Legal Memorandums - 2017

FCC WAIVES 2017 ANCILLARY/SUPPLEMENTARY SERVICES REPORT FILING REQUIREMENT FOR MOST TV STATIONS

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FCC WAIVES THIS YEAR’S FORM 317 FILING REQUIREMENT FOR MOST TV STATIONS Most digital television licensees and permittees will not have to file the annual Form 317 DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report by December 1, 2017, the FCC announced in a Public Notice released earlier this week. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 11/17/2017

VAB Upcoming Deadlines: Full Power/Class A Maximization Filings, EAS Form Three Reports, MX'ed FM Translators

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NOVEMBER 28 – DECEMBER 7: WINDOW FOR NON-REPACKED FULL POWER AND CLASS A TELEVISION STATIONS TO FILE “MAXIMIZATION” APPLICATIONS The FCC will temporarily lift the minor modification freeze for the contour expansion of non-repacked full power and Class A stations. Applications must be filed between November 28 and December 7, 2017. The FCC hopes that lifting the freeze will help prevent such non-repacked full power and Class A stations from “re-displacing” low power and TV translator stations that are forced to move during the repacking process. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * FIVE DAYS LEFT! EAS FORM THREE REPORTS FOR NATIONWIDE TEST DUE NOVEMBER 13 Details about a station’s experience with the nationwide test of the EAS conducted on September 27, 2017 must now be submitted as part of the Form Three report, which is due by November 13, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * NOVEMBER 29 IS THE DEADLINE FOR AM STATIONS TO RESOLVE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVITY FOR FM TRANSLATOR APPLICATIONS FILED DURING JULY 26 – AUGUST 2 WINDOW AM stations that proposed new FM translator facilities during the July 26 – August 2 window have until November 29 to resolve mutual exclusivity (MX) if their proposal was MX’ed with one or more other proposals. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 11/8/2017

Main Studio Rule, Long-Form Window for Singleton FX Proposals, Multilingual EAS and EAS Form Three Deadlines

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FCC ELIMINATES MAIN STUDIO RULE (BUT THE EXISTING RULE IS STILL IN EFFECT FOR NOW) As expected, the FCC has eliminated the main studio rule. The effective date of the elimination has not yet been announced. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * AM STATIONS THAT HAVE “SINGLETON” FM TRANSLATOR PROPOSALS PENDING FROM THE JULY 26 – AUGUST 2 FILING WINDOW MUST FILE LONG-FORM APPLICATIONS BETWEEN DECEMBER 1 AND DECEMBER 21 On November 1, the FCC announced the filing window for singleton FM translator proposals filed by AM stations during the recent Auction 99 filing window. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * ALL STATIONS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE CERTAIN MULTILINGUAL EAS ALERTING INFORMATION TO THEIR SECC BY NOVEMBER 6 The FCC requires all EAS Participants—including all broadcast stations—to furnish certain information to their respective State Emergency Communications Committees. The deadline for stations to furnish the required information to SECCs is fast-approaching: it is due by November 6, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * DEADLINE FOR FILING EAS FORM THREE REPORT WITH NATIONWIDE TEST RESULTS DUE NOVEMBER 13 Details about a station’s experience with the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) conducted on September 27, 2017 must now be submitted as part of the Form Three report, which is due by November 13, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 11/2/2017

FCC to Modernize Local Media Ownership Rules; FCC Ready to Allow Implementation of ATSC 3.0; FCC Continues Push to Modernize Media Regs

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LOCAL MEDIA OWNERSHIP RULES TO BE RELAXED SIGNIFICANTLY AT FCC’S NOVEMBER 16 MEETING Significant relaxation of the FCC’s local media ownership rules is close to becoming reality. At its November 16 meeting, the FCC will consider adopting an Order on Reconsideration that would modernize those rules by eliminating some of them and reforming others. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * FCC POISED TO ADOPT ORDER TO ALLOW TV STATIONS TO BEGIN IMPLEMENTING THE ATSC 3.0 TRANSMISSION STANDARD Television stations will soon be able to implement Next Gen TV for over-the-air broadcasting. At its November 16 meeting, the FCC will consider an Order to adopt rules to govern the use of ATSC 3.0 by television stations. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * MODERNIZATION OF MEDIA REGS UPDATE: FCC PROPOSES TO MAKE ANCILLARY/SUPPLEMENTARY SERVICES REPORTING EASIER & TO MODERNIZE APPLICATION PUBLIC NOTICE RULES The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that (1) proposes to require only those broadcasters who actually provide feeable ancillary or supplementary services to submit the annual report regarding such services; and (2) seeks comment on whether to update its rules to permit broadcast station applicants to give public notice of certain application filings online instead of via newspaper publication and/or broadcast announcement—or whether to repeal the rule altogether. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 552108
  • Added On: 10/27/2017

FCC Eliminates Main Studio Rule

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FCC ELIMINATES MAIN STUDIO REQUIREMENTS FOR BROADCASTERS By a 3-2 vote, the FCC today eliminated the main studio rule. Please note: the elimination of the rule is not yet in effect. Until the effective date of the elimination, stations must continue to comply with all main studio requirements. Although the text of the final Order is not yet available, an FCC News Release indicates that the requirement that stations maintain a local or toll-free telephone number to ensure consumers have ready access to their local stations will be retained. According to the News Release, the FCC recognizes that today the public can access information via broadcasters’ online public file, and stations and community members can interact directly through alterative means such as e-mail, social media, and the telephone; consequently, the FCC has determined that requiring broadcasters to maintain a main studio is outdated and unnecessarily burdensome. The Commission believes that elimination of the main studio rule will produce substantial cost-saving benefits for broadcasters that can be directed toward such things as programming, equipment upgrades, newsgathering, and other services that benefit consumers, and it will also make it easier for broadcasters to prevent stations in small towns from going dark and for broadcasters to launch new stations in rural areas. We will provide more information once the full text of the Order is released.  

