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Updated 2017-12-11 04:04
Effective Date of Main Studio Rule Elimination Announced
Effective Jan. 8, 2018, AM, FM, and television broadcast stations will no longer be required to maintain a main studio. The Commission voted back in October to eliminate the Main Studio Rule based on findings that the cost of maintaining a main studio outweighed the benefits. The Order was published in the Federal Register on...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines for January-February 2018
It’s never too early to get a jump start on upcoming deadlines as the New Year approaches. Below is a list of upcoming FCC deadlines to keep on your radar. Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions. January 10, 2018...… Continue Reading
‘Here Comes the Sun…’ Federal Magistrate Recommends that RMLC Lawsuit Against GMR be Moved to California
It was around this time last year that one of the most closely watched fights in music licensing history – if not copyright generally – went to the next level as the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) sued Global Music Rights (GMR). The RMLC lawsuit alleges that Irving Azoff-founded newest Performing Rights Organization (PRO), was...… Continue Reading
Deregulation Picks Up Steam: New Media Ownership Rules Foreshadow a New Terrain for Broadcasters
When Ajit Pai took over as Chairman of the FCC, it was widely expected that he would take steps to relax existing restrictions on media ownership. The last month, in particular, has seen a flurry of activity on that front. As we reported, the Chairman released at the end of October the proposed text of...… Continue Reading
Comment Deadlines Set for Proposed Changes in Ancillary/Supplementary Service Report Requirements
As we reported back in October, the Commission has proposed to end the requirement that all digital television, LPTV, and TV translator stations file annual ancillary/supplementary services reports. Plus, it instead requires only stations which actually offer such ancillary/supplementary services to file the forms and report on any revenues received. While this proposal has been...… Continue Reading
FCC Fines Maker of Light Fixtures. Really.
The FCC proposed a fine of $25,000 against a manufacturer of fluorescent lighting fixtures. Wait a minute. Lighting fixtures? Well, sure, the FCC regulates radio transmitters. And digital devices, which produce radio waves as a by-product that can interfere with communications. But lighting fixtures? Will the bathroom plumbing be next? In fact fluorescent fixtures are...… Continue Reading
I Know You Called: FCC Approves New Rules Permitting Disclosure of Blocked Caller IDs For Threatening Calls
If you’re a traditional landline user who grew up prank calling friends, you’re probably familiar with the dialing code *67, which blocked the outgoing Caller ID information from being transmitted to the call recipient. But you probably didn’t know that, under one of the FCC’s privacy rules, your decision to block your Caller ID transmission...… Continue Reading
FCC Approves Voluntary ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV Implementation
New Opportunities for Next Gen Broadcasters and Simulcast “Host” Stations, but Controversies Remain. Yesterday, the FCC adopted a Report and Order authorizing television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard (also called “ATSC 3.0”) on a voluntary, market-driven basis. This Order may herald a revolutionary change in TV broadcasting, opening...… Continue Reading
One Small Step for Cell Sites: FCC Finds that Replacing Utility Poles is Unlikely to Affect Historical Properties
The Federal Communications Commission has taken a very tiny step toward eliminating unnecessary obstacles to the installation of communications facilities on existing structures without triggering historic review obligations. For the last year, the FCC has been reviewing the various regulatory obstacles that are hindering, delaying, and making more expensive the process of establishing new cell...… Continue Reading
Christmas Has Come Early: Media Bureau Waives Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report Filing Requirement
Acting with commendable promptness, the Media Bureau has relieved virtually all television stations from the requirement to file ancillary/supplementary service reports, at least for this year and likely for future years as well. These reports are traditionally due on Dec. 1 of every year. As we reported back in October, the reports are the ones...… Continue Reading
New Equipment Rules Take Effect
Changes to the equipment authorization rules the FCC adopted last July appeared in the Federal Register this morning and take effect today. Major changes include the option of putting required labeling on a device’s display screen, and combination of the former verification and Declaration of Conformity procedures into a new procedure called Supplier’s Declaration of...… Continue Reading
Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?
