2006 Archives

FCC Enforcement Monitor

Posted December 28, 2006

By Scott R. Flick and Jarrett S. Taubman

December 2006
Topics include:

  • FCC Upholds Fines Assessed Against Broadcasters for Violating Radio Frequency Radiation Maximum Permissible Exposure Limits
  • FCC Fines Kentucky Radio Station for Violating the Commission's Antenna Structure, Public Inspection File, and Emergency Alert System Rules

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Licensing and Royalty Basics for "Broadcasting" Music over the Internet

Posted December 6, 2006

By Cydney A. Tune

December 2006

The digital world can seem confusing and intimidating to those who want to "broadcast" music over the Internet, but moving into cyberspace also presents exciting new opportunities. There are myriad ways that music is used on the Internet. There are companies that operate Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") licensed radio stations that "stream" their over-the-air programming simultaneously on the Internet. There are also companies that deliver their program material directly on the Internet. For purposes of this discussion, both types of Internet users are called "webcasters."

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FCC Enforcement Monitor

Posted November 28, 2006

By Scott R. Flick and Jarrett S. Taubman

November 2006
Topics include:

  • FCC Fines Puerto Rico Radio Station $15,000 for Violating Antenna Structure and Public Inspection File Rules, and Failing to Operate Within the Terms of Its License
  • FCC Admonishes Florida Radio Station for Public Inspection File Violation
  • FCC Takes Action to Enforce Environmental and Historic Preservation Rules

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Broadcast Station EEO Advisory

Posted November 27, 2006

By Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

November 2006

This Broadcast Station EEO Advisory is directed to radio and television stations licensed to communities in: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont and highlights the upcoming deadlines for compliance with the FCC's EEO rule.

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FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein Continues to Make "News" Regarding Video News Releases

Posted November 20, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza and Emily J. Helser

November 2006
On November 14, 2006, FCC Commissioner Adelstein issued a statement commending The Center for Media Democracy and Free Press for its continued study regarding video news releases (VNRs). The Commission has described VNRs as "essentially prepackaged news stories, that may use actors to play reporters and include suggested scripts to introduce the stories." This advisory briefly outlines the current law regarding the broadcast of VNRs and alerts broadcasters to the need for caution in this area.

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Political Broadcasting Advisory

Posted November 16, 2006

By Clifford M. Harrington

November 2006
This Advisory provides a review of political broadcasting rules of the FCC.

In this Advisory, of particular note are new regulations imposed on political broadcasting by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act ("BCRA") of 2002, popularly known as "McCain-Feingold." BCRA contains several provisions that affect the way stations handle their political advertising. On December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court reviewed BCRA, and left intact all of the provisions of the law that apply to broadcasters.

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EEO in 2006 and Forward: A Legal Guide to the FCC's New EEO Rule and Policies for Broadcasters

Posted November 13, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza and Paul A. Cicelski

November 2006
On November 20, 2002, the FCC released a Second Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the "Second R&O") in which it adopted new equal employment opportunity rules and policies for broadcasters and for multi-channel video programming distributors (the "new EEO Rule"). A complete copy of the new EEO Rule as it relates to broadcasters is attached.

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Reaffirmed Principles and New "Clarifications" of the FCC's Obscenity, Indecency and Profanity Regulations and Policies

Posted November 10, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza and Emily J. Helser

November 2006
In an effort to reduce the risk of reversal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the FCC successfully persuaded the Court to allow it to pull back and review four indecency decisions. Earlier this week, the FCC announced the outcome of that review. The "F-word" is still very problematic. A five-second delay mechanism may not be enough to establish a legal defense. There is a tip-of-the-hat toward the First Amendment in the context of news programs but only that. And the procedural hurdle that the FCC has thrown up against blanket indecency complaints is probably only a temporary setback for national organizations intent upon "cleaning up the airwaves."

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Frequently Asked Questions About FCC Regulation of Obscenity, Indecency, and Profanity

Posted November 10, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer and Jarrett S. Taubman

November 2006
Sample questions include:

  • What is the source of the Commission's authority to limit "obscene," "indecent," and "profane" program material?
  • What FCC regulations prohibit "obscene" or "indecent" program material?
  • What Commission regulations prohibit "profane" program material?
  • What about the First Amendment?
  • Why aren't cable and satellite subject to the same regulations?

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Pre-filing and Post-filing License Renewal Announcement Reminder for New York and New Jersey TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV Translator Stations

Posted October 31, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Scott R. Flick, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

October 2006
TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV translator stations licensed to communities in New York and New Jersey should be receiving soon a postcard from the FCC reminding them that their license renewal applications must be filed by February 1, 2007.

