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The deadline to file the 2021 Annual Children’s Television Programming Report with the FCC is January 30, 2022, reflecting programming aired during the 2021 calendar year.  Note that because this deadline falls on a weekend, this filing may be made on January 31, 2022.  In addition, commercial stations’ documentation of their compliance with the commercial limits in children’s programming during the 2021 calendar year must be placed in their Public Inspection File by January 30, 2022.


The Children’s Television Act of 1990 requires full power and Class A television stations 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 under, and (2) air programming responsive to the educational and informational needs of children 16 years of age and under.  In addition, stations must comply with paperwork requirements related to these obligations.

In 2019, the FCC adopted a number of changes to its children’s television programming rules.  Substantively, the new rules provide broadcasters with additional flexibility in scheduling educational children’s television programming, and modified some aspects of the definition of “core” educational children’s television programming.  Those portions of the revisions went into effect in 2019.  Procedurally, the new rules eliminated quarterly filing of the commercial limits certifications and the Children’s Television Programming Report in favor of annual filings.  Those revisions went into effect in 2020. As a result, the Children’s Television Programming Report and commercial limits documentation filed in 2022 will be the second year that annual filings are submitted.

Commercial Television Stations

Commercial Limitations

The FCC’s rules require that stations limit the amount of “commercial matter” appearing in programs aimed at children 12 years old and younger to 12 minutes per clock hour on weekdays and 10.5 minutes per clock hour on the weekend.  The definition of commercial matter includes not only commercial spots, but also (i) website addresses displayed during children’s programming and promotional material, unless they comply with a four-part test, (ii) websites that are considered “host-selling” under the Commission’s rules, and (iii) program promos, unless they promote (a) children’s educational/informational programming, or (b) other age-appropriate programming appearing on the same channel.

Licensees must upload supporting documents to the Public Inspection File to demonstrate compliance with these limits on an annual basis by January 30 each year, covering the preceding calendar year.  Documentation to show that the station has been complying with this requirement can be maintained in several different forms.  It must, however, always identify the specific programs that the station believes are subject to the rules, and must list any instances of noncompliance.

Core Programming Requirements

To help stations identify which programs qualify as “educational and informational” for children 16 years of age and under, and determine how much of that programming they must air to demonstrate compliance with the Children’s Television Act, the FCC has adopted a definition of “core” educational and informational programming, as well as three different safe harbor renewal processing guidelines that establish the minimum amount of core programming stations must air to receive a staff-level license renewal grant.  Stations should document all core children’s programming that they air, even where it exceeds the safe harbor minimums, to best present their performance at license renewal time.

Under these rules, the FCC generally defines “core programming” as television programming that has as a significant purpose serving the educational and informational needs of children 16 years old or under and which is aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  In addition, commercial stations must also identify each core program by displaying an “E/I” symbol onscreen throughout the program.  Licensees must also provide information identifying each core program they air to publishers of program guides, though they no longer need to indicate a program’s intended age range.

There are three ways to satisfy the Commission’s processing guidelines:

  • Category A1: Stations can meet their obligation by airing at least three hours per week (as averaged over a six-month period) of core programming, all of which is regularly scheduled, weekly, and at least 30 minutes in length.  To satisfy Category A1’s three-hour-per-week minimum, at least two hours must air on the primary stream and up to one hour may air on a multicast stream.
  • Category A2: Stations can meet their obligation by airing at least 156 hours of core programming per year, including at least 26 hours per quarter that is regularly scheduled, weekly, and 30 minutes in length, and up to an additional 52 hours of programming throughout the year that is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, but is at least 30 minutes in length.  To the extent a station airs more than two hours per week of regularly scheduled core programming, it has the flexibility to air such additional regularly scheduled programming on a multicast stream.  However, all non-regularly scheduled programming aired to satisfy the Category A2 minimum must air on the primary stream.
  • Category B: Stations can meet their obligation by airing at least 156 hours of core programming per year, including at least 26 hours per quarter that is regularly scheduled, weekly, and 30 minutes in length, and up to an additional 52 hours of programming throughout the year that is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, and may be less than 30 minutes in length, such as PSAs and interstitials. To the extent a station airs more than two hours per week of regularly scheduled core programming, it has the flexibility to air such additional regularly scheduled programming on a multicast stream.  However, all non-regularly scheduled programming aired to satisfy the Category B minimum must air on the primary stream.