At CommLawBlog, we follow domain name issues closely. Unlike lightning, we find two recurring problems striking regularly. These problematic issues are: the failure to renew domain names and a continuing tendency to register valuable domain names in someone else’s name. While both may seem innocuous, they can cause major problems down the line. Let’s took...… Continue Reading
Upcoming FCC Broadcasting and Telecommunications Deadlines for November-January
Note our list is not comprehensive. Other proceedings may apply to you. Please do not hesitate to contact FHH if you have any questions. November 13, 2017 – EAS National Test – Participants’ ETRS Form Three Due – All EAS participants must submit Form Three, which reports the results of the the national EAS test held on...… Continue Reading
Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report and Public Notice Rule Face Regulatory Weed-Whacker
At its October meeting, the FCC proposed to clear away further regulatory underbrush by eliminating, or drastically modifying, two rules. The first is the requirement that all TV stations engaged in digital broadcasting file annual reports concerning Ancillary/Supplementary services that might have been offered. Second is the requirement that licensees filing certain applications publish and/or...… Continue Reading
FCC Reduces International Carrier Reporting Requirements
On Oct. 24, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order in which the agency reduced the reporting requirements (found under Section 43.62 of the FCC’s rules) for providers of U.S.-international telecommunications services. Specifically, the FCC eliminated the annual international Traffic and Revenue Reports and streamlined the Circuit Capacity Report filing requirements. The...… Continue Reading
Halloween Tricks for Flo & Eddie and Treats for SiriusXM
Florida Finds No Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings If you have been following the ongoing saga regarding the attempts of pre-1972 (aka “oldies”) sound recording owners to collect royalties when those recordings are performed, you will know that some recent key court rulings have been issued near major holidays. For example, New...… Continue Reading
FCC Releases Proposed Order to Modify Media Ownership Rules
As expected, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday released his proposed Order modifying the FCC’s media ownership rules. Consistent with what he announced at an Oct. 25 House Energy and Commerce Committee FCC Oversight Hearing, the Order, if adopted, will allow nearly unrestricted television duopolies in almost every market, eliminate radio/TV cross-ownership restrictions, and abolish the Commission’s long-standing prohibition...… Continue Reading
NOW AVAILABLE: FHH CPB Compliance Webinar with Bob Winteringham
Compliance has never been more important for public broadcasters. CPB regularly issues forfeitures 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 boxes and filling out...… Continue Reading
FCC Eliminates Broadcast Main Studio Rules,Related Staffing, and Program Origination Requirements;Controversial Order Passes Three-Two Along Party Lines
On Oct. 24, 2017, the FCC issued a Report and Order eliminating the Commission’s rule requiring each AM, FM, and television broadcast station to maintain a main studio located in or near its community of license (i.e. the Main Studio Rule). In the same Order, the FCC eliminated existing requirements that are associated with the...… Continue Reading
The FCC Rethinks Citizens Broadband at the Eleventh Hour
The FCC is having second thoughts about the auctioned “middle layer” of the planned Citizens Broadband Radio Service at 3550-3700 MHz. You may remember how this is all supposed to work, with three categories of users. The “Incumbent Access” (IA) users, already in place in the band, will have interference protection from all the others....… Continue Reading
EAS Report to SECCs Due Nov. 6
The FCC scored a legal victory in court this past week when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld its requirement that EAS participants report to their State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) their progress on developing multilingual EAS alerts (an SECC is a committee assigned to implement EAS in a specific state). EAS participants must...… Continue Reading
FCC Proposes Market-Based Changes to Toll Free Number Administration
On Sept. 28, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to permit the assignment of toll free numbers via alternative market-based approaches, including the auctioning of numbers. Furthermore, consistent with such a market-based approach, the Commission proposed the development of a secondary market allowing subscribers to reassign their...… Continue Reading
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
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