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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Television

FCC Opens Rulemaking Proceedings on the Processing of Interference Complaints for FM Translators and Eliminating the Posting of Licenses at Broadcast Control Points

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 11 May 2018 4:42 pm

At yesterday’s FCC open meeting, the Commission commenced two proceedings of interest to broadcasters. The first deals with the processing of complaints of interference caused by new FM translators. The second proposes to eliminate the need for the posting of station licenses and other FCC authorizations at the control points of broadcast stations. Comments dates in each proceeding will be computed from the publication of these orders in the Federal Register, which will occur at some point in the future.

In each case, the FCC essentially adopted without significant revision the draft notices that were released several weeks ago. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (available here) on translator interference standards sets out proposals for the minimum number of listeners who would have to complain before an interference complaint would be processed, and suggests limiting complaints of interference to those that arise within the 54 dbu contour of the primary station complaining about the interference. We wrote in more detail about the FCC’s proposals in our summary of the draft notice, here.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on eliminating the posting of FCC authorizations (available here) suggests that posting the FCC authorizations at a station’s control point serves no real public interest purpose, as members of the public are unlikely to have access to that location, and as all the information in those authorizations are available on the FCC’s website. The FCC also proposed to eliminate the requirement that FM translators post information about the licensee of the translator at the transmitter site for the station. Our article about this proposal when the draft was released of this action being taken as part of the FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative is available here.

Comments on each proposal will be due 30 days after that proposal is published in the Federal Register. Reply comments on the translator interference proposals will be due 60 days after Federal Register publication. Only 15 days will be provided for reply comments on the posting of licenses – making those comments due 45 days after Federal Register publication.


License Renewal Cycle Starts in a Year – Crackdown on Silent Stations and Online Public File Signal Warnings to Broadcasters

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 4:10 pm

Starting June 1, 2019, just over a year from now, the next broadcast license renewal cycle will begin. By that date, radio stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia must file their renewal applications. Every other month for the next 3 years will bring the filing of radio license renewals in another set of states. And television stations will begin their renewal cycle a year later (June 1, 2020). The FCC’s schedule for radio license renewals can be found here and here. For TV stations, the schedule of renewal filings by state is in the same – just one year later than for radio. Every eight years, broadcast stations have to seek the renewal of their licenses by the FCC by demonstrating their continuing qualifications to be a licensee, including showing that they have not had a history of FCC violations and that they have otherwise served the public interest.

We have already written several times about how, with all broadcasters – both radio and TV – now required to have an online public file, it is important for stations to make sure that those files are complete and are kept up to date on a regular basis (see our articles here, here and here). Given that the contents of the online public file can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, just by launching an Internet browser, we would expect more complaints about incomplete files, and more scrutiny by the FCC of the contents of files that rarely were subject to FCC review in the past. FCC staffers can review public file compliance from their offices or homes, and do not have to rely on the rare field inspection to discover a violation. Thus, stations should be reviewing the contents of their files now to be sure that they are ready for the scrutiny that they will receive in the upcoming renewal cycle. But that is not the only issue about which stations need to be concerned, as illustrated by a decision released by the FCC yesterday, deciding to hold an evidentiary hearing as to whether the license renewal of a broadcast station that had been silent much of the last license renewal term should be granted.

In the Hearing Designation Order released yesterday, the FCC went through the history of a Wyoming radio station that had operated for only days during its last license term, and since then had each year operated for only a few days each year to avoid forfeiting its license under Section 312(g) of the Communications Act (which says that the license of a station that is off the air for more than a year is forfeited unless the FCC finds that the public interest calls for an exception – see our articles here and here). Only since last August, well past the end of the license renewal term under review, did the station come back on the air on a full-time basis. The FCC asks the station’s licensee to produce all records of how it served the public interest during the renewal term (including all logs and records of EAS tests) and otherwise provide evidence as to why its renewal should be granted.

We wrote here about the FCC launching a similar hearing proceeding for another station last year, and about a number of other cases where the FCC has imposed short-term renewals or other penalties on stations that had a history of long periods of silence during the license term (see our articles here and here). While the FCC’s dividing line between stations that get a short-term renewal and those that get designated for hearing and possible loss of license is not entirely clear, yesterday’s decision reinforces the warning to broadcasters who currently have silent stations that they need to get those stations operational as soon as possible so as to be able to demonstrate a record of public service during the current license term so as to justify a renewal when their applications are filed during this upcoming renewal cycle.

