July is relatively light on broadcast regulatory dates, but the Quarterly Issues/Programs List deadline on July 10 is one that applies to all full-power broadcasters and Class A TV stations. As set forth below, there are a few other dates worth noting this coming month – with more to come in August.
July 10 is the deadline by which all full-power television, full-power radio and Class A television stations must upload to their online public inspection files their Quarterly Issues/Program Lists for the second quarter of 2023. The lists should identify the issues of importance to the station’s community and the programs that the station aired in April, May and June that addressed those issues. As you finalize your lists, do so carefully and accurately, as they are the only official records of how your station is serving the public and addressing the needs and interests of its community. See our article here for more on the importance of the Quarterly Issues/Programs list obligation.
July 10 is also the deadline by which noncommercial educational stations must upload to their public inspection files documentation of any on-air fundraising benefitting third parties that interrupted their normal programming from April 1 through June 30, 2023. This obligation applies to noncommercial educational stations not affiliated with NPR or PBS that conducted such third-party on-air fundraising. For more information about this requirement, see our article here. Also on July 10, Class A television stations should upload to their online public file documentation of their continuing eligibility for Class A status during the period from April 1 through June 30, 2023.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel announced that the FCC, at its open meeting on July 20, intends to announce its decision resolving whether it will continue to allow “Franken FM” or “FM6 stations,” (i.e., LPTV stations operating on TV channel 6 with an analog audio service that can be received on FM radios at 87.7 MHz) to provide their existing analog radio service by authorizing it as an “ancillary or supplementary service.” LPTV operators had asked the FCC to bless the post-conversion operation of an analog audio signal embedded in the digital Channel 6 LPTV station transmissions so that these FM broadcasts can continue, which the FCC has tentatively decided to do with respect to 13 LPTV stations that had provided such service in the past. For more details on this item, see our blog article here
July 31 is the deadline by which commercial television stations with locally-produced programming whose signals were carried as distant signals by at least one cable or satellite system in 2022 may file royalty claims for compensation with the Copyright Office in Washington, DC. Cable and satellite systems are obligated to pay these royalties pursuant to their compulsory copyright license to carry distant TV signals on their systems. Stations that do not file claims by the July 31 deadline will not be able to collect royalties for distant carriage of their signals during 2022. The filing process consists of two-steps: (1) if you did not do so last year, you must register through the Copyright Royalty Boards’s eCRB system and then (2) file your claim electronically through eCRB by July 31, 2023.
The Commission recently issued a Public Notice announcing that it is taking comments on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by REC Networks in which REC proposes rules to govern a possible future FM translator filing window. Among REC’s proposals are a limit on applications by any one applicant and limits on the sale of any construction permits that are granted in any new filing window. Comments on the REC Petition are due on July 26, 2023 and will give the FCC the opportunity to decide whether to further advance these proposals through a formal rulemaking process.
The FCC has published its All-In Pricing for Cable and Satellite Television Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Comments are due July 31, and replies are due August 29. The NPRM proposes to require cable operators and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to specify the “all-in” price for video service in their promotional materials and on subscribers’ bills. Cable operators and DBS providers would be able to complement the aggregate line item with an itemized explanation of the elements that compose that single line item.
Looking forward to early August, August 1 is the deadline for Radio and Television Station Employment Units in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin with 5 or more full-time employees to upload to their online public inspection file their Annual EEO Public File Report. A station employment unit is a station or cluster of commonly controlled stations serving the same general geographic area having at least one common employee. For employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, the annual report covers hiring and employment outreach activities for the prior year. A link to the uploaded report must also be included on the home page of a station’s website, if it has a website.
For those radio employment units in North Carolina and South Carolina, the Annual EEO Public File Report brings a new requirement, as this is the mid-point of those stations’ renewal term. As we wrote here, this means that the FCC will conduct its EEO Mid-Term Review of those radio employment units with 11 or more full-time employees. When radio stations in these states upload their Annual EEO Public File Reports, they must also check a new checkbox in the Settings section of the FCC-hosted public inspection file stating whether or not they have 11 or more full-time employees in their employment unit, so the FCC knows which clusters to review as part of the Mid-Term Review. All other radio groups will need to complete this step as well prior to their Mid-Term Review.
As always, this list of dates is not exhaustive. Note, too, that deadlines can change. Always review these dates with your legal and technical advisors, and note other dates not listed here that may be relevant to your operations.
Courtesy Broadcast Law Blog