Promoting and Advocating for the Broadcasters of Nevada, While Serving the Public

Nevada Broadcasters Association

In the News Archive

David is a partner at the law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, practicing out of its Washington, DC office. He has represented broadcasters for over 30 years on a wide array of matters from the negotiation and structuring of station purchase and sale agreements to regulatory matters. His regulatory expertise includes all areas of broadcast law including the FCC’s multiple ownership limitations, the political broadcasting rules, EEO policy, advertising issues, and other programming matters and FCC technical rules.

The FCC issued a Public Notice today, announcing that its regulatory fee filing system was now taking payments – and that payments are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time, on September 24. Yesterday, we indicated that the fees were due on September 30. We based that on a sentence in the FCC’s Order that said that was the deadline for the fees – but the FCC must have been talking about its deadline for collecting the fees, not the deadline for fee filers to pay the fees – as today’s Public Notice makes clear. So make sure you file before September 24 to avoid big penalties.

Broadcasters should review the Media Bureau’s Fee Filing Guide, available here.

Once upon a time, August was a quiet month in Washington, when everyone went on vacation. Sure, there are plenty of vacations that will happen this coming month, but it seems that regulatory activity no longer takes a break. For example, August 1 is the due date for the filing with the FCC of license renewals for all radio stations (including translators and LPFM stations) in North and South Carolina, and the filing of associated EEO forms for all full power radio stations in those states. With the renewal filing comes the obligation that these stations start airing, on August 1 and August 16, their post-filing announcements informing the public about the submission of the license renewal applications. Radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, who filed their renewals on or before June 2, also need to keep running their post-filing announcements on these same dates. Radio stations in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, who are in the next license renewal group with their renewal applications to be filed by October 1, need to start broadcasting their pre-filing announcements this month, also to run on the 1st and 16th of the month. See our post here on pre-filing announcements.

Commercial and noncommercial full power and Class A Television Stations and AM and FM radio stations in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin that are part of an employment unit with five or more full-time employees must place their annual EEO public inspection file reports in their online public file. Links to those reports should also be placed on the home pages of these station’s websites, if they have a website. The effectiveness of these EEO public file reports, and the EEO programs of which they are a part, are being reviewed by the FCC in a proceeding started by a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about which we wrote here. Comments on this notice asking for suggestions about how to make the EEO rules more effective are due August 21, with reply comments due by September 5.

August 1 is also the date for the next FCC open meeting, where the FCC will consider a rulemaking on changes to certain LPFM rules. The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also proposes to phase out protections to Channel 6 TV stations from all FM stations, including LPFMs, that operate on the noncommercial portion of the FM band. The FCC thinks that TV digital operations have lessened the need for the protections to be afforded the Channel 6 TV stations from FM stations operating in the adjacent noncommercial FM band. We will write more about this proceeding assuming the FCC adopts the NPRM later this week as expected.

August 7 brings the next Nationwide Test of the EAS system. This test will concentrate on the “daisy chain” system used by broadcasters to relay alerts from one station to another across the country (see our post here). Thus, broadcasters’ performance will be under close scrutiny. Be sure that your system is working, and that you file the post-test ETRS Form 2 on August 7, reporting on whether or not your station successfully received and relayed the test message.

August 9 is the date for filing comments on the Department of Justice’s inquiry into whether changes should be made in the antitrust consent decrees that govern the operations of ASCAP and BMI.We wrote about that proceeding here. It is important to broadcasters because the consent decrees require these performing rights organizations to treat all broadcasters in the same manner, and to impose rates that are reasonable (and provide for court review if ASCAP or BMI cannot come to an agreement with broadcast groups as to whether their rates are reasonable). This is an important proceeding that could have significant financial ramifications on the broadcast industry.

Parts of the FCC’s new FM translator interference resolution process, including allowing translators to change to any available channel to resolve an interference complaint, will take effect on August 13. Other portions of the new rules (including the requirement that complaints about interference come from inside a full-power station’s 45 dbu contour and setting out the minimum number of complaints needed to sustain an interference complaint, require prior approval from the Office of Management and Budget before they can take effect.

