Each year around this time, Pillsbury’s Communications Practice releases its Broadcasters’ Calendar for the upcoming year. It may not be the perfect stocking stuffer, but broadcasters that don’t read it closely are much more likely to end up on the FCC’s Naughty List next year. When I’m on the road visiting stations or speaking at broadcaster conventions, it’s fairly common that someone walks up to me and tells me how much they appreciate the Broadcasters’ Calendar. Rarely do calendars without pictures attract such attention.
I cannot take credit for the calendar, however. The current communications lawyers at Pillsbury are merely the stewards of this publication. When I joined the firm 30 years ago, the Broadcasters’ Calendar was already a well-established annual publication. I honestly don’t know when the first Broadcasters’ Calendar was published, but I suspect there are editions floating around out there announcing deadlines relating to the launch of FM radio and color television.
And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Broadcasters’ Calendar is blushing. Clients have sent me bootlegs in which someone has lifted the content wholesale and just put it on their own letterhead. For a number of years I entertained myself by incorporating unusual words into the calendar just to see who was copying it outright rather than merely happening to describe a particular deadline the same way.
But it’s not hard to understand why the Pillsbury Broadcasters’ Calendar has developed such a following. It outlines numerous regulatory and other deadlines broadcasters face in the coming year, along with brief descriptions of what complying with a particular deadline requires.
Despite the advent of a deregulatory FCC, the 2018 edition of the Broadcasters’ Calendar contains a fairly hefty number of entries, including dates and deadlines for TV’s upcoming spectrum repack and the conclusion of radio’s migration to an online public inspection file. Fortunately, the 2018 edition also notes some filing deadlines that the FCC is actively considering eliminating. Here’s hoping that the 2019 edition will be significantly thinner.