These processing guidelines, as well as other changes the Commission introduced regarding rebroadcasts and the rescheduling of preempted programming, provide stations greater flexibility in scheduling children’s television programming.  However, they require that stations understand these requirements and document them accurately in their Annual Children’s Television Programming Report filings.

Filing the Children’s Television Programming Report

The next Children’s Television Programming Report must be filed electronically with the FCC by January 31, 2022 (because, as noted above, the actual January 30 due date falls on a weekend).  Broadcasters must file their Children’s Television Programming Reports via the Licensing and Management System (LMS), accessible at  Once filed, the FCC’s electronic filing system will automatically place the Children’s Television Programming Report into the station’s Public Inspection File.  However, each station should confirm that has occurred to ensure that its Public Inspection File is complete.

Noncommercial Educational Television Stations

Because noncommercial educational television stations are precluded from airing commercials, the commercial limitation rules do not apply to them.  Accordingly, noncommercial television stations have no obligation to place commercial limits documentation in their Public Inspection File.  Similarly, though noncommercial stations are required to air programming responsive to the educational and informational needs of children 16 years of age and under, they do not need to complete Children’s Television Programming Reports.  They must, however, maintain records of their own in the event their performance is challenged at license renewal time.  In the face of such a challenge, a noncommercial station will be required to have documentation available that demonstrates its efforts to meet the needs of children.

Please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys in the Communications Practice for specific advice on compliance with these rules or for assistance in preparing any of the above documentation.

A PDF version of this article can be found at Meeting Your Annual Children’s Television Programming Reporting Obligations.

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In a yuletide tradition that goes back farther than any of us can remember, each December Pillsbury releases its Broadcasters’ Calendar cataloging the regulatory dates and deadlines facing broadcasters in the coming year.  This past December was no different, with the publication of the 2022 edition of the Pillsbury Broadcasters’ Calendar.  Covering the entire year rather than just a month at a time (ever been blindsided when you flipped to the next month in your calendar only to discover an important deadline falls on the first of the month?), the Broadcasters’ Calendar gives broadcasters the regulatory landscape for the entire year ahead.

And it promises to be an interesting year, with the FCC potentially gaining a fifth commissioner, “no-longer-Acting and now permanent” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel having the opportunity to place her imprint more firmly upon the FCC, and the 2022 elections having a big say in how the FCC is treated on Capitol Hill thereafter.  Stay tuned for these and other developments, but in the meantime, take a look at the 2022 Pillsbury Broadcasters’ Calendar.  In a year that will likely be full of unexpected developments, knowing what won’t be a surprise is uniquely reassuring.

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Pillsbury’s communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month’s issue includes:

  • FCC Proposes $20,000 Fine for Broadcast of False EAS Alert Tone
  • Mississippi Television Station Fined $18,000 for Late Issues/Programs Lists and Failure to Disclose Violation
  • Illinois High School Agrees to Consent Decree for Violations Relating to Periods of Silence, Late Issues/Programs Lists, and Failing to File a Biennial Ownership Report and EEO Program Report

Nevada Radio Licensee Receives Proposed Fine of $20,000 for Transmitting False EAS Tone

The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to a radio station licensee for violating the Commission’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules—specifically Section 11.45 of the Commission’s Rules, which prohibits the transmission of false or deceptive EAS tones.

The EAS is a nationwide public warning system designed to alert the public in an emergency. In order to maintain the effectiveness of such emergency alerts, EAS tones may only be aired in specific circumstances, such as an actual emergency, an authorized test, or a public service announcement educating the public about EAS. Section 11.45 strictly prohibits airing an EAS tone, or simulations thereof, except in connection with of one of these permitted uses.

In October 2020, the FCC received a complaint alleging that a Nevada radio station had transmitted EAS tones during a talk show that were not connected to an actual emergency. In January 2021, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau sent a Letter of Inquiry to the broadcaster seeking information regarding the potential violation.

