This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters:  October 2, 2021 to October 8, 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.

  • The FCC issued a Public Notice to remind potential applicants of the upcoming filing window for applications for construction permits for new noncommercial educational FM stations. The application window will open at 12:01 am Eastern Time on November 2 and close at 6:00 pm Eastern on November 9.  Applications will only be accepted for construction permits in the FM reserved band (channels 201-220, 88.1 through and including 91.9).  The Public Notice also reminds broadcasters that there is a filing freeze in place on any application for a minor change that could impact potential filings in the window – freezing minor change applications by existing stations in the FM reserved band and by stations on unreserved channels adjacent to the reserved band (channels 221–223) and those on intermediate frequency (IF) channels (channels 254-274).  The freeze will be in place through November 9.  (Public Notice)
  • The FCC held an information session this past week to explain the requirements for the filing of Biennial Ownership Reports which must be submitted by commercial and noncommercial AM, FM, TV and LPTV operators by December 1, 2021. These reports inform the FCC of the ownership of each station as of October 1, 2021.  The FCC has already warned broadcasters that there will be enforcement penalties for stations that do not file these reports.  A replay of the information session is available on the FCC’s website, here, and on the FCC’s YouTube channel, here.
  • The FCC released a draft Order that cleans up FCC rules that apply to TV and LPTV stations by reflecting changes caused by the broadcast incentive auction and repacking process. If adopted, the Order will revise the DTV Table of Allotments to reflect the current, post-auction channels of TV stations.  The Order would also delete or revise FCC rules that, following the DTV transition, incentive auction, and repack, no longer have any practical effect.  Most of these rules involve references to channels that are no longer part of the TV band or procedures that only applied during the incentive auction and its immediate aftermath.  This Order should be adopted at the FCC’s regular monthly Open Meeting on October 26.  (Draft Order)
  • The FCC published its broadcast station totals as of September 30. The accounting shows 157 fewer stations are licensed now than were licensed at the end of June.  The most significant decrease came in the FM and TV translator category.  (Station Totals)

Courtesy Broadcast Law Blog