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  • Added On: 10/3/2017

FCC Announces Initial Allocations for Repacked TV Stations

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On October 16, 2017, the FCC released another post-auction repack transition public notice. Today’s Public Notice announces the long-awaited “initial allocations” for television stations that are eligible for repack reimbursement. At this juncture, only $1 billion of the $1.75 billion Broadcaster Relocation Fund has been allocated, and commercial stations have been provided access to approximately 52% of their estimated expenses, while noncommercial stations have been provided access to approximately 62% of their estimated expenses. Authorized Agents for eligible stations will be able to view the exact amount allocated to them in the “Auction Payments” component of the CORES Incentive Auction Financial Module. Eligible stations may immediately begin submitting documentation of actual expenses incurred for approval to be drawn down against their individual allocations by uploading invoices or receipts and resubmitting the Reimbursement Form in the FCC’s LMS filing platform. Invoices for actual expenses incurred that have already been submitted will also be reviewed and processed for payment upon approval. This is really still the beginning of the reimbursement process, and more information will continue to flow as the days, weeks, and months continue to pass.  

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  • File Size: 155229
  • Added On: 10/16/2017

EAS Form Two Reports Must Be Filed TODAY

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EAS FORM TWO REPORTS MUST BE FILED BY 11:59 P.M. EASTERN TIME TODAY! Today’s nationwide EAS test was conducted at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Now, all stations must file EAS Form Two today, by 11:59 p.m. ET. Please open the attached memorandum for more information.  

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  • File Size: 49366
  • Added On: 9/27/2017

IMPORTANT Reminders About September 27 Nationwide EAS Test

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IS YOUR STATION READY FOR THE SEPTEMBER 27 NATIONWIDE EAS TEST AND ASSOCIATED FILING DEADLINES? Hopefully, all stations are already well-aware that the FCC and FEMA have scheduled a nationwide EAS test for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time on September 27. In connection with the test, all stations must implement the FCC’s new EAS Operating Handbook prior to 2:20 p.m. ET on September 27. In addition, all stations must file an EAS Form Two report by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 27 to provide a “snapshot” result of the test. Stations were required to file EAS Form One reports by August 28, and those reports can be updated and revised until 11:59 p.m. on September 27. Finally, EAS Form Three will need to be filed by November 13. Please open the attached memorandum for more information and for helpful links.  

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  • File Size: 539734
  • Added On: 9/27/2017

Regulatory Fees Due September 26

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FCC REGULATORY FEES DUE BY 11:59 PM ET TOMORROW, SEPTEMBER 26 As we have previously advised, the deadline to pay your station’s regulatory fees is tomorrow, September 26. If your fees are paid late, there is a 25% penalty. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 9/25/2017

Reminder of Multiple Deadlines: Reg Fees; EAS Forms One and Two; GMR Interim License; FCC Form 387

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FCC 2017 REGULATORY FEES DUE SEPTEMBER 26 The deadline for paying regulatory fees is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 26, 2017. Payments that are even one minute late face a penalty of 25%; thus, for example, a station that owes $5,000 in regulatory fees would have to pay $6,250 if it misses the deadline. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * EAS FORM ONE REVISIONS AND FORM TWO DUE SEPTEMBER 27 The FCC and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) have scheduled a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) for Wednesday, September 27, 2017. In connection with the nationwide test, all broadcasters were required to file the Form One EAS report through the FCC’s ETRS (EAS Test Reporting System) by August 28. Stations have until September 27 to make any corrections to, and re-file, their Form One reports. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * NEW EAS HANDBOOK MUST BE IN USE BY SEPTEMBER 27 In late July, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the issuance of a new EAS Operating Handbook for all broadcast stations. Stations must implement the use of the 2017 EAS Operating Handbook in time for the September 27, 2017, nationwide EAS test. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * GMR INTERIM LICENSE EXTENSION: RADIO STATIONS MUST ACT BY SEPTEMBER 30 Radio stations wishing to extend their interim license with performing rights organization Global Music Rights (“GMR”) must take action by September 30, 2017. GMR offered a 9-month interim license to radio stations pending the resolution of antitrust litigation filed against GMR by the Radio Music License Committee. Those interim licenses expire on September 30, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * FCC FORM 387 DUE OCTOBER 10 FOR CERTAIN TV STATIONS The FCC has released a Public Notice announcing that Form 387 – the “Transition Progress Report” – can now be accessed in the FCC’s Licensing and Management System by broadcasters who are ready to begin completing their first Form 387 report. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 534476
  • Added On: 9/21/2017

Association Memo for TV Members: Second Priority Window for Repacked Stations Will Open October 3