The renewal cycle starts next year. The time for getting into compliance is now, as last minute fixes may not solve all problems – and that last minute may already be upon or be imminent for many stations.

FCC Approves 100% Mexican Ownership of Radio Stations in California and Arizona – Further Showing Foreign Ownership Limitations Less Significant in Today’s Broadcast World

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 2 May 2018 5:24 pm

The FCC yesterday issued a Declaratory Ruling approving the acquisition by a company owned by two Mexican citizens of 100% of the ownership interest of a company that owns two radio stations in California and Arizona. Currently, the company owned by the Mexican citizens had only a 25% interest in the parent company of the licensee which, until a few years ago, would have been the limit imposed on foreign ownership of a US broadcast station. But, several years ago, as we wrote here, the FCC decided to permit, on a case by case basis, greater foreign ownership of US broadcast station owners. The FCC has also issued guidance on how public US companies can track their foreign ownership. See our articles here and here. Through yesterday’s decision approving the 100% ownership of the radio company, together with a case last year approving 100% ownership of broadcast stations in Alaska and Texas by Australian citizens (see our summary here), the Commission has demonstrated that it is serious about, in the right circumstances, approving foreign ownership of US broadcast stations.

Foreign ownership does not come without limits, however. Any foreign owner seeking to acquire a substantial stake in a US broadcast station must be reviewed by various Executive Branch agencies to insure that there are no perceived security risks raised by the proposed acquisition. The FCC has to do its own review as well. And, once approved, the foreign owner must report on any changes in its ownership so that new interest holders can go through the same approval process. Nevertheless, this series of decisions make clear that the FCC is open to non-US investors acquiring broadcast properties. It may take longer to sell a station than when a property is acquired by a US buyer, and certain foreign buyers may not be allowed if security issues come up, but otherwise the market is open to many new buyers of broadcast stations.

Another Modernization of Media Proposal – Eliminate the Need for Posting Station Licenses at Broadcast Station Control Point

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 25 Apr 2018 5:07 pm

We wrote last week about one broadcast issue to be considered at the FCC’s May 10 meeting, amending the procedures for resolving complaints about interference by new FM translators to other existing FM stations. At that same meeting, the FCC is planning to adopt another item in its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative – a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (see a draft of that item here) to eliminate the FCC rules that require broadcast stations to post physical copies of their license (and other instruments of authorization such as STAs or renewals), or to keep physical copies of these documents in a binder, at their control point.

The FCC also asks whether translator operators should continue to have to post information at their transmitter sites as to the name, address and telephone number of the licensee and where station records are maintained. Given that all of this information is in the FCC’s database and accessible to anyone with Internet access (and as the licenses posted at the control point are not even accessible to the public), the draft NPRM, if adopted at the May 10 meeting, would propose to eliminate these rules. Watch for the adoption of this proposal at the May 10 meeting, and the comments dates on the proposal that will be set after the meeting.

Another Legal Update From the NAB Convention – FCC to Look at the KidVid Rules in a Formal Proceeding Soon

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Sun 15 Apr 2018 5:20 pm

We just wrote about the FCC talk at the NAB Convention about translator interference and pirate radio. On the TV side, there was of course mention of the remaining TV post-incentive auction transition issues with the repacking of displaced full-power stations and the open window for displaced TV translators and LPTV stations to find new homes in the remaining TV spectrum. But the other issue that came up in several regulatory conversations was reform of the Children’s Television or “KidVid” rules. As we wrote here, Commissioner O’Rielly has been put in charge of that rewrite after expressing concern that these rules did not reflect modern competitive realities (see our summary of the Commissioner’s blog post where he raised issues that he saw with the current rules). Under current rules, stations have to find three hours of educational and informational programs for their primary program channel as well as each of their digital subchannels. Particularly as the number of those subchannels could expand with ATSC 3.0, these stations will likely have difficulty finding audiences for all of that programming when the children’s audience is served by so many other outlets, including dedicated children’s channels on cable and satellite platform, and by all sorts of on-demand content.