The broadcaster responded that the tones had indeed aired, and included an audio recording of the program in question. The broadcaster indicated it did not review the program containing the EAS tones prior to broadcast as the program was part of a programming block purchased by the talk show’s host.  It noted that the program containing the EAS tones was also simulcast on the digital subchannel of another co-owned radio station and on an FM translator.

Based on the broadcaster’s admissions and the FCC’s review of the audio recording, the Commission found that the broadcaster willfully violated Section 11.45 of the Commission’s Rules. The FCC also noted that while the base fine for violations of the EAS rule is $8,000, it looks at the particular facts of each case and may upwardly adjust that amount based on a number of specific factors, including the number of repetitions, the duration of the violation, the audience reach of the transmission, and the public safety impact.

In this instance, the FCC emphasized the stations’ sizeable audience reach, noting that the violation was exacerbated by rebroadcasts on the digital subchannel and FM translator. Because all three stations are located in Las Vegas, a top 50 market, the audience reach was substantial. The FCC therefore concluded that an upward adjustment was warranted, proposing a total fine of $20,000. The company has 30 days from release of the NAL to pay the fine or file a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed fine.

FCC Proposes $18,000 Fine for Mississippi Television Station’s Late-Filed Issues/Programs Lists

The FCC fined a Mississippi television station $18,000 for failing to timely upload all of its quarterly Issues/Programs Lists to its Public Inspection File. The station recently filed a license renewal application, and an FCC staff review of the station’s Public Inspection File revealed that during the license term, the station uploaded twenty-one of the Lists late and failed to properly disclose these violations in its application.

Section 73.3526(e)(11)(i) of the FCC’s Rules requires every commercial television station to place in its Public Inspection File “a list of programs that have provided the station’s most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.” The list must include a brief narrative of the issues addressed, as well as the date, time, duration, and title of each program addressing those issues. The list must be placed in the Public Inspection File on a quarterly basis within 10 days of the end of each calendar quarter.

The FCC noted that six of the Lists created during the license term were uploaded more than one year late, eleven Lists were uploaded between one month and one year late, and four Lists were uploaded between one day and one month late. The licensee also did not disclose the violations in its license renewal application. When the licensee failed to provide an adequate explanation for the late uploads, the Commission concluded that the licensee willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the FCC’s Rules. The FCC also found that the failure to report the violations constituted an apparent violation of Section 73.3514(a) of its Rules, which requires that applications filed with the Commission be accurate and complete.

Section 1.80(b)(10) of the FCC’s Rules establishes a base fine of $10,000 for Public Inspection File violations and a base fine of $3,000 for failure to file a required form or information. However, the Commission may adjust the amount upwards or downwards based upon factors such as the “nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation,” in addition to the licensee’s “degree of culpability” and “any history of prior offenses.” Taking those factors into account, the FCC proposed a fine of $15,000 for the late-filed Lists and a fine of $3,000 for the failure to disclose those violations in the license renewal application, resulting in a total proposed fine of $18,000. Noting that the violation did not constitute a “serious violation” nor a pattern of abuse that would prevent renewal of the station’s license, the FCC indicated it would grant the license renewal application by separate action if no other issues arose.

Illinois High School Enters Into Consent Decree for Violations Relating to Periods of Silence, Late Issues/Programs Lists, and Failure to File a Biennial Ownership Report and EEO Program Report

An Illinois High School, the licensee of a noncommercial radio station, recently entered into a Consent Decree with the FCC for failing to (i) promptly notify the Commission that the station was silent for more than ten days, (ii) request Commission authorization to remain silent for more than 30 days, (iii) file required Biennial Ownership Reports, (iv) submit an EEO Program Report, and (v) timely upload its quarterly Issues/Programs Lists to its Public Inspection File throughout the license term.

Section 73.561(d) of the FCC’s Rules permits stations to limit or discontinue operation for a period of no more than 30 days, but requires licensees to notify the Commission no later than the 10th day of limited or discontinued operation. If the station needs to remain silent beyond 30 days, a licensee must request Special Temporary Authority (an “STA”) from the FCC to do so. In this case, the station discontinued operations on June 1, 2019 but did not notify the FCC until September 24, 2019, when it sought an STA.