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FCC Enforcement Monitor

Posted October 27, 2006

By Scott R. Flick and Jarrett S. Taubman

October 2006
Topics include:

  • FCC Fines Arizona Radio Station $8,000 for Violating the Commission's Emergency Alert System Rules
  • FCC Finds Multiple Entities for Violating the Commission's Antenna Structure Rules
  • FCC Fines Puerto Rico Radio Station $8,800 for Failing to Comply with the Terms of its License and for Violating the Commission's Public Inspection File Rule

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FCC Form 317 Reminder

Posted October 25, 2006

By Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

October 2006
Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report for Commercial Digital Television Stations

Each commercial and noncommercial educational television broadcast station that has received its digital television license must file FCC Form 317 to report to the FCC whether its station provided ancillary or supplemental services at any time during the twelve-month period ending on the preceding September 30. Only licensed DTV stations must file. Those operating pursuant to Special Temporary Authority or Program Test Authority need not file. The FCC Form 317 is due by December 1, 2006. Electronic filing of FCC Form 317 is mandatory beginning November 1, 2006. Paper versions will not be accepted for filing after October 31, 2006 unless accompanied by an appropriate request for waiver.


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FCC Issues Order Clarifying Television Broadcasters' Children's Television Programming Obligations

Posted October 6, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer and Tony Lin

October 2006
On September 29, 2006, the FCC released the Second Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order (hereafter "Second Order") regarding the children's television rules and policies it had established in 2004 but for which it had suspended implementation pending reconsideration. In the Second Order, the FCC rejected many of the petitions for reconsideration but adopted several changes to the 2004 rules that were requested by a coalition of broadcasters, programmers, and public interest groups in a "Joint Proposal" submitted earlier this year. The revised rules, which are discussed below, will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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2006 Third Quarter Issues/Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations

Posted October 5, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

October 2006
Content of the Quarterly List

The next Quarterly Issues/Programs List ("Quarterly List") must be placed in stations' local Public Inspection Files by October 10, 2006, reflecting information for the months of July, August, and September.

Continue reading "2006 Third Quarter Issues/Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations"

Third Quarter Children's Television Programming Documentation Advisory

Posted October 5, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

October 2006
The next Children's Television Programming Report must be filed with the FCC and placed in stations' local Public Inspection Files by October 10, 2006, reflecting programming aired during the months of July, August, and September.

Continue reading "Third Quarter Children's Television Programming Documentation Advisory"

FCC Designates Texas Radio Station's License Renewal Application for Hearing in Response to Apparently False Certifications

Posted September 29, 2006

By Scott R. Flick and Jarrett S. Taubman

September 2006
The Commission has designated a Texas radio station's license renewal application for hearing after determining that the licensee apparently made several false certifications to the Commission, calling the licensee's basic character qualifications into question. In January 2003, the licensee applied for a license to cover a previously-granted construction permit, and certified that the station's new facilities had been constructed as authorized. In May 2003, however, Commission personnel observed the station transmitting from a site approximately five miles from the location specified in the station's license application. During the subsequent inspection of the station, the licensee acknowledged that it had not commenced construction at the authorized site as certified, but that it had filed the license to cover application in order to prevent the expiration of the construction permit.

Continue reading "FCC Designates Texas Radio Station's License Renewal Application for Hearing in Response to Apparently False Certifications"

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Remands Portion of March 2006 Indecency Decisions and FCC Seeks Comments

Posted September 26, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Clifford M. Harrington and Richard R. Zaragoza

September 2006
FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology Announces Schedule for Proceeding on Unlicensed Operation in the TV Broadcast Bands

As we reported earlier, on March 6, 2006, the FCC released an Order in Complaints Regarding Various Television Broadcasts Between February 2, 2002 and March 8, 2005, Notices of Apparent Liability and Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 06-17 (the "Omnibus Order"). After the release of the Order, Fox Television Stations, Inc. and CBS Broadcasting, Inc. filed a joint petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the ABC Television Network and Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. filed a joint petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which transferred the petition to the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit consolidated the petitions on June 14, 2006.