In his speech at the Convention, Chairman Pai mentioned the efforts of Commissioner O’Rielly to review these rules. Commissioner O’Rielly, in remarks that he made at a convention breakfast, notes that he has been told that young children’s viewing of over-the-air television has precipitously dropped in recent years. At the same time, as attention spans have decreased, the FCC remains wedded to a 3 hour per week requirement for educational and informational on each programming channel offered by a TV broadcaster, and it must be provided in blocks of at least one-half hour to meet the standard review thresholds. Commissioner O’Rielly is looking for new ways for the FCC to address children’s programming requirements, and expects the FCC to start a formal proceeding to address changes in the rules by this summer. So look for more developments on this front quite soon.

FCC Requests Comments on Extension of Compliance Deadline for TV Stations to Convert Non-Textual Emergency Information into Audio on SAP Channel

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 28 Mar 2018 5:12 pm

In 2015, TV broadcasters were required to convert textual warnings about emergency events that are broadcast outside of news programs  (e.g. weather alerts that are displayed as textual crawls during entertainment programming) into audio, and to transmit that audio on the station’s SAP channel. The deadline for that requirement was extended, and then paired back when the FCC determined that some of the events that might be listed in textual alerts, like school closing information during winter weather, could not feasibly be broadcast in a timely fashion on the SAP channel (see our summary here). The text-to-speech requirement for broadcast of emergency information on the SAP channel did go into effect on November 30, 2015. But the FCC extended the deadline for converting non-textual information (such as weather graphics) into speech for broadcast on the SAP channel, as no ready technology for such conversion exists. The most recent extended deadline for compliance with the requirement for non-textual information to be converted to audio runs through May 26 of this year (see our article here). The FCC has just issued a Public Notice announcing that the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the National Association of Broadcasters have new asked for a further extension of the compliance deadline, as no technology for this graphics to speech conversion yet exists.

The parties ask for a 5 year extension of the compliance deadline to find a solution that will allow non-textual information to be converted to audio, and the groups pledge to continue to work together to find a solution. The FCC asks for comments on this proposed extension.  Comments are due by April 13, 2018 with replies due by April 20, 2018. In the interim, of course, all obligations of TV stations to convert textual alerts run during non-news programs to audio alerts broadcast on a TV station’s SAP channel remain in place.

April Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – First Quarterly Issues Programs Lists in Online Public File for All Radio Stations and Other Important Dates

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 27 Mar 2018 5:04 pm

April brings with it a milestone – as it is the end of the first quarter since all radio stations have had to have their online public inspection file “live” so that anyone, anywhere, can view a station’s compliance with rules that previously could only be judged by going to the station and reviewing the paper public file. April 10, in particular, is important, as it is when Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, summarizing the most important issues facing the community which the broadcaster serves and the programs that the broadcaster aired to address those issues, must be in the online public file for all full-power radio and TV stations. We wrote about the importance of these sometimes overlooked documents here, as these are the only FCC-mandated documents that reflect how a station has served the needs and interests of its community. We have also noted that, in the past license renewal cycle, missing Quarterly Issues Programs lists were the source of the most fines issued to broadcasters. Now that compliance can be judged at any time by the FCC, their importance is only magnified. So be sure that you get these documents into your online public file by April 10.

EEO Public Inspection File Reports, summarizing a station’s employment record for the prior year, are also to be uploaded to a station’s online public file. For radio and TV stations in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, these reports need to be completed and included in the public file by April 1 by all stations that are part of employment units with 5 or more full-time (30 hours per week) employees. In addition, radio stations in employment units with 11 or more full-time employees in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and TV stations in Texas with 5 or more full-time employees, also need to file EEO Mid-Term Reports, commonly referred to as FCC Form 397 applications. While the FCC is considering the abolition of the Mid-Term Report (see our article here), the obligation is still in place so, for now, stations must comply.

TV stations also must file with the FCC, by April 10, their Children’s Television Reports, detailing the amount of educational and informational programming that they have broadcast on each of their subchannels. Here, again, there are proposals at the FCC for reform of this requirement (see our post here), but as no action has yet been taken, this report must still be filed. In addition, TV stations must include in their public file documentation showing that they complied with the advertising limits in children’s television programming.

April also brings various filing deadlines for various groups of stations. TV stations changing channels as a result of the incentive auction must file a Transition Progress Report by April 10. This is filed on FCC Form 2100 – Schedule 387 (see our article here).

Low Power TV stations and TV translators displaced by the repacking of TV stations following the incentive auction can file for “displacement channels” (channels that are in the new core TV band and not blocked by full-power stations) in a window that opens on April 10 and runs through May 15. See our article here about that window.