Later in the month, we would also expect that the FCC will release its final decision on annual regulatory fees to be paid by broadcasters and all other FCC-regulated entities. As we wrote last month, the fees that the FCC initially proposed are being challenged by broadcasters as the proposed radio fees would increase significantly this year without evident explanation. This year TV regulatory fees are moving to a population coverage-based fee, instead of one based on the DMA in which the station operates. That has resulted in some stations’ proposed fees – especially some VHF stations in major markets – to significantly increase. We will be looking for this fee decision soon, as the fees need to be paid in September, before the October 1 start of the next government fiscal year.

As always, these are just some highlights of the regulatory issues that broadcasters will be looking at this month. Check with your own counsel or legal adviser to make sure that we have not omitted any dates that could be important to your operations this month.

(May 17, 2019) KUNR Public Radio in Reno Joins Mountain West News Bureau

Collaboration Expands Regional News Coverage

RENO, Nev. – KUNR Public Radio has joined the Mountain West News Bureau, a regional reporting collaboration of public radio news stations. KUNR, a service of the University of Nevada, Reno, joins five current member stations in serving the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah—and now Nevada’s high desert and the Sierra.

The Mountain West News Bureau provides original reporting from its combined network of public radio newsrooms led by Boise State Public Radio in Idaho and including KUNR (Reno), KUER (Salt Lake City), Wyoming Public Media (Laramie), KRCC (Colorado Springs), and KUNC (Greeley, Colo.). Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the station partners.

“Collaboration is a force multiplier; together stations can do more and innovate faster to provide the local journalism that is part of the bedrock of public media’s valued service to our country,” said Kathy Merritt, CPB senior vice president, journalism and radio.

“The growth of the KUNR newsroom over the past several years is impressive,” said Tom Michael, general manager of Boise State Public Radio and managing director of the Mountain West News Bureau. “We are proud to include KUNR in the collaboration. We look forward to sharing regional reports for the listeners in Reno and to hear more stories from Nevada.”

Western Issues Include Land, Water, Growth, Culture

Each partner station has a dedicated reporter who contributes stories about the unique issues in the urban and rural areas of the Rocky Mountain/Sierra Nevada region. They also collaborate with national programs, including American Public Media’s Marketplace, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as other public media programs. The four main areas of editorial focus are:

  • Land and water resource management
  • Regional growth
  • Issues in the rural West
  • Western culture

The stations work together to highlight these issues for a broad range of listeners. As in other regional journalism collaborations across the country, the project’s journalists are based in station newsrooms, sharing news content for audio and digital platforms across the region.

“From the Sierra to the Rocky Mountains and throughout the surrounding areas, we share common Western concerns and region-specific issues,” said KUNR General Manager David Stipech. “KUNR is excited to contribute to the news bureau’s tradition of sharing relevant, relatable stories with regional and national audiences—the way public radio does so well.”

Since its inception in early 2018, the Mountain West News Bureau has produced more than 700 stories or news reports for regional or national distribution, several of which have been recognized with prestigious industry awards.

 
   

 

                                                                       ###                                                                        

Media Contact: 
David Stipech 
General Manager 
KUNR Public Radio   
dstipech@kunr.org 
775-682-6300

KUNR is an award-winning NPR-member station with a growing presence in providing local and regional news to 70,000 weekly listeners throughout Northern Nevada, Eastern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. Licensed to the Nevada System of Higher Education, KUNR has for more than 55 years broadcast from the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant institution and top tier research university with an enrollment of nearly 22,000. KUNR is part of the university’sReynolds School of Journalism, one of 110 fully-accredited journalism and mass communication programs in the United States.

 

Links for more information: www.kunr.org      www.journalism.unr.edu     www.unr.edu    www.cpb.org

 

KUNR Public Radio / Mail Stop 0294 / University of Nevada, Reno / Reno, NV 89557 / www.kunr.org

 


 

 

 

 

 (Las Vegas, Nevada) Nevada Broadcasters Association (NVBA) President Mitch Fox announced today that the Findlay Automotive Group will receive the prestigious Community Achievement Award at the organization’s annual Hall of Fame Gala on August 24th at the Four Seasons Hotel.