Continue reading "Second Circuit Court of Appeals Remands Portion of March 2006 Indecency Decisions and FCC Seeks Comments"

FCC Enforcement Monitor

Posted September 19, 2006

By Scott R. Flick and Jarrett S. Taubman

September 2006
Topics include:

  • FCC Designates Texas Radio Station's Renewal Application for Hearing in Response to Licensee's False Certifications
  • FCC Fines Missouri Radio Station $16,800 for Violating the Commission's Public Inspection File and Main Studio Rules and Exceeding Authorized Nighttime Power Limits
  • FCC Rejects Mississippi Radio Station's Attempt to Avoid Fine for Alleged Inability to Pay

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Pre-filing and Post-filing License Renewal Announcement Reminder for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV Translator Stations

Posted August 1, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Scott R. Flick, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

August 2006
TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV translator stations licensed to communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont should be receiving soon a postcard from the FCC reminding them that their license renewal applications must be filed by December 1, 2006.

Continue reading "Pre-filing and Post-filing License Renewal Announcement Reminder for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV Translator Stations"

FCC Releases Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Broadcast Ownership Proceeding

Posted July 28, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza , Kathryn R. Schmeltzer and Paul A. Cicelski

July 2006
On July 24, 2006, the FCC released the text of the Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making ("FNPRM") in the broadcast ownership proceeding that was adopted at the FCC's June 21, 2006 agenda meeting. The FNPRM encompasses a number of docketed rule makings - a 2006 quadrennial regulatory review, the 2002 biennial regulatory review, cross-ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers, and rules and policies concerning local ownership of television stations and radio stations in the same market including the definition of radio markets. Basically, the FNPRM seeks comment on how the Commission should address the issues raised by the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, 373 F.3d 372, 382 (3d Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 125 S. Ct. 2902 (2005) ("Prometheus"); whether the media ownership rules are "necessary in the public interest as the result of competition;" and whether they should be changed in any way. Comments in the proceeding are due by September 22, 2006 and reply comments by November 21, 2006.

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New "Junk Fax" Rules Take Effect August 1, 2006

Posted July 28, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza and Jarrett S. Taubman

July 2006
The FCC's new "junk fax" rules, which were adopted on April 6, 2006 pursuant to the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 ("Fax Act"), will take effect on August 1, 2006.

The Commission's junk fax rules generally prohibit for-profit, as well as non-profit, entities from sending facsimile "advertisements" -- broadly construed -- to recipients that have not given their "prior express invitation or permission." Notwithstanding this general prohibition, the new rules provide that where the sender of a facsimile advertisement maintains an "established business relationship" ("EBR") with the intended recipient, the advertisement will not be deemed "unsolicited." The new rules also confirm that other forms of "prior express invitation or permission" will render the general prohibition inapplicable. To the extent that a sender transmits facsimile advertisements on a regular or even occasional basis, it should be aware of the requirements of the new rules.

Continue reading "New "Junk Fax" Rules Take Effect August 1, 2006"

FCC Rescinds Grant of Two California Low Power Television Licenses

Posted July 27, 2006

By Scott R. Flick

July 2006
The Commission recently rescinded the license grants and cancelled the underlying construction permits of two low power television stations in California. The FCC discovered that the licensee of the two stations falsely certified in its license application that "all terms, conditions, and obligations" set forth in the underlying construction permit had been met.

Continue reading "FCC Rescinds Grant of Two California Low Power Television Licenses"

Copyright Office Royalty Claims Due July 31

Posted July 26, 2006

By Richard R. Zaragoza and Clifford M. Harrington

July 2006
This advisory is directed to television stations with locally-produced programming whose signals were carried by at least one cable system located outside the station's DMA or by a satellite provider which provided service to at least one viewer outside the station's DMA. You are eligible to file royalty claims for compensation with the United States Copyright Office in Washington, DC. These filings are due by July 31, 2006.


Continue reading "Copyright Office Royalty Claims Due July 31"

FCC Enforcement Monitor

Posted July 20, 2006

By Scott R. Flick

July 2006
Topics include:

  • FCC Rescinds Grant of Two California Low Power Television Licenses
  • FCC Fines Septic Company $9,000 for Unsolicited Messages
  • FCC Fines Florida Radio Station $6,000 for Contest Hoax

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Broadcast Station EEO Advisory

Posted July 18, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

July 2006
This Broadcast Station EEO Advisory is directed to radio and television stations licensed to communities in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin and highlights the upcoming deadlines for compliance with the FCC's EEO rule.