Radio stations involved in the recent translator filing windows have some important dates in April. April 18 through May 9 are the dates for the window for long-form applications by AM stations that filed applications for FM translators in the second FCC window that was open late last year for Class A and B AM stations to seek FM translators (see our article here). Applications that were not found to be singletons in that auction (in other words, those applications that did conflict with other applications filed during the window) should be looking for the announcement in the near term by the FCC of a filing window for amendments to applications to resolve their mutual exclusivity.

Responses to the FCC’s latest EEO audit are due by April 12. See our article here about that audit, which notes that responses are to be posted in a station’s online public file, not filed directly with the FCC.

A number of reply comments in pending FCC proceedings are due in April. Reply comments in the FCC proceeding to abolish the filing requirements for certain FCC contracts are due by April 2 (see our summary of the FCC proposals here). Reply Comments on the FCC’s inquiry into the national cap on TV ownership are due April 18 (see our summary here). And, finally, comments on the FCC’s proposals for an incubator program are due April 9 (see our summary here).

Another busy month in regulation for broadcasters seems to be in store. Always remember to check with your counsel for other dates that we may have missed here that are important to your station.

FCC Announces Effective Date of Requirement for Public File Access to TV Shared Services Agreements

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Mon 26 Mar 2018 4:53 pm

On Friday, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the rules requiring the inclusion in the online public file of TV station “shared services agreements” is now effective after having been approved by the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act. This obligation for TV stations to put in their public file agreements between independently owned TV stations for shared broadcast services (including shared news operations, accounting staffs and other operational matters) became effective on March 23. It was adopted in the 2016 FCC Ownership Order and the obligation was not changed in last year’s reconsideration of that order (see our summary here). Thus, new shared services agreements should be placed into the public file shortly after being entered into. Agreements existing before the March 23 effective date need to be added to the file within 180 days. As the definition of shared services agreements is very broad, seemingly including pretty much any kind of service other than an on-the-fly, single event-based news cooperation agreements and agreements totally unrelated to broadcast operations (like shared janitorial services), if your TV station shares services of any sort with another station in its market, talk to your attorney about whether that agreement needs to be included in your public file.

FCC Adopts Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Looking to Simplify Sale of Satellite TV Stations

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 23 Mar 2018 4:30 pm

At its open meeting yesterday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to ease the paperwork involved in the sale of a satellite television station – i.e. a station, usually in a smaller market that is associated (and often rebroadcasts) another station in that market. As we wrote here when we summarized the draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released in anticipation of yesterday’s meeting, the Commission proposed to simplify the sale process by not requiring that a buyer prove that the conditions that initially warranted the operation of the station as a satellite not subject to the multiple ownership rules were still in place. That means that the parties to a proposed sale don’t have to search to see if there is a buyer who is willing to operate the satellite as an independent station, and don’t have to prove that the satellite station could not operate on its own – unless that premise is challenged during the course of the FCC’s review and approval of the proposed sale. Comments on this proposal will be due 30 days after this NPRM is published in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 15 days later.

Copyright Office Grants Second Extension of Comment Dates in Proceeding Looking at MVPD Reporting Obligations and the Definition of Cable System

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 9 Mar 2018 6:16 pm

In December, we wrote about a proceeding initiated by the Copyright Office to review the reporting obligations of cable and satellite television systems related to the statutory license that permits those systems to carry the programming of local television stations.  Systems must report information including revenue and subscriber information that allow royalties to be computed.  This proceeding also asked for comments on the Copyright Office’s tentative conclusion that the Copyright Act’s definition of a cable system did not extend to online services, like those that had been proposed by Aereo and FilmOn.  The Copyright Office has announced a second extension of time to file comments in this proceeding.  Comments are now due June 14, with replies due on July 6, 2018.

Next Media Regulation Modernization Item – Easing Transfer of Satellite TV Stations

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Mon 5 Mar 2018 6:13 pm

The FCC last week released its tentative agenda for its March open meeting. On it was a single item dealing with broadcast issues, a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to ease the paperwork involved in the sale of a satellite TV station. This item is another action as part of its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative seeking to lessen the paperwork and regulatory burdens of broadcasters. Similar to other actions taken as part of this initiative (see our article here), this proposal is a small step to reduce burdens on a small class of broadcasters – but at least it is another step that is being taken in this initiative. The draft proposal will be considered at the FCC’s meeting scheduled for March 22.

