This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  February 12, 2024 to February 16, 2024
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from this week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The FCC announced that March 18 is the effective date of the rules adopted in its December 2023 Report and Order concluding its 2018 Quadrennial Review of its broadcast ownership rules. 

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  February 5, 2024 to February 9, 2024
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The FCC removed from its list of tentative written decisions circulating among the Commissioners for review and approval an item addressing the EEO rules for broadcasters and cable companies. 

Sports Rights, the Super Bowl, and the Perception of Local Over-the-Air TV
Last week, when the NFL playoffs and upcoming Super Bowl had everyone thinking football, Congress held a hearing on how streaming media has affected sports and other video programming rights.  We noted that hearing in our weekly update this weekend.  As we said in our update, the hearing touched on all the video media issues of the day – sports rights,

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  January 29, 2024 to February 2, 2024
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The FCC announced the circulation for Commissioner review and approval of two decisions of interest to broadcasters, signifying that we may soon see FCC action on these matters:
    • FCC Commissioners Carr and Starks released a joint statement supporting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s action circulating an order resolving the FCC’s long-pending proceeding about whether to authorize “zonecasting” or “geo-targeting” for FM stations. 

FCC Nears Decision on Zonecasting for FM Stations – What’s at Stake?
This week, Commissioners Carr and Starks issued a joint statement congratulating Chairwoman Rosenworcel for circulating an order to resolve the FCC’s long-pending proceeding about whether to authorize “zonecasting” or “geo-targeting” for FM stations.  Zonecasting would allow FM broadcasters to use FM booster stations operating on the same channel as their main signal, within a station’s existing service area,

Commercial Radio Station Revenue Must Be Reported to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC by April 1
We often write about issues concerning the royalties paid by radio stations for their various uses of music.  It is not just paying the royalties that are important, but stations must also observe all of all the other obligations under each of their license agreements.  The Radio Music License Committee asked us to remind commercial radio stations of one of those obligations – the requirement that commercial radio operators report their prior year’s annual station revenues to the Performing Rights Organizations – ASCAP,

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Annual EEO Public File Reports, C-Band Transition Reimbursement, Political Windows, and More
President Biden’s signing of the Continuing Resolution last week (see our discussion here) has kept the federal government open, with the FCC and FTC having money to stay open through March 8.  So the FCC will be open and thus there are February regulatory dates to which broadcasters should be paying attention. 
February 1 is the deadline for radio and television station employment units in Arkansas,

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  January 22, 2024 to January 26, 2024
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The FCC released its agenda for its Open Meeting scheduled for February 15.  The FCC will consider two items of interest to broadcasters:
    • For years,

FCC Proposes to Prioritize Processing of Applications by Stations with Local Programming – And Asks Many Questions About Whether the FCC Should Have Abolished the Main Studio Rule
The FCC last week issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed to give incentives to broadcasters to air more local journalism and local programming by prioritizing the processing of certain applications by stations that feature local programming.  That decision drew dissents from both of the FCC’s Republican Commissioners, not because of the proposal for the preference, but because they were concerned about language in the Notice asking for comment on whether the FCC was correct in its 2017 decision that abolished the main studio rule and the policy requiring broadcasters to have the capability of originating programming from a physical location in their service areas.  

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  January 8 to January 12, 2024
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The FCC’s January 12 report listing the items on circulation (those orders or rulemaking proposals that have been drafted and are currently circulating among the Commissioners for review and a vote) noted the removal from the list of a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which proposes prioritizing FCC review of applications seeking approval for license renewal and assignments or transfers of control when those applications are submitted by broadcasters that provide locally originated programming. 

Copyright Royalty Board Starts WEB VI Proceeding to Set Webcasting Royalties Paid to SoundExchange for 2026-2030: Petitions to Participate Due February 6
The Copyright Royalty Board on Friday published in the Federal Register a call for interested parties to file Petitions to Participate in the proceeding to set the royalty rates to be paid by webcasters (including broadcasters who simulcast their programming through internet-delivered channels) in the period 2026-2030.  These royalties are paid by webcasters to SoundExchange for the noninteractive streaming of sound recordings. 

Gazing into the Crystal Ball at Legal and Policy Issues for Broadcasters in 2024 – Part II: What to Expect from the Courts and Agencies Other than the FCC
Earlier this week, we covered the broadcast issues that the FCC may be facing in 2024.  But the FCC is just one of the many branches of government that regulates the activities of broadcasters.  There are numerous federal agencies, the Courts, Congress, and even state legislatures that all are active in adopting rules, making policies, or issuing decisions that can affect the business of broadcasting and the broader media industry.