This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: October 8, 2022 to October 14, 2022

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.

  • A judge in King County, Washington, released his decision finding that Facebook parent Meta intentionally violated the Washington State requirements for public access to documents concerning the sale of advertising to state political candidates.  We wrote about the Washington State rules and this case on our Broadcast Law Blog, here.  The state’s Attorney General has announced that he will seek the maximum penalty of $24.6 million for the 822 violations found by the judge.
  • The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Violation to an FM station after FCC field agents discovered that the station was operating three miles from its authorized transmitter site.  If your station needs to make technical changes to its operations, be sure to seek FCC permission for those changes, which is required in most cases before they are implemented.
  • The Media Bureau proposed to assess a fine of $1,500 each on two low power FM (LPFM) stations (see decisions here and here)  that failed to file their license renewal applications on time.  In each case, the station’s license renewal applications were filed four months late without explanation, but before its license expiration date.  The Bureau reached its conclusion notwithstanding its finding that neither violation was so “serious” as to warrant the denial of the renewal applications.
  • The FCC’s Media Bureau issued a one-year license renewal to an AM station for its failure to consistently remain on the air and its failure to timely place documents in its online public inspection file.  The station was also required to adopt a compliance plan to address the public file violation.  As to the station’s failure to stay on the air, the Bureau found that the station was assigned to the current licensee on November 16, 2019, and its license term ended on August 1, 2021. The Station was silent at the time its license was assigned, having gone silent on January 20, 2019, until January 6, 2020, and then again from November 11, 2021, to July 30, 2022 (i.e., for over 8% of its license term under the current licensee and 30% of its extended term while the renewal application was pending, warranting the short-term renewal).

Courtesy Broadcast Law Blog