Under current FCC rules, the FCC will authorize an owner to acquire a second full-power television station in a market, a station which will not count against FCC ownership limits, if the applicant can meet a three part test – (1) the station will not have city-grade overlap with the “parent” station, (2) the satellite station will serve an underserved area, and (3) a showing is made that there is no other owner ready to acquire an existing station or activate an unused channel and operate it as a stand-alone station. Satellite television stations were traditionally used in geographically-expansive rural markets to expand the coverage of a parent station to reach outlying areas. In more recent years, as the Commission abolished the requirement that the satellite primarily duplicate the programming of the parent station, these stations have sometimes been used to provide alternate programming in smaller markets unable to economically support an independent operation. The draft NPRM released by the FCC seeks to address the issue of what happens when such stations are sold.

Under current practice, when a parent-satellite combination is proposed to be sold, the proposed buyer has to re-prove all of the elements of the satellite showing to the FCC – hiring experts to prove that the satellite is providing service that otherwise would not be provided but for the common operation with the parent station. This is a costly process that is almost always approved by the FCC. The FCC thus proposes that, instead of providing a detailed showing, the buyer should only need to certify that it believes that satellite operation is still justified and attach a copy of the last showing made to justify such decision (as we have written before in the context of FCC fees, the FCC does not have a comprehensive list of satellite authorizations and is considering how one should be developed). Then, if someone believes that circumstances have changed so that satellite operation should not be continued, they can object to the assignment, when further facts can be advanced. If there is no objection, then the FCC would effectively assume that the satellite status should remain in place. Look for further consideration of this proposal at the March 22 meeting.

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Online Public File for Radio and Biennial Ownership Reports, Effective Date of ATSC 3.0, Comments on TV National Ownership and Media Modernization, and GMR Extension

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Mon 26 Feb 2018 5:58 pm

March is one of those months where without the Annual EEO Public File Reports that come up for different states every other month, or without the Quarterly Issues Programs List and Children’s Television Report obligations that arise following the end of every calendar quarter. But this March has two very significant deadlines right at the beginning of the month – Online Public Files for radio and Biennial Ownership Reports – that will impose obligations on most broadcasters.

For radio stations, March 1 is the deadline for activating your online public inspection file. While TV stations and larger radio clusters in the Top 50 markets have already made the conversion to the online public file, for radio stations in smaller markets, the requirement that your file be complete and active is Thursday. As we wrote here, there are a number of documents that each station should be uploading to their file before the deadline (including Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and, if a station is part of an employment unit with 5 or more full-time employees, Annual EEO Public Inspection File Reports). As the FCC-hosted online public file date-stamps every document entered into the file, and as the file can be reviewed by anyone at anytime from anywhere in the world, stations need to be sure that they are timely uploading these documents to the file, as who knows who may be watching your compliance with FCC requirements. And this is not the only big obligation for broadcasters coming up in March.

On March 2, all full-power stations, commercial and noncommercial, and all LPTV stations, need to complete and file with the FCC their Biennial Ownership Reports (see our article here). These reports are supposed to give the FCC a snapshot of the ownership of broadcast stations as of October 1, 2017 so that interested parties can see who owns what stations, and have a complete database from which they can assess broadcast ownership by the gender and ethnicity of all attributable owners. Even parties who sold their stations since October 1 have to file reports detailing what they owned on that date. As this comprehensive database is so important to the FCC and to some public interest groups interested in assessing diversity in broadcast ownership, be sure that you meet this deadline.

March also brings comment dates in various FCC proceedings. Initial comment in the FCC proceeding looking at whether to change the national ownership cap for television are due on March 19. See our article here about the extension of the comment date to March 19, and our summary of the issues in the proceeding here.

Comments in the FCC proceeding, as part of its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, looking to eliminate the FCC filing requirement for certain documents relating to ownership – including corporate organizational documents, documents related to future ownership (like options and stock pledges) and other documents that restrict the operational decisions of broadcasters – are due on March 19. We wrote about that proceeding here.

For TV, the effective date of the rules permitting the use of ATSC 3.0, the new transmission standard for next-generation television, is March 5. See the Federal Register notice of that effective date here . Reply comments on some open issues on ATSC 3.0, about which we wrote here, are due on March 20 – initial comments having been filed in February.