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SECOND PRIORITY WINDOW FOR CERTAIN TV STATIONS WILL OPEN OCTOBER 3 The FCC announced today by Public Notice (copy attached) that it will open, on October 3, the Second Priority Window for repacked full power and Class A television stations (and for full power and Class A television stations that are voluntarily moving from the UHF band to the VHF band) to propose expanded facilities and channel changes. Applications for expanded facilities are limited to those that qualify as a “minor change” under the FCC’s rules. And, alternate channel proposals will (as usual) be considered “major change” applications and will be subject to local public notice requirements and Petitions to Deny. Expenses incurred in pursuit and construction of expanded facilities and channel changes are not eligible for reimbursement from the Relocation Fund. Applications filed during the window will be treated as filed on the last day of the window for purposes of determining mutual exclusivity (“MX”). Stations filing applications during the window that are determined to be MX’ed with another application filed in the same window will be given a 90-day period to resolve the mutual exclusivity. Eligible stations should communicate with their consulting engineers and FCC lawyers to confirm eligibility, ascertain opportunities, and ensure timely filing. * * * * *  

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  • File Size: 140545
  • Added On: 9/20/2017

Reg Fees, Overtime Wages

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FCC ADOPTS REGULATORY FEES; SEPTEMBER 26 DUE DATE The FCC has released its final regulatory fees for fiscal year 2017. The deadline to submit them is September 26. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * OVERTIME WAGE DEVELOPMENTS Since last year’s overtime wage regulation stutter-step, there are new developments. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 610348
  • Added On: 9/7/2017

Extension of First Priority Window for Repack; Must Carry and Retrans Consent Elections; Closed Captioning Certifications; Emergency Access Rules

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POST-AUCTION REPACK TRANSITION: FCC EXTENDS FILING DEADLINE FOR FIRST PRIORITY WINDOW TO SEPTEMBER 15 The “First Priority Window” for certain full power and Class A television stations to file construction permit applications was opened by the FCC on August 9, and it was originally scheduled to close on September 8. The FCC has extended the deadline to 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Friday September 15. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * TV STATIONS: 2017 MUST CARRY & RETRANSMISSION CONSENT ELECTIONS MUST BE MADE BY OCTOBER 1 It is time again for each full-power commercial television station to make an election for either retransmission consent or must carry status for its primary digital channel. Elections must be made by October 1, 2017, for the three (3) year period commencing January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2020. Noncommercial stations must take action, too. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * TV STATIONS: REMINDER TO OBTAIN CLOSED CAPTIONING CERTIFICATIONS FROM PROGRAMMING PROVIDERS With the new broadcast season upon us, it is a good time for television stations to take stock of the closed captioning certifications they have received from programming providers. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE: NUTS & BOLTS OF THE FCC’S EMERGENCY ACCESS RULES When television stations cover severe weather events, it is critical that they remember their obligations under the FCC’s “emergency access” rules. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 128822
  • Added On: 9/8/2017

EAS Form One Report Updates, New EAS Handbook, Delay for Biennial Ownership Reports

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REVISIONS TO EAS FORM ONE REPORTS DUE BY SEPTEMBER 27 Stations have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 27 to make any updates and corrections to, and re-file, their Form One reports. Instructions for registering new credentials for ETRS and for submitting Form One have been previously distributed. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * NEW EAS HANDBOOK MUST BE POSTED BY SEPTEMBER 27 In late July, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the issuance of a new EAS Operating Handbook for all broadcast stations. Stations must implement the use of the 2017 EAS Operating Handbook in time for the September 27, 2017, nationwide EAS test. Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * FCC DELAYS BIENNIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING DEADLINE TO MARCH 2, 2018 Until the FCC released an Order today, all broadcast stations were scheduled to compile and file their biennial ownership reports on or before December 1, 2017. Today, the FCC announced that it is delaying the due date of biennial ownership reports so that the filing deadline will be March 2, 2018. More information is included in the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 456583
  • Added On: 9/1/2017

LUC Window Opens September 8 for General Election in Virginia

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LUC WINDOW FOR NOVEMBER 7 GENERAL ELECTION OPENS SEPTEMBER 8 In 2017, Virginians will be casting ballots to elect a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, all 100 Seats of the House of Delegates, as well as certain other state executive offices and certain local representatives and officials. The “lowest unit charge” window for the November 7 general election will open on September 8, 2017. Now is the time for Virginia broadcast stations to begin preparing. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 65967
  • Added On: 8/25/2017

August 28 Deadline for All Stations to File EAS Form One Report

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FOUR-DAY COUNTDOWN TO AUGUST 28 DEADLINE FOR FILING “FORM ONE” REPORT FOR NATIONWIDE EAS TEST All stations must take action! August 28—which is only four days away—is the deadline for all broadcast stations to file their Form One report relating to the September 27 nationwide EAS test. As we reported previously, the FCC released another EAS Public Notice on August 14 to remind stations of their obligation to file Form One by August 28. All stations must file a Form One report using the FCC’s EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”). The credentials that you used last year for ETRS filings are no longer valid, and stations must go through a new three-step process to obtain credentials for accessing ETRS in order to make the Form One filing. Please use the Association’s FCC hotline or refer to our August 4 memorandum (a copy of which is attached) for more information about the credentialing process. If you have already filed your Form One report(s) and received an email from the FCC confirming receipt, you can move forward with other preparations for the September 27 nationwide EAS test as discussed in the attached August 4 memorandum.  