 “Under the leadership of COO/CFO Tyler Corder, the Findlay Automotive Group has redefined philanthropy as one of the most community-minded companies in the state of Nevada,” said President Fox. “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and so many other non-profits have benefited by the generosity of this company. In addition, Findlay partners with our member stations as part of that outreach. Findlay Automotive Group was an easy choice to be the recipient of the Community Achievement Award at our annual Hall of Fame Gala.”

 The Findlay Automotive Group now consists of 34 dealerships in 6 states and every one of those dealerships is heavily involved in financially supporting charitable organizations in their respective areas. Employees also donate their time to assist non-profits. As COO and CFO, Tyler Corder has served as President of Safe Nest, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada and is actively involved in other Nevada charities.

This year marks the 24th Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at The Four Seasons Las Vegas. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions benefits the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities.

To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.                                                       

About Nevada Broadcasters Association

The mission of the NVBA is to promote and advocate for the Broadcasters of Nevada while serving the public. We help improve and preserve, on a national and statewide basis, an economic, legal and regulatory environment that best enhances the ability of each Station to be financially strong, to remain free from governmental control of programming, and to excel in the public service roles that each Station plays in Nevada.  The NVBA offers a robust Public Education Partnership program providing government agencies and non-profits, the ultimate in public outreach and awareness. We seek to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials along with other community leaders about important broadcasting issues, concerns and challenges, in an effort to create increasingly strong and healthy communities.

About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nevada Broadcasters Foundation (NVBF) and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Scholarship Fund finds the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Foundation awards full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. This scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters.

For more information about NVBA and NVBF, please call 702-794-4994, or visit http://nevadabroadcasters.org.

 Media Contacts:

Mitch Fox  Mitch@NevadaBroadcasters.org  

Eric Bonnici Eric@NevadaBroadcasters.org  

702-794-4994

                                                                                                                                                                   ###

(Las Vegas, Nevada) The Nevada Broadcasters Association will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to broadcast veteran Ralph Toddre during the Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, August 24, at 7pm at The Four Seasons Las Vegas.

Toddre first began his long broadcasting career in 1975, working as the Operations and Programming Manager at KLAS TV, a Landmark Communications Company.

In 1986, Ralph became Vice President and General Manager for Sunbelt Communications Company where he developed plans for a new Yuma television station. The station began operations less than six months after its conception.

Ralph returned to Nevada where he became Vice President and General Manager of KRNV News 4 in Reno and later, President and C.O.O. for Sunbelt Communications Company/Intermountain West Communications Company in which he managed operations for twelve NBC and FOX affiliate broadcast stations in five western states, including Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

As the father of three, two of whom were diagnosed with Autism, Ralph was inspired to become a leader in the State of Nevada and across the nation emphasizing the specific needs of children and families affected by the condition. He began this mission in 2006. by co-founding the Autism Coalition of Nevada with his wife, Meredith.

This year marks the 24th Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, at The Four Seasons Las Vegas. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions goes directly to support the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities. One hundred forty-five (145) scholarships have been awarded over the past seven (8) years to talented and dedicated students of broadcasting in Nevada.
To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.

As of March 1, 2018, all radio and television stations were required to transition their public inspection file to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) online public file system. However, despite the year-old deadline, a substantial number of broadcasters have not yet activated their online public file or have failed to keep their public file up-to-date.

These stations are at risk of substantial FCC fines. While the FCC has emailed warning notices to some stations, we strongly urge you not to wait for an FCC notice. Stations should immediately confirm that they are complying with the FCC’s rules. 

Ensuring that your station’s online public file is online and complete takes on added importance as we enter the license renewal cycle. Renewal applications require stations to either certify that their public file has been complete and up-to-date at all times during the license term or disclose violations. In addition to substantial fines, an incomplete online public file can lead to extensive delays in the license renewal process.

Of particular concern is the failure to upload the quarterly issues/programs lists, which demonstrate how a station has addressed the needs and interests of its community. These lists must be placed in each station’s online public file on a quarterly basis, going back to the start of the current 8-year license term. Failure to comply can be extremely costly. The FCC recently fined five radio stations $10,000 to $12,000 each for lacking copies of the issues/programs lists in their online public files. In addition to the issues/programs lists, stations should promptly upload their annual EEO public file reports, children’s television reports, political broadcasting information, and all other required materials. 

