster Wake Up Call: The (Not Entirely) Shutdown Update
This is the promised follow up to our December 14, 2018 post regarding the compliance obligations for 2019 under the statutory licenses found in Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act (the “statutory licenses”) allowing webcasters to make public performances sound recordings via digital audio transmission and to make related temporary copies of those...… Continue Reading
Remember to Exercise Super Judgment When Discussing the Big Game
The matchup for the National Football League’s championship game, aka the “Super Bowl”, is set. The Los Angeles Rams will face the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 3 in Atlanta in a game that will be hard pressed to exceed either conference championship game in terms of excitement or controversy. Each of the NFC Championship,...… Continue Reading
FCC Shutdown Becomes a Little Less Shut Down
One downside of a government shutdown—or the present partial shutdown that includes the FCC—is the inability of technology companies to obtain the FCC certifications they need to market certain kinds of new products. Good news: the FCC has reopened a website that makes it possible for most (not all) new devices to obtain their certifications....… Continue Reading
Now Available: Controversial Advertising and Sponsorship Identification Webinar
In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar covering guidelines for broadcasters on how to handle controversial advertising and proper sponsorship identification. Frank and Dan discussed many aspects of Federal and state regulation pertaining to advertising on potentially problematic subjects, including marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and...… Continue Reading
Possible Ramifications for TCPA After FCC Reclassification of Text Messages
On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) three Republican Commissioners were in a self-congratulatory mood for standing with consumers against unwanted robotexts by classifying text messaging as a Title I service, but did the Commission’s classification decision really mark a major TCPA victory for consumers? Probably not. As Sekoia Rogers detailed on...… Continue Reading
FCC Classifies Texting as an Information Service
On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that finds Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services” under the Communications Act and that these services are not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services”. As a result, SMS/MMS won’t be subjected to the regulatory...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes Elimination of EEO Mid-Term Report for Broadcasters
On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a proposed Report and Order which would eliminate the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term EEO Report (Form 397). The Commission released the proposed Report and Order for adoption at its public meeting scheduled for January...… Continue Reading
Shutdown Uncertainty: What Broadcasters Should Do Now
Wondering how the federal government shutdown affects your broadcast station’s regulatory compliance obligations? Because some of the FCC’s online systems are up and running while others are not, it can be confusing as to what is still required of broadcasters. We have sorted through the confusion to help you understand what should still be prepared...… Continue Reading
The FCC Sets the Wheels in Motion to Clear More Spectrum for 5G
At its December open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took a significant step toward facilitating the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless advanced services. For those still wondering what exactly 5G is, we have written about the highly touted mobile broadband technology several times, including here and here. The FCC has already cleared...… Continue Reading
FCC Commences Review of Media Ownership Rules
On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) commencing the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules. The FCC is required under Section 202(h) of the Communications Act to review most of its broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether...… Continue Reading
FCC Adopts TCPA Changes that Include (Very Limited) Safe Harbor
On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted an order that creates a reassigned number database to help callers avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) violations that can occur when telephone numbers get reassigned to new users. We covered some of the details in a previous CommLawBlog post when the FCC pre-released...… Continue Reading
FCC Eliminates Posting of Broadcast Licenses
Two years into Ajit Pai’s chairmanship, a central theme at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) is deregulation. Sometimes framed in terms of “modernizing media rules,” the topic is at the forefront of just about every proceeding. This was true for one of the most recent decisions at the Commission, as a Report and...… Continue Reading
Webcaster Wake Up Call!
We usually publish our “Webcaster Wake Up Call!” post each January. This post reminds webcasting services of their compliance obligations for the upcoming year under the statutory licenses found in Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act (the “statutory licenses”) allowing them to publicly perform sound recordings via digital audio transmission. Part of the...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December/January/February
December (the most wonderful time of the year) often carries with it a sense of retrospection. We start looking back on the year that was, compiling “Best of” lists, tying up loose ends, getting those last donations and expenses in under the wire. Of course, there’s also plenty of forward-looking at what the new year...… Continue Reading
Legitimate Robocallers Rejoice: TCPA Compliance is About to Get (Slightly) Easier
Believe it or not, there are companies that make legitimate “robocalls,” and those companies strive to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you’ve received an appointment reminder from your doctor or dentist, a package delivery notification, or a school closure notification lately those messages were likely delivered to your phone using an...… Continue Reading
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