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  • File Size: 779047
  • Added On: 8/24/2017

"Music Licensing Alert: Global Music Rights Offers Radio Stations Extension of Interim License"

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MUSIC LICENSING ALERT: GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS OFFERS RADIO STATIONS EXTENSION OF INTERIM LICENSE Performing rights organization Global Music Rights (“GMR”) is offering radio stations the option to extend their interim licenses through March of 2018. The extension, however, is not automatic. Broadcasters wishing to extend their license must take action. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 414703
  • Added On: 8/18/2017

VAB August 28 Filing Reminder: EAS Form One Report Due for the September 27 Nationwide EAS Test

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ALL BROADCAST STATIONS MUST FILE “FORM ONE” EAS REPORTS BY AUGUST 28 If you haven’t already filed your Form One EAS report relating to the September 27 nationwide EAS test, then time is running out and you will definitely want to review the attached materials.  

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  • File Size: 1252792
  • Added On: 8/15/2017

Everything You Need to Know (for Now) About the September 27 Nationwide EAS Test

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NATIONWIDE EAS TEST SET FOR SEPTEMBER 27; STATIONS MUST RE-REGISTER FOR ETRS ACCESS; “FORM ONE” REPORTS DUE AUGUST 28; NEW EAS OPERATING HANDBOOK AVAILABLE The FCC and FEMA will conduct a nationwide EAS test at 2:20 p.m. ET on September 27. There are a number of steps that stations must take in the next few weeks to prepare. Please open the attached file to learn more (and, don’t worry: the PDF is 13 pages long, but most of those pages are an FAQ document created by the FCC!).  

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  • Added On: 8/4/2017

FM Translator Filing Window Opens July 26; FEMA Announces Next Nationwide EAS Test

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FINAL COUNTDOWN: FM TRANSLATOR FILING WINDOW FOR AM STATIONS OPENS JULY 26 Time is running out for AM stations to prepare for the July 26 – August 2 FM translator filing window. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * FEMA ANNOUNCES NEXT NATIONWIDE EAS TEST FEMA has advised the FCC that it plans to conduct the next nationwide EAS test in September 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 7/21/2017

FEMA Informs FCC of Intent to Conduct Nationwide Test on September 27, 2017

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FYI: FEMA sent the attached correspondence to the FCC on July 14 advising that it plans to conduct a nationwide EAS test on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. The FCC will be releasing a public notice any day to advise broadcasters of the deadline to update EAS “Form One” in the FCC’s ETRS (EAS Test Reporting System). Once the FCC releases its public notice, we will advise stations of the deadline and next steps. More to come.  

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  • Added On: 7/17/2017

FCC Preliminary Reimbursement Cost Announcement

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FCC ANNOUNCES “PRELIMINARY” COST OF REPACK “Based on information we have received as of 7:00 a.m. today, the aggregate amount of the estimated costs reported by reimbursement-eligible entities is $2,115,328,744.33. We expect to receive additional estimates from MVPDs and a small number of stations. In addition, the initial estimates that comprise this amount will be subject to a careful review by the Commission and our fund administrator. The aggregate cost estimate provided today will therefore change for purposes of the initial allocation of reimbursement funds.”  

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  • Added On: 7/17/2017

June 29 Effective Date of Elimination of Correspondence Files!

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ELIMINATION OF “CORRESPONDENCE FILES” EFFECTIVE AS OF JUNE 29 The FCC is scheduled to publish a notice in Thursday’s Federal Register that the effective date of the elimination of the requirement that stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public as part of their public inspection files will be June 29, 2017. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 377242
  • Added On: 6/28/2017

Temporary Operations for Channel 38-51 LPTV Stations Displaced Early By Wireless Licensees

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FCC ANNOUNCES PROCEDURES FOR LPTV STATIONS TO USE TEMPORARY CHANNELS IF DISPLACED “EARLY” BY WIRELESS LICENSEES The FCC has announced a new option for channel 38-51 low power television stations and TV translator stations (collectively, “LPTV Stations”) to try to continue operations if they are displaced from their current channel by a wireless licensee prior to the FCC’s opening of the Special Displacement Window early next year. If you operate an LPTV Station on any channel between 38 and 51, the information in the attached file will be of interest to you.  

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  • File Size: 389208
  • Added On: 6/14/2017

FCC Proposes to Add "Blue Alert" Code to the Emergency Alert System

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FCC PROPOSES TO ADD “BLUE ALERT” CODE TO THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM The FCC today adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add a “Blue Alert” code to the Emergency Alert System protocol to help protect law enforcement officers and the public. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 305099
  • Added On: 6/22/2017

FCC Releases Instructions for Cross-Service FM Translator Auction Filing Window Open July 26 -- August 2, 2017

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FCC RELEASES INSTRUCTIONS FOR CROSS-SERVICE FM TRANSLATOR AUCTION FILING WINDOW OPEN JULY 26 – AUGUST 2, 2017; FREEZE ON CERTAIN APPLICATIONS ALSO ANNOUNCED The FCC released a Public Notice (“Notice”) on June 6th announcing the details and filing instructions for the FM translator auction filing window that it will open from July 26 to August 2, 2017. The window is for Class C and Class D AM stations to apply for cross-service FM translator station construction permits. To learn more about the FCC’s Notice, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 6/7/2017

Window for AM Stations to File for New FM Translators Opens July 26

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THE WINDOW FOR AM STATIONS TO PROPOSE NEW FM TRANSLATORS WILL OPEN JULY 26 The FCC announced today by Public Notice (copy attached) that it will open, on July 26, a window for Class C and Class D AM stations to propose new FM translator stations. A second window (for all AM stations) will be opened after the first window closes and mutually exclusive applications have been resolved. AM stations that filed in one of the 2016 FM translator windows are not eligible to file in these 2017 windows. Today’s Public Notice is short on details but promises the release of another public notice in the near future to provide details and procedures for the window opening on July 26.  