The FCC granted the STA request on October 10, 2019 for a period of no longer than 180 days. The licensee requested an STA extension on March 10, 2020 which was granted on March 17, 2020 for a period ending June 1, 2020.  Citing reasons associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the licensee filed a final extension request on June 1, 2020 which the FCC granted on July 15, 2020 for a period ending December 1, 2020. During this time, the licensee filed the station’s license renewal application on August 3, 2020. The station resumed operations on November 14, 2020.

In October 2020, an informal complaint was filed against the license renewal application, arguing that the station was silent for longer than 12 months and that granting the application would be unfair to other high school stations in the region. The complaint also pointed out that the application falsely certified that the station had not been silent for any consecutive 12-month period.  Section 312(g) of the Communications Act states that a license shall automatically expire if a broadcast station “fails to transmit broadcast signals for any consecutive 12-month period.”

In response, the FCC noted its discretion under Section 312(g) to extend or reinstate a license “to promote equity and fairness.” The FCC also noted that the station did resume operations on November 14 – prior to the STA expiring on December 1. The Commission agreed that the licensee incorrectly certified compliance with Section 312(g), but indicated it did not believe the licensee’s incorrect certification was intentionally false, as the station had an STA allowing it to remain silent. However, the FCC did conclude that the licensee violated Section 73.3615(d) (failing to file required Biennial Ownership Reports), Section 73.2080(f)(1) (failing to submit an EEO Program Report with the license renewal application), and Section 73.3527(b)(2)(i) (failing to timely upload Issues/Programs Lists to the Public Inspection File).

In light of the Commission’s findings, the licensee elected to enter into a Consent Decree with the FCC to resolve the matter rather than face an extended FCC proceeding. Pursuant to the Consent Decree, the licensee admitted the violations and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1,000. The Consent Decree also requires the licensee to file an EEO Program Report within 10 days, and implement a compliance program, including appointment of a compliance officer, development of a compliance manual, implementation of a training program, filing of a compliance report with the FCC a year after entering into the Decree, and reporting to the FCC any violation of the Consent Decree, the Silent Notification Rule, the Ownership Report Rule, the EEO Program Report Rule, or the Public Inspection File Rule within 10 days of discovering a violation.

A PDF version of this article can be found at FCC Enforcement ~ December 2021.

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As the trades have reported, a rather unusual spot appearing to be a FOX NFL promo aired during yesterday’s NFL pre-game show.  What made it particularly unusual was that it included an EAS-like tone, and had a URL at the bottom of the screen for “WWW.FOXNFLEMERGENCYALERT.COM.”  That URL currently links to a “Let’s Go Brandon” website that I don’t encourage you to visit because our own spam software blocks access to it on the stated grounds of “Risky-Sites.”

We’ve written about the regulatory risks of transmitting false EAS alert tones on multiple occasions (see here, here and here), with the most recent post being about a proposed $272,000 fine against CBS for an EAS tone that was briefly heard in an episode of Young Sheldon.  The principal issue in such circumstances is Section 11.45(a) of the FCC’s Rules:

No person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS; or as specified in §§ 10.520(d), 11.46, and 11.61 of this chapter.

In this case, since it was a live broadcast, it would be difficult for an affiliate to move quickly enough to spot and delete the tone before it aired.  Recognizing that this is often the case, the FCC has typically focused inquiries involving network programming on the network’s owned and operated stations rather than on the network’s affiliates.  However, that isn’t always the case, as the FCC has fined individual stations for Children’s Television rule violations even where those violations occurred in network programming.

So an affiliate’s natural reaction in such circumstances might be to lay low and let the network deal with any potential ramifications at the FCC.  However, that isn’t an option, as Section 11.45(b) of the FCC’s Rules states that:

No later than twenty-four (24) hours of an EAS Participant’s discovery (i.e., actual knowledge) that it has transmitted or otherwise sent a false alert to the public, the EAS Participant shall send an email to the Commission at the FCC Ops Center at, informing the Commission of the event and of any details that the EAS Participant may have concerning the event.

