This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: March 20, 2021 to March 26, 2021

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the last week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • We noted last week that updated fees for broadcast applications would take effect April 19. After clarification from the FCC, while the rules adopting those fees will be effective on that date, the updated fees themselves will not be assessed until later.  That will probably be sometime May, after the FCC has time to update its databases, internal procedures, and fee filing documents.  Watch for an announcement from the FCC as to the exact date that the new fees will go into effect when those updates are complete.
  • It was announced this week that new penalties for pirate radio go into effect on April 26. The FCC will have the ability to assess fines of $100,000 per day (up to a total of $2 million) against pirate radio operators.  Landlords who are found to have “willfully and knowingly” allowed pirates to broadcast from their properties can also face penalties.  (Federal Register)
  • The FCC’s new Broadcast Internet rules became effective March 25. The principal effect of the new rules was to clarify issues about the FCC fees to be paid by TV stations for ancillary and supplementary non-broadcast services using their datacasting capabilities.  We wrote about the new rules, here.  (Public Notice)
  • In connection with the FCC’s decision to not set aside a vacant TV channel in each market for use by wireless microphones and unlicensed devices, two wireless microphone companies have petitioned the FCC to reconsider that decision. Oppositions to the petition are due by April 9 and replies to the oppositions are due by April 19.  Broadcasters argued successfully that reserving a channel in every market would further shrink a TV band already made smaller by the incentive auction and could harm future broadcast innovation.  (Federal Register)
  • Visit our blog to read our monthly feature on some of the important regulatory dates and deadlines coming up in April. These include the April 1 deadline for radio stations in Texas and television stations in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee to file their license renewal applications and Broadcast EEO Program Reports. In addition, TV and radio stations in Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Delaware, and Pennsylvania that are part of a station employment unit with five or more full-time employees must post to their online FCC public inspection file their Annual EEO Public Inspection File Report covering their hiring and employment outreach activities for the twelve months from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.  They must also add a link to that report on the homepage of their station’s website. (Broadcast Law Blog)

Courtesy Broadcast Law Blog