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  • File Size: 107979
  • Added On: 6/1/2017

Main Studio Elimination Comment Dates and Questions; Tower Safety Guide

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COMMENTS IN MAIN STUDIO PROCEEDING DUE JULY 3; HERE ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS ON WHICH THE FCC SEEKS COMMENT Comments are due July 3 in the FCC’s proceeding relating to elimination of the main studio rule. To learn more about the issues on which the FCC seeks comment, please open the attached file. * * * OSHA AND THE FCC PUBLISH “BEST PRACTICES” GUIDE TO ADDRESS TOWER SAFETY ISSUES The Best Practices Guide released on June 1 by OSHA and the FCC is a must-read for all broadcasters, irrespective of whether you own your station’s tower. More information, including a copy of the Guide, is included in the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 1064400
  • Added On: 6/2/2017

Learning EAS Lessons from the Mistakes of Others

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TELEVISION STATION AGREES TO $55,000 FINE AND COMPLIANCE PLAN FOR “MISUSE” OF EAS TONES The FCC has agreed to settle an investigation of a TV station for the misuse of EAS tones. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 393823
  • Added On: 5/31/2017

Reg Fees, Form 387s, Use of New EAS Codes, Blue Alerts

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FCC PROPOSES REGULATORY FEES; SEEKS COMMENT ON ITS LIST OF “SATELLITE” TV STATIONS The FCC has released its perennial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for regulatory fees. Among other things, the FCC is considering whether to raise the regulatory fee assessment for full-power “satellite” television stations, and the FCC has specifically sought comment on whether its list of “official” satellite stations is correct. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * WHICH TV STATIONS WILL NEED TO FILE POST-AUCTION TRANSITION STATUS REPORTS? Each full power and Class A station that is transitioning to a new channel in the post-auction environment will need to file FCC Form 387—pursuant to the FCC’s schedule of deadlines—irrespective of whether the station receives reimbursement in connection with the repack. (The only exception applies to stations that were winning bidders in the reverse auction and are changing channel simply by virtue of becoming a channel sharee.) Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * NOAA/NWS WILL BEGIN USING EWW, SSA, AND SSW EAS CODES ON JUNE 1, 2017 In 2016, the FCC approved the addition of three new EAS codes to the rulebook: EWW, SSA, and SSW. NOAA/NWS will begin using those codes as of next week. While the use of the codes by stations is voluntary, stations should consider adopting their use and contact their EAS vendors to see what would be required. More information is included in the attached file. * * * FCC TO PROPOSE NEW “BLUE ALERT” EAS CODE IN JUNE Chairman Pai has announced that the FCC will consider—at its June meeting—launching a proceeding to add a “Blue Alert” code to the EAS lexicon. More information is included in the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 611749
  • Added On: 5/26/2017

"Equal Opportunities" Refresher for the 2017 Election Season

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A FEW REMINDERS ABOUT “EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES” DURING THE 2017 ELECTION SEASON FOR VIRGINIA STATIONS With the 2017 political election cycle underway in Virginia, here is a refresher on various aspects of how the “equal opportunities” rule works. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 82941
  • Added On: 5/24/2017

Elimination of Main Studios, Omnibus Media Deregulation Proceeding, FCC User Manual for Reverse Auction Proceeds & Repack Reimbursement

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FCC LAUNCHES PROCEEDING TO CONSIDER ELIMINATION OF BROADCAST STATION MAIN STUDIOS As expected, at its monthly meeting today, May 18, 2017, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that proposes to largely eliminate the main studio requirements for radio and television broadcast stations. To learn more about what we know at this point about this development, please open the attached file. * * * FCC SOLICITS PROPOSALS FOR ELIMINATION OR MODIFICATION OF MEDIA REGULATIONS At today’s May 18, 2017, FCC meeting, the FCC adopted—by a 2-1 vote—to issue a Public Notice launching a sweeping, top-to-bottom review of its rules applicable to media entities, including television and radio broadcasters and MVPDs. Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * USER MANUAL RELEASED TO GUIDE TV STATIONS THROUGH THE CORES FINANCIAL MODULE WHICH IS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN AUCTION PROCEEDS AND REPACK REIMBURSEMENT FUNDS The FCC has released its long-awaited CORES Financial Module User Manual. Familiarity with the CORES Financial Module will be necessary for all reverse auction winners who will be collecting Incentive Auction proceeds and for all full power and Class A television stations that will be incurring reimbursement expenses as a result of having been assigned new channels as part of the post-auction repack. More information is included in the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 458903
  • Added On: 5/18/2017

