The AM Directional Threat … Does It Exist?

Among the dozens of e-mails Media Information Bureau columnist Ken Benner dumps each day with nary a glance was one that caught his attention well before hitting the "delete" key. The note to Benner suggested the FCC was about to focus on AM directional antenna compliance. "I normally keep pretty good track on what the current FCC fine-focus is, and this was news to me," Benner says. "I could locate nothing from the commission or the various publications I scan each week." Is AM directional antenna compliance a new concern to put on your radar?

Congress Takes The First Steps Toward Pirate Plank

Despite visibly increased enforcement of unlicensed FM radio broadcast operations across the U.S., fueled by efforts led by Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, "pirate radio" operators continue to clog the airwaves in areas such as South Florida, New York City, and the greater Boston area. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation that would put greater fear — and financial punch — behind the FCC's Notice of Unlicensed Operations and proposed fines. 

Rosenworcel To FCC: Post-Maria Public Study Needed Now

In an address to Hispanic Radio Conference attendees delivered Wednesday afternoon in Doral, Fla., FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called on the FCC to fully assess what went right -- and what went wrong -- as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands dealt with Hurricane Maria some six months ago. The comments came following a visit to Puerto Rico by Rosenworcel, who is already concerned about the 2018 hurricane season.
SBS / Spanish Broadcasting System

SBS’s Dissident Shareholders Win Time On Foreign Owner Ruling

Four months ago, SBS notified the FCC's Media Bureau that it is out of compliance with its foreign ownership restrictions. Since then, SBS has been giving status reports to the Bureau, and an amended Petition for Declaratory Ruling (PDR) is also on the way. SBS wants affirmation from the Bureau that remedial actions taken to become compliant are sufficient.  Dissident shareholders want their say on the matter — and they're now going to get their chance.

Here Comes That Second Batch Of Repack Cash

Your station's bank account may have a few more dollars added to its balance by the time media executives gather in Las Vegas for the 2018 NAB Show. Just don't make a cash withdrawal and lose it to the many one-armed bandits found around Sin City. The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau have confirmed that an additional allocation of the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund is anticipated in approximately four to six weeks.

ATVA Seeks FCC Reconsideration Of Three Next-Gen TV Concerns

The American Television Alliance (ATVA) has filed a Petition with the FCC that seeks reconsideration of three aspects of an order authorizing the permissive use of the next generation broadcast TV standard known as ATSC 3.0. It seeks separate negotiations, no flash-cut transitions for LPTVs, and full disclosure should a station "degrade their signals without warning viewers and MVPDs beforehand." We've got an RBR+TVBR Observation on the matter, so fasten your seat belts, MVPDs.
U.S. Congress

House Moves Forward With Additional Repack Funding

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday (3/6) authorized additional funds for broadcasters repacking their channels following the recently concluded FCC incentive auction. H.R. 4986, the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services, or RAY BAUM’S Act, passed by voice vote.

Political Broadcasting Rules: What You Need To Know

With primaries in some states happening as soon as this month, the 2018 election cycle is certain to be contentious and hard-fought. That's why Fletcher Heald & Hildreth attorney Dan Kirkpatrick, who counsels television and radio stations on compliance with FCC regulations affecting their day-to-day operations, as well as in the context of sale, purchase, and financing transactions, says now is the time for broadcasters to review their systems to ensure that they will be in compliance with the FCC’s political advertising requirements.

March Open Meeting To Include Sat-Station NPRM

The FCC on March 1 unveiled its tentative March Open Meeting agenda, along with a special note that the March 22 gathering will start one hour earlier than usual, at 9:30am. While most of the agenda items do not pertain to broadcast media, there's something that will be of interest to some TV station owners. 

Shared Services: Skirting Rules Or Saving Stations?

A pair of Asset Purchase Agreements were filed with the FCC on Wednesday, March 1, that in the eyes of the Commission are no different than any other. The stations' licenses are going from one party to another. Money is being exchanged. However, there is a caveat: Through a "Shared Services Agreement," the seller will still have a large level of control of the stations. Is this fair? The Ajit Pai-led FCC says yes. Under prior FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the likelihood of these spins passing muster with the Commission would have been far more risky.

Eight States Call For 39% Cap Codification For TV

The Attorneys General of Illinois, California, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia have filed comments with the FCC in response to a NPRM on the national television audience reach limit and the so-called "UHF discount." "As the chief consumer protection and law enforcement officers in our respective states, we are responsible for promoting and defending the public interest," they say in unison. They then politely asked the Commission to ditch the discount, and prevent any increase of the reach cap.

Auction 99 Window Opens For FM Translator Filings

It's 64 degrees and sunny in Gaithersburg, Md., and spring is getting ever closer. So, it seems like a good day to announce a window opening. Only, this one is for the filing of FM translator new station Construction Permit applications for some 165 "Tech Box" proposals.
David Honig

Incubator NPRM Comment Period Stays As Is

On January 18, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) filed an extension request with the FCC, asking it to elongate the period of time provided for comments and reply comments in a rulemaking proceeding tied to new entry and ownership diversity in broadcast media. The FCC on Tuesday made its decision: No.

Radio Repack Funds Requested By Key House Members

Two Lone Star Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, from different parties, have formally asked the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee for the inclusion of funds specifically designated for the reimbursement of expenses incurred by local radio stations from the post-FCC spectrum auction "repack" process in its 2018 appropriations bill.

Cicelski Now A Lerman Senter Member

In October 2015, Paul Cicelski joined Lerman Senter PLLC as an attorney following a nearly 11-year tenure at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC. Now, Cicelski is officially a Member of the firm.

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