If you have questions, please contact your station’s legal counsel or the NAB legal department at 866.682.0276.

The FCC yesterday released two public notices about the procedures to be used in the upcoming radio license renewal cycle. These actions were previewed by the FCC at the NAB Convention last week (see our article here). As we wrote here and here, the license renewal cycle begins with the filing of license renewal applications by stations in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia that must be submitted by June 3 (as the June 1 deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day). Stations in these states should already be running their Pre-Filing Announcements on the 1st and 16thof the 2 months preceding the renewal filing (see our articles here and here).

The first of yesterday’s notices announces that the renewals will be filed in the FCC’s LMS database which was first used by radio broadcasters in connection with the filing of their last set of Biennial Ownership Reports. In addition to the license renewal form (now FCC Form 2100, Schedule 303-S), broadcasters will also have to submit a Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (LMS Form 2100, Schedule 396). The Public Notice says that the forms will be available by May 1. It also notes that, over time, other radio forms will migrate to the LMS database as the FCC leaves behind CDBS, the database that it has used for broadcasting for well over a decade.

The second Public Notice provides some more details about the renewal process. It makes clear that all stations, whether or not they have 5 full-time employees, will need to file both Schedule 303-S and Schedule 396. In connection with the EEO filing, stations with fewer than 5 full-time employees are only certifying that they have that number of employees, and reporting on whether there have been any EEO proceedings filed against them. The FCC also reminds broadcasters of their pre-filing announcement obligations referenced above and of their general duty to keep their online public file complete and up to date, confirming that if the online file is not complete by renewal time, fines are possible (see our articles here and here). For stations in the first renewal group, applications can be submitted any time after May 1.

Radio station operators should carefully review these new forms and their revised instructions and familiarize themselves with the workings of LMS if they have not already used that system. The upcoming renewal period is rapidly approaching, and these public notices make clear that the FCC will be closely monitoring your compliance with its rules.

(Las Vegas, Nevada) Nevada Broadcasters Association President Mitch Fox announced today that Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award, during the Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at 7pm at The Four Seasons Las Vegas.

“Congressman Amodei has always been a friend to Nevada’s broadcasting industry,” said President Fox. “His long-standing support for our issues was made even more evident when he was the first member of Nevada’s Congressional Delegation in 2019 to become a co-sponsor of the Local Radio Freedom Act.”

Congressman Amodei understands the importance of local radio and television, which provide free news and information, children’s programming, Emergency and Amber Alerts and public service announcements highlighting Nevada’s non-profits.

In Congressman Amodei’s words, “I consider local broadcasting to be necessary infrastructure, like a gas or electric utility. You really can’t live without it.”

The Nevada Congressman was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1996, representing Carson City. In 1998 he ran for the State Senate and served three terms. In 2011 Amodei was elected to Nevada’s Second Congressional District. He has served on the House Judiciary, Natural Resources and Veterans Affairs Committees and currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and two of its subcommittees.

This year marks the 24th Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at The Four Seasons Las Vegas. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions benefit the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities.

To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.

About Nevada Broadcasters Association

The mission of the NVBA is to promote and advocate for the Broadcasters of Nevada while serving the public. We help improve and preserve, on a national and statewide basis, an economic, legal and regulatory environment that best enhances the ability of each Station to be financially strong, to remain free from governmental control of programming, and to excel in the public service roles that each Station plays in Nevada. The NVBA offers a robust Public Education Partnership program providing government agencies and non-profits, the ultimate in public outreach and awareness. We seek to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials along with other community leaders about important broadcasting issues, concerns and challenges, in an effort to create increasingly strong and healthy communities.

About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nevada Broadcasters Foundation (NVBF) and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Scholarship Fund finds the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Foundation awards full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. This scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters.

For more information about NVBA and NVBF, please call 702-794-4994, or visit http://nevadabroadcasters.org.

Media Contacts:

Mitch Fox Mitch@NevadaBroadcasters.org

Eric Bonnici Eric@NevadaBroadcasters.org