Broadcasters' Copyright Dispute with FilmOn X Settled

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BROADCASTERS SETTLE COPYRIGHT DISPUTE WITH FILMON X Settlement of the ongoing legal battle over copyright between broadcasters and FilmOn X has been announced—but precious few details are available due to the confidential nature of the settlement. For additional context, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 374032
  • Added On: 5/17/2017

FCC Releases Important LPTV & TX Public Notice

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FCC PROVIDES PROCEDURAL INFORMATION FOR LPTV AND TX STATIONS IN THE POST-AUCTION ENVIRONMENT The FCC has released a Public Notice providing important information relating to low power television and TV translator operations and procedures for the post-Incentive Auction environment. Please note that this information is relevant not only to existing LPTV and TX licensees, but also to full power stations who may lose portions of their service area as a result of the post-Auction repack. For more information, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 5/16/2017

Association Legal Alert for Low Power TV Operators: FCC Public Notice for Post-Auction "Procedures" for LPTV and TV Translators Has Been Issued

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On Friday afternoon, the FCC released the attached Public Notice, which provides information to low power television operators—including LPTV stations, TV Translator stations, and digital replacement translator operators—about steps that will be taken with respect to low power facilities now that the TV repack transition is underway. Among the topics covered in the Public Notice are: (1) the special filing window for operating LPTV/translator stations that are subject to displacement as a result of the repack, including the future release of data about channel availability; (2) the displacement process for LPTV/translator stations; (3) LPTV and TV translator station channel sharing; (4) the procedures to apply for new digital-to-digital replacement translator stations; (5) the final digital transition date for LPTV and TV translator stations; and (6) the lifting of the freeze on the filing of displacement applications and applications for digital companion channels. We will follow up with greater detail for members next week.  

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  • Added On: 5/12/2017

June 1 Deadline for EEO Reports; Not June 1 Deadline for NCE Radio Biennial Ownership Reports

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EEO PUBLIC FILE REPORTS DUE JUNE 1, 2017, FOR VIRGINIA RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS Virginia broadcasters with five or more full-time employees must place their annual EEO Public File Report in their public inspection file and post it to their website (if they have one) by June 1, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file. * * * VIRGINIA NONCOMMERCIAL RADIO STATION BIENNIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTS NOT DUE JUNE 1; ALL BIENNIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTS DUE DECEMBER 1, 2017 Historically, noncommercial Virginia radio stations were required to file Biennial Ownership Reports with the FCC by June 1 of odd-numbered years. The FCC has changed the deadline, and now Virginia noncommercial radio stations—and all other Virginia broadcasters (commercial and noncommercial)—are required to file Biennial Ownership Reports by December 1, 2017. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 5/12/2017

FM Translator Interference Petitions Filed, EAS Nationwide Test Report, NCE On-Air Fundraising Flexibility

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TWO PETITIONS FILED AT FCC IN APRIL SEEK TO ADDRESS FM TRANSLATOR INTERFERENCE ISSUES Multiple parties filed petitions at the FCC in April advocating for changes to the way in which the FCC handles FM translator interference situations. To learn more about these petitions, please open the attached file. * * * EAS NATIONWIDE TEST RESULTS DISCUSSED IN FCC REPORT The FCC has released a report relating to the nationwide test conducted on September 28, 2016. The report identifies several issues and proposes solutions. Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * GREATER THIRD-PARTY FUNDRAISING FLEXIBILITY RULES ADOPTED FOR NONCOMMERCIAL STATIONS The FCC has adopted new rules to provide greater flexibility to some noncommercial stations to conduct on-air third-party fundraising. Such flexibility comes with new disclosure requirements, and CPB-funded noncommercial stations must continue to use the FCC’s existing waiver process for on-air third-party fundraising programming. More information is included in the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 5/3/2017

The FCC Proposes to Eliminate Station Main Studios

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WILL THE FCC ELIMINATE “MAIN STUDIO” REQUIREMENTS FOR BROADCAST STATIONS? THE FCC’s MAY MEETING AGENDA SUGGESTS THAT IT IS POSSIBLE! The FCC has released a draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“Notice”) that would largely eliminate the main studio requirements for radio and television broadcast stations. A copy of a “draft” of the FCC’s proposed Notice is attached to this email, and the FCC’s May meeting agenda has this Notice on the docket (which means a rule making proceeding to eliminate the main studio rule could be launched before Memorial Day!). In short, the FCC’s draft Notice entails the following: (1) A tentative conclusion by the FCC that “technological innovations have rendered a local studio unnecessary as a means for viewers and listeners to communicate with or access their local stations and to carry out the other traditional functions that a local studio has served.” (2) A tentative finding by the FCC that the main studio rule “is now outdated and unnecessarily burdensome for broadcast stations” and that it would be appropriate to eliminate the main studio rule. (3) A proposal to eliminate existing requirements associated with the main studio rule, including the requirement that the main studio must have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and that it must have program origination capability. (4) The FCC seeking comment on how to ensure that community members have access to a station’s public file that is not online if the station no longer maintains a local main studio. (5) A proposal to retain the requirement that all AM, FM, TV, and Class A TV broadcast stations maintain a local telephone number in its community of license or a toll-free number. (6) The FCC seeking comment on the costs and benefits of eliminating the main studio rule and on any alternative proposals, such as whether to eliminate the rule for only a certain subset of stations, such as those in small markets or those with few employees. This is obviously a significant development for all broadcasters—commercial and noncommercial; small market, medium market, and large market—alike. We will keep you apprised of significant developments.  

