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. 

FCC Imposes $26,000 Fine on Broadcaster for One EEO Annual Public File Report that was Uploaded Late
The full Commission this week issued an Order fining Cumulus Media $26,000 for its failure to upload one EEO Annual Public File Report to its online public inspection file until about 9 months after the due date.  The unanimous decision of the five Commissioners generally upheld an EEO Notice of Apparent Liability, issued unanimously by all four FCC Commissioners about two years ago,

The Last Three Weeks in Regulation for Broadcasters: December 18, 2023 to January 5, 2024
Expecting quiet weeks, we took the holidays off from providing our weekly summary of regulatory actions of interest to broadcasters.  But, during that period, there actually were many regulatory developments.  Here are some of those developments, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations. 

  • The biggest news from the holiday period was that FCC finally released a Report and Order concluding its long-delayed 2018 Quadrennial Review of the broadcast ownership rules. 

This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  December 11 to December 15, 2023

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past two weeks, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations. On our Broadcast Law Blog this week, we reminded broadcasters that special elections and state and local elections trigger… Continue Reading…

Special Election Dates Announced to Fill George Santos’ Congressional Seat – Remember Special Elections and State and Local Elections Trigger Political Obligations Too

Right now, most broadcasting stations and other media companies are focused on selling political advertising for the primaries for the 2024 elections and subsequent November election that will elect the President, the US Congress, and so many other officer holders in DC and elsewhere in the country.  But broadcasters need to be aware of other… Continue Reading…

FCC Extends LPFM Filing Window Until December 15 and Extends Freeze on Minor Modifications to FM Translators to December 18, 2023

The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice extending for two days the now-open window for the filing of applications for new LPFM stations – applicants now have until 12:00 PM Eastern Time on December 15, 2023 to file their applications.  See our articles here, here, and here for more information on the LPFM filing window.  The very… Continue Reading…

Michigan Becomes the Fifth State to Require Disclosure of the Use of AI in Political Ads

Another state has joined the list of those that require clear disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in political ads, joining others that have addressed concerns about deep fakes corrupting the political process. Michigan’s Governor Whitmer just signed a bill that adds Michigan to 4 other states (Texas, California, Washington, and Minnesota) that… Continue Reading…