That means remaining silent and hoping it all blows over isn’t an option once an affiliate becomes aware that it has transmitted a false EAS tone.  Section 11.45(b) requires stations to basically hold up their hand and volunteer to the FCC that they aired the tone, and the 24-hour time limit doesn’t give a station much time to contemplate it.  While the FCC and FOX will hopefully resolve any issues with the broadcast itself, stations don’t want to dodge that bullet only to expose themselves to an FCC claim that they failed to promptly report the incident.

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With many of their employees either off today or working a half-day in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, broadcasters were settling in for what would hopefully be a couple of slow news days and a long weekend. However, as so often happens, the path out of the station to a Thanksgiving feast has been blocked by a regulatory development. Fortunately, it is one that has a relatively easy fix.

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Pillsbury’s communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month’s issue includes:

  • Florida Broadcaster Pays $20,000 for Unauthorized Tower Construction Work
  • Colorado Broadcaster Issued Notice of Violation for Operating FM Translator on Wrong Frequency
  • Telecommunications Company Receives Cease-and-Desist Letter From FCC for Transmitting Illegal Robocalls

FCC Fines Florida Broadcaster $20,000 for Commencing Tower Construction Prior to Completing Required Environmental Review

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a Florida broadcaster entered into a Consent Decree to resolve an investigation into whether the broadcaster began clearing land for a wireless telecommunications tower before it completed the required environmental review. Environmental reviews are required by the FCC’s Rules, including rules implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). To settle the matter, the broadcaster admitted violating the FCC’s environmental and antenna structure rules, and agreed to implement a compliance plan while making a $20,000 penalty payment.

The FCC’s Environmental Rules require applicants and licensees to assess whether proposed facilities may significantly affect the environment. Under Section 1.1307(a)(3) of the Commissions Rules, an applicant must prepare an Environmental Assessment for facilities that could have a significant environmental effect. When considering whether an action may have a significant environmental effect, one of the factors an applicant must consider is whether the proposed site may affect threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats.

Additionally, the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) rules require the owner of a proposed or existing antenna structure to follow registration procedures prior to constructing or altering a tower. If an Environmental Assessment is required by the rules, it must be included in the ASR application.

In July and August of 2020, the broadcaster hired contractors to perform the necessary environmental review and construct a wireless communications tower located within the designated critical habitat of the endangered Florida bonneted bat. When the broadcaster filed its ASR application in November 2020, it included an Environmental Assessment depicting premature clearing and admitted to preconstruction activities.

Although the environmental review was later completed and the FCC authorized construction of the tower, the FCC issued a Letter of Inquiry to the broadcaster in April 2021 asking a series of questions related to its compliance with the Commission’s Environmental and ASR rules. The broadcaster responded in July 2021, admitting that it began construction by clearing vegetation from the tower site around August 3, 2020 – before it prepared an Environmental Assessment and before applying for an ASR.

To resolve the investigation, the broadcaster agreed to enter into a Consent Decree in which it admitted its actions violated the FCC’s Environmental and ASR rules. As part of the Decree, the broadcaster must designate a compliance officer, implement a multi-part compliance plan, including developing a compliance manual and compliance training program, disclose within fifteen days any violations of the Consent Decree or the Environmental and ASR rules, file annual compliance reports with the FCC for the next three years, and pay a $20,000 civil penalty.

FCC Issues Notice of Violation to Colorado Licensee for Operating FM Translator on Unauthorized Frequency

Earlier this month, the FCC issued a Notice of Violation to the licensee of a Colorado FM Translator asserting violations of Sections 1.903(a) and 74.14(a) of the FCC’s Rules by operating a station on a channel for which it wasn’t licensed.

Section 1.903(a) requires stations to be used and operated only in accordance with the rules applicable to their particular service and with a valid authorization granted by the Commission. Pursuant to Section 74.14(a), once an FM Translator has been built in accordance with the terms of its construction permit and a license application has been filed showing the station is in satisfactory operating condition, it may commence service or program tests.

On three different dates between October 2020 and January 2021, an agent of the Denver Office of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau observed the FM Translator operating on Channel 282 despite being licensed to operate on Channel 272. While the licensee had obtained a construction permit authorizing it to modify the station to operate on Channel 282, at the time of the three separate observations, it had not yet filed an FM Translator License Application. Until a license application is filed, the facility lacked authority to operate with the parameters outlined in the construction permit, and any such operation would violate Section 74.14(a).