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  • Added On: 4/28/2017

Internet-Only Recruitment for Station Job Vacancies Now an Option Under FCC's EEO Rules

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INTERNET-ONLY RECRUITMENT NOW VIABLE UNDER THE FCC’s EEO RULES (PROVIDED THE “WIDESPREAD DISSEMINATION” STANDARD IS STILL MET) Late Friday afternoon, April 21, the FCC released a Declaratory Ruling that may result in greater efficiencies for stations recruiting for full-time job vacancies: Internet-only recruitment will—when certain conditions are met—become a viable approach to compliance with the FCC’s EEO recruitment rules. To learn more about this ruling, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 4/22/2017

LUC Window Opens April 29 for Virginia Primary Elections & Post-Auction Regional Coordinators Will Be Contacting Relocating TV Stations Soon

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  • Added On: 4/14/2017

FCC Adopts Three Broadcast Orders at Its April Meeting

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At today’s FCC meeting, the Commission adopted—but has not yet released the text of—three orders directly affecting broadcasters. First, the FCC has reinstated the UHF discount portion of its television broadcast ownership rules. In 2016, under Chairman Wheeler, the FCC eliminated the UHF discount, over the objection of then-Commissioner Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly. (The ownership rules prohibit a single entity from owning full-power commercial broadcast television stations that collectively reach more than 39 percent of the total television households in the country. Until August 2016 when the UHF discount was eliminated, TV stations broadcasting in the UHF spectrum only counted 50 percent of the television households in their market when determining compliance with the national 39 percent cap.) This is not the final word on the FCC’s television ownership rules or the UHF discount, however, as Chairman Pai has indicated that he plans to bring the issue back before the Commission later this year together with consideration of the national television cap portion of the ownership rules. Second, the Commission has relaxed its rules as they relate to third-party fundraising by noncommercial broadcast stations. Once the new rules go into effect, noncommercial stations that do not receive CPB funding will be allowed to air fundraising programming for the benefit of third parties, so long as not more than one percent of total airtime annually is dedicated to such fundraising activities. Noncommercial stations that do receive CPB funding will be required to continue to use the FCC informal waiver process in order to secure permission to engage in on-air third party fundraising activities. Finally, the FCC has adopted an order to ease the ownership reporting burdens on noncommercial broadcasters. Under Chairman Wheeler, the Commission had adopted a requirement that members of the boards of the licensees of noncommercial stations provide certain sensitive information to the Commission (e.g., Social Security Numbers) in order to obtain a special FCC Registration Number (FRN) for ownership reporting purposes. Today’s action by the Commission mitigates some of the burden by making it less onerous for board members to obtain an FRN for ownership reporting purposes. As noted above, the text of these three orders has not yet been released. After the FCC releases the text of the three orders, we will provide greater detail on these developments.  

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  • Added On: 4/20/2017

INCENTIVE AUCTION ALERT: The FCC Has Released the Long-Awaited Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice

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INCENTIVE AUCTION ALERT: The FCC Has Released the Long-Awaited Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice The FCC has just released the long awaited Public Notice that officially brings the Incentive Auction to a close. The Public Notice also announces the winning broadcasters in the reverse auction and the channel reassignments of the nearly 1000 stations that are being repacked. Copies of the FCC’s Public Notice and its appendices are attached to this email. THE FIRST DEADLINE THAT REPACKED STATIONS NEED TO CIRCLE IN RED ON THE CALENDAR IS JULY 12, 2017: Construction permit applications and Form 399 reimbursement estimates will be due! We will follow up in greater detail in the coming days.  

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  • File Size: 510800
  • Added On: 4/13/2017

Ninth Circuit Rejects FilmOn X's Bid for Compulsory Copyright License

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NINTH CIRCUIT REJECTS FILMON X’S BID FOR THE COMPULSORY COPYRIGHT LICENSE In a decision issued Tuesday, March 21, a federal court of appeals agreed with broadcasters that Internet streamers like FilmOn X are not “cable systems” eligible for the Copyright Act’s Section 111 compulsory license. To learn more about this decision, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 3/22/2017

Satellite Market Mod, FM Translator Siting for AM Stations, Closed Captioning Contact Information

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FCC ISSUES SATELLITE MARKET MODIFICATION DECISION IN “ORPHAN” COUNTY CASE The Commission recently released a decision applying the new satellite market modification procedures adopted in STELAR. The decision demonstrates the significant—perhaps even dispositive—weight the Commission places on access to “in-state” programming in such proceedings and potentially opens the door to a wave of additional requests in other markets. To learn more about the FCC’s decision, please open the attached file. * * * APRIL 10 IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FCC’S RELAXATION OF THE FM TRANSLATOR SITING RULES FOR AM STATIONS As we previously advised, the FCC has modified its FM translator siting rules for AM stations, and now we know the effective date. Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * IS YOUR TELEVISION STATION’S CLOSED CAPTIONING CONTACT INFORMATION UP-TO-DATE? Stations have had to make certain closed captioning contact information available to the public and file it with the FCC. When contact information changes, stations don’t always remember to update it. To remind yourself of the requirements, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 3/20/2017