For radio, be looking for communication from Global Music Rights, the newest of the performing rights organizations, about an extension of their license to play music written by the songwriters that this organization represents. The current interim license that GMR offered to broadcasters expires at the end of the month. As we wrote here, as GMR is still litigating with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) about whether their rate-setting should be subject to some antitrust review, GMR has agreed to extend their interim license until September 30, and has promised to contact stations about an extension soon. Stations should reach out if they have not heard from before the end of the month.

As in any month, these are just some highlights of the regulatory issues facing broadcasters in the coming days. Every station has its own set of regulatory questions too, so be sure that you are staying on top of these nagging legal and regulatory matters. Even though they can be time consuming, staying on top of these matters will save money and aggravation in the long term.

Another Media Regulation Modernization Proposal – Abandon the Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report (Though Maintain the EEO Performance Review)

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 23 Feb 2018 5:57 pm

At its meeting yesterday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggesting the abolition of the EEO Mid-Term Report, FCC Form 397. That form is filed at the mid-point of the renewal term of TV stations with 5 or more full-time employees and radio clusters with 11 or more full-time employees (see our post here about the form). As the content of the report is principally made up of the broadcaster’s last two EEO Public Inspection File Reports, and those reports are available in a broadcasters online public inspection file (which should be in place for virtually all broadcast stations when the final radio stations covert to the online public file next week, see our post here), the FCC concluded that there is no real reason that these reports need to be separately submitted, and thus proposed its elimination.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking did suggest that there were issues on which comments would be appropriate. The one bit of information that would not be readily available without the filing of the Form 397 would be which TV stations have 5 full-time employees and which radio clusters have more than 11 full-timers. That is important as Congress required the mid-term review of the EEO performance of stations meeting these employment thresholds. So the FCC asks how that information should be tracked. It is also noteworthy that the FCC will continue to conduct the EEO mid-term review of stations meeting these employment thresholds even without the filing of the Form 397 reports.

As the FCC says that they will continue to conduct that mid-term review, it is interesting that the FCC also asks in the NPRM what other EEO review should be conducted to assess the EEO performance of stations, seemingly at the insistence of Commissioner Clyburn who feared that the abolition of the Form 397 might send the wrong message about the FCC’s commitment to EEO even if its retention served no useful purpose. Commissioner Clyburn’s comments are available here. Seemingly, as the Commission will continue to do the EEO mid-term review, and continue audits and complaint-based reviews, many methods of assessment are already in place.

Comment dates on this proposal will be set when it is published in the Federal Register. This is one more proposal for procedural reform advanced as part of Chairman Pai’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative. As we wrote earlier this week, we are looking forward to more substantive proposals in the months to come.

FCC LMS Filing System Off-Line for Maintenance For Parts of This Weekend – Making Biennial Ownership Report Filings More Difficult

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 16 Feb 2018 5:26 pm

Note, for all of you who are trying to complete your Biennial Ownership Reports that are due for commercial and noncommercial stations on March 2 (see our post here about the March 2 filing date), the FCC yesterday posted a notice on the log-in screen for its LMS electronic database, in which the ownership reports are filed, that it will be off-line for maintenance during parts of the upcoming 3-day weekend. As the system has had glitches in recent weeks, that maintenance may be overdue, but if you are running late on completing the Biennial Ownership Reports, this may not be welcome news.  Plan accordingly. 


Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing on Multilingual EAS Obligations for Broadcasters

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 16 Feb 2018 4:54 pm

As we wrote here, MMTC (a DC-based public interest group) had petitioned the US Court of Appeals for a Rehearing on its decision (about which we wrote here) upholding the FCC decision deciding not to impose any multilingual EAS obligations on broadcasters.  The full Court of Appeals has just issued a one sentence order denying that reconsideration request.  While, theoretically, MMTC’s next appeal would be to the Supreme Court, lacking an issue of major significance or constitutional importance, that is unlikely. 

Thus, as we wrote here, the next step in any attempt to deal with multilingual EAS alerts will be with the FCC, which has agreed to further consider a survey of state EAS coordinators (“SECCs”) to see how best to insure that EAS alerts are distributed widely to the entire population.  By May, SECCs are supposed to integrate information about non-English speaking groups within their states into their State EAS plans, and file those revised plans with the FCC.  After that has occurred, we will see if the FCC takes further action in this area.  So stay tuned, as the issue continues to evolve. 


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