The Notice of Violation seeks additional information from the broadcaster concerning these apparent violations. It instructs the broadcaster to submit within 20 days a written response fully explaining each apparent violation and all relevant surrounding facts and circumstances, including the specific actions taken to correct any violations and prevent them from recurring. The Notice also requires the broadcaster to include a timeline for completing any pending corrective actions.

FCC Issues Cease-and-Desist Letter to Telecommunications Company for Transmitting Illegal Robocalls

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a cease-and-desist letter to a telecommunications company for apparently transmitting illegal robocalls. The letter instructs the company to investigate, and if necessary, cease transmitting any illegal robocall traffic immediately and take steps to prevent its network from being used to transmit illegal robocalls.

The Enforcement Bureau issued the letter after an investigation revealed the company apparently originated multiple illegal robocall campaigns. The Bureau works closely with the USTelecom Industry Traceback Group (“Traceback Consortium”), which is the consortium selected pursuant to the TRACED Act to conduct tracebacks. The Traceback Consortium investigated prerecorded voice message calls that voice service providers and customers of YouMail flagged as illegal robocalls made without consent of the called party.

Between August 24, 2021 and October 15, 2021, the Traceback Consortium conducted tracebacks and concluded that the company originated over 80 calls that appeared to be illegal robocalls, including substantial numbers of government imposter scam calls such as posing as the Social Security Administration and the Federal Reserve, as well as calls threatening utility discontinuation, offering fake credit card rate reductions, and arrest warrant scams. Furthermore, the Traceback Consortium notified the company about the calls and provided access to supporting data identifying each call prior to the cease-and-desist letter being sent.

The FCC noted that in addition to the Traceback Consortium previously notifying the company, the numerous tracebacks to the company as an originator indicated that the company is apparently knowingly or negligently originating illegal robocall traffic. The letter instructs the company to take steps to “effectively mitigate illegal traffic within 48 hours” and inform the FCC and the Traceback Consortium within 14 days of the date of the letter of the steps it has taken to “implement effective measures” to prevent customers from using the network to make illegal calls.

If the company fails to properly take the actions listed in the letter or fails to take sufficient mitigating actions to prevent customers from using its network to make illegal robocalls, downstream U.S.-based providers may block calls transmitted by the company. Additionally, the FCC may find that the company’s certification in the Robocall Mitigation Database is deficient and direct the removal of its certification from the database. If its certification is removed from the Robocall Mitigation Database, all intermediate and terminating voice service providers would be required to immediately cease accepting calls from the company.

A PDF version of this article can be found at FCC Enforcement ~ November 2021.

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Pillsbury’s communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month’s issue includes:

  • Streaming Service Agrees to Pay $3.5 Million for Violating FCC’s Closed-Captioning Rules
  • FCC Enters Consent Decree with Kentucky Broadcaster for Failing to Timely File License Renewal Application
  • Alabama Television Station Fined for Late Issues/Programs Lists

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Pillsbury’s communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month’s issue includes:

  • FCC Proposes Largest Robocalling Fine Under TCPA
  • Tennessee Broadcaster Fined for Failing to File License Applications for FM Translators
  • FCC Fines Rhode Island Broadcaster for Late-Filed License Renewal Application

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For those racing to meet tonight’s deadline to file your 2021 Regulatory Fees, we have some good news.  The FCC just released a Public Notice announcing that the deadline for submitting those fees has been extended to 11:59pm on September 27, 2021.  The Notice is silent as to whether the extension is based on filing system problems or other causes.  However, it was apparently released in a rush as it doesn’t include the FCC’s standard language specifying that the deadline is 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time (for those wishing to file at 11:59pm Pacific Time, we wouldn’t advise it).

So if you have already paid your regulatory fees, congratulations, you got in ahead of whatever issue is driving this extension.  If not, now you have something to do this weekend.

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Each year with the end of summer comes an announcement from the FCC as to how it is divvying up its operating costs to then charge its regulatees in the form of regulatory fees. This annual ritual, required by Congress, makes the FCC virtually unique among federal agencies in funding its operations by passing the hat among those it regulates (and then charging them a fee to process each application to boot).

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