Continue reading "Broadcast Station EEO Advisory"

FCC Adopts Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Broadcast Ownership Rules

Posted June 21, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer

June 2006
At its June 21, 2006 Open Agenda Meeting, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making ("FNPRM") concerning its broadcast multiple ownership rules and at the same time announced the beginning of its quadrennial ownership review required by Congress. The FNPRM has two purposes: (1) it seeks comment on how to address the issues raised by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Prometheus Radio Project, et al. v. FCC, 373 F. 3d 372 (3rd Cir. 2004), and (2) it opens a comprehensive review of all the FCC's multiple ownership rules.

Continue reading "FCC Adopts Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Broadcast Ownership Rules"

Pre-filing and Post-filing License Renewal Announcement Reminder for Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Guam and the Mariana Islands TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV Translator Stations

Posted June 13, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Scott R. Flick, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

June 2006
TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV translator stations licensed to communities in Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Guam and the Mariana Islands should be receiving soon a postcard from the FCC reminding them that their license renewal applications must be filed by October 1, 2006.

Continue reading "Pre-filing and Post-filing License Renewal Announcement Reminder for Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Guam and the Mariana Islands TV, Class A TV, LPTV and TV Translator Stations"

2006 Second Quarter Children's Television Programming Documentation Advisory

Posted June 13, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

June 2006
Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

As a result of the Children's Television Act of 1990 and the FCC Rules adopted under the Act, full power and Class A television stations are required, among other things, to: (1) limit the amount of commercial matter aired during programs originally produced and broadcast for an audience of children 12 years of age and younger; and (2) air programming responsive to the educational and informational needs of children 16 years of age and younger. Each of these requirements translates into the obligation to prepare supporting documents on a quarterly basis.

Continue reading "2006 Second Quarter Children's Television Programming Documentation Advisory"

2006 Second Quarter Issues / Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations

Posted June 8, 2006

By Kathryn R. Schmeltzer, Lauren Lynch Flick and Paul A. Cicelski

June 2006
Content of the Quarterly List

The next Quarterly Issues/Programs List ("Quarterly List") must be placed in stations' local Public Inspection Files by July 10, 2006, reflecting information for the months of April, May and June, 2006.

The FCC requires each broadcast station to air a reasonable amount of programming responsive to significant community needs, issues, and problems as determined by the station. The FCC gives each station the discretion to determine which issues facing the community served by the station are the most significant and how best to respond to them in the station's overall programming.

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FCC Fines Television Licensee $4,000 for Violations of Contest Rules

Posted May 1, 2006

By Scott R. Flick

May 2006
The FCC recently fined a television licensee $4,000 for violations that occurred during a contest run by the station in 2004. The FCC determined that the station failed to conduct the contest substantially as announced and advertised, a violation of Section 73.1216 of the Commission's Rules. It was discovered during the investigation that the licensee excluded multiple entries from consideration, misplaced legitimate entries, and failed to award all announced prizes.

A PDF version of this entire article can be found at FCC Fines Television Licensee $4,000 for Violations of Contest Rules.

FCC Announces Schedule for Advanced Wireless Services Spectrum Auction; FCC Auction Seminar to Be Held Monday, April 24, 2006; Small Business Bidding Discounts Still Under Review

Posted April 3, 2006

By Bruce D. Jacobs, Glenn R. Richards and David S. Konczal

April 2006
On June 29, the FCC will begin one of its biggest spectrum auctions ever. The FCC will auction a total of 1,122 licenses in 90 MHz of spectrum at 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz, known as Advanced Wireless Services ("AWS") or Third Generation ("3G") spectrum. This is the largest auction of spectrum for wireless services since the auction of Personal Communications Services ("PCS") licenses in the mid-1990s.

Continue reading "FCC Announces Schedule for Advanced Wireless Services Spectrum Auction; FCC Auction Seminar to Be Held Monday, April 24, 2006; Small Business Bidding Discounts Still Under Review"

Seeing Clearly Through Thick Smoke: Tobacco Advertising on Broadcast Stations

Posted February 1, 2006

February 2006

Notwithstanding the fact that it has been over 35 years since Congress banned cigarette ads from the airwaves, broadcasters continue to ask for advice on whether they may air certain types of tobacco-related advertisements. In fact, questions in this area of law appear to be on the increase. One reason is the proliferation of small, independent cigarette manufacturers resulting from the 1998 tobacco settlement. That settlement has caused the price of cigarettes to rise, thereby making it profitable for small companies to become cigarette manufacturers. Given the pressure that these manufacturers and their retail outlets are likely to place on broadcasters to help in promoting these new tobacco products, we offer the following Q&A to aid broadcasters in complying with tobacco advertising restrictions should they be asked by any company to air tobacco-related spots . . . article continues