FCC Post-Auction Workshop

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TV MEMBERS: DID YOU WATCH THE FCC’s POST-AUCTION WEBINAR? The FCC conducted a workshop/webcast on March 13 to help TV stations understand certain post-auction procedures. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 3/13/2017

Comment Deadlines in ATSC 3.0 Rulemaking Proceeding

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DETAILS OF FCC’s ATSC 3.0 PROPOSAL AND COMMENT DEADLINES On March 10, the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the ATSC 3.0 proceeding will be published in the Federal Register, which means comments in the proceeding will be due May 9, and reply comments will be due June 8. To learn more about the various issues on which the FCC seeks comment, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 3/9/2017

For Association TV Members: Important Information About the FCC's March 13 Repack FCC Workshop/Webinar

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TV MEMBERS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE FCC’S MARCH 13 WORKSHOP/WEBCAST ABOUT POST-AUCTION ISSUES Late yesterday, the FCC released the attached Public Notice providing more information regarding the Repack Workshop scheduled for next Monday, March 13. (You can also find the Public Notice here.) As you’ll see, the Repack Workshop is scheduled for 10 to 12:30 eastern time. Here’s the agenda of topics to be covered (although it’s not very detailed): • Overview and incentive auction status update • Step-by-step review of the procedures for broadcast stations filing applications for construction permits during the 39-month transition period • Review of procedures for submitting bank account information to ensure payment of reverse auction winnings and reimbursement of eligible expenses • Question & Answer session with panel of FCC staff We recommend that all television stations that either are being repacked or were designated as winning bidders in the reverse auction watch the webcast. It will be archived on the FCC’s website if you aren’t able to watch it in real time.  

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  • Added On: 3/7/2017

FCC Launches ATSC 3.0 Proceeding and Relaxes FM Translator Siting for AM Stations

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FCC ADOPTS NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR ATSC 3.0 AND AMENDS RULE TO ALLOW AM STATIONS MORE FLEXIBILITY IN SITING FM TRANSLATORS At today’s FCC meeting, the Commission formally launched the ATSC 3.0 proceeding and modified its FM translator siting rule for AM stations. As of the distribution of this memo, the FCC has not yet released the full, final text of these actions. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • Added On: 2/24/2017

ATSC 3.0 Proceeding and FM Translator Siting for AM Stations February 2, 2017

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FCC RELEASES DRAFTS OF ATSC 3.0 NPRM AND ORDER TO ALLOW AM STATIONS MORE FLEXIBILITY IN SITING FM TRANSLATORS In an effort to increase agency transparency, Chairman Pai today released drafts of proposed rules in both the ATSC 3.0 proceeding and the AM Revitalization proceeding. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • Added On: 2/3/2017

FCC Eliminates "Correspondence Folder" from Public Inspection File Obligations

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FCC ELIMINATES “CORRESPONDENCE FOLDER” FROM COMMERCIAL BROADCASTER PUBLIC INSPECTION FILE REQUIREMENTS At today’s meeting—the first under new Chairman Ajit Pai—the three-member Commission voted unanimously to eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain and make publicly available (as part of the public inspection file) copies of letters and emails received from members of the public. (The FCC also eliminated the requirement that each cable system retain information in its public inspection file about the location of its principal headend.) Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 297215
  • Added On: 1/31/2017

FCC Releases Two Public Notices Regarding Post-Auction Repack

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FCC PROVIDES MORE DETAILS FOR THE POST-AUCTION REPACK On Friday afternoon, January 27, the FCC released two public notices (copies attached) providing more information to broadcasters about the repacking of TV stations that will occur after the end of the Incentive Auction. Together the public notices are about 100 pages, and we will provide more information in the coming days.  

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  • Added On: 1/27/2017

Final Countdown for VAB Radio Members: January 31 Deadline for GMR Interim Music License for Commercial Radio Stations

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ONE-WEEK COUNTDOWN REMINDER (TAKE ACTION NOW!): GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS INTERIM LICENSE IS AVAILABLE TO RADIO STATIONS; STATIONS MUST TAKE ACTION BY JANUARY 31, 2017 Commercial radio stations need to contact GMR immediately to secure an interim license for the music in GMR’s repertory. Do not wait for January 31! Please open the attached file to learn important information about how to take action.  

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  • File Size: 65648
  • Added On: 1/24/2017

LPTV Filing Freeze, Cameras In SCOTUS?, IRS 1099-MISC for Contest Winners

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FCC IMPOSES FREEZE ON THE FILING OF LOW POWER TV AND TV TRANSLATOR DIGITAL COMPANION CHANNEL APPLICATIONS By Public Notice dated January 19, 2017, the FCC has imposed an immediate freeze on the filing of applications for digital companion channels for low power television and TV translator stations. To learn more about the FCC’s decision, please open the attached file. * * * WILL CONGRESS PUT CAMERAS IN THE SUPREME COURT? A bill was recently filed in the 115th Congress to compel the U.S. Supreme Court to televise its proceedings. Please open the attached file to learn more. * * * DOES YOUR STATION HAVE A SYSTEM FOR SENDING IRS 1099-MISC FORMS TO CONTEST WINNERS? The issuance by January 31 of IRS 1099-MISC forms to every contest winner who was awarded $600 or more may not be on every station’s radar. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • File Size: 463248
  • Added On: 1/19/2017

January 31 Deadline for GMR Interim Music License for Commercial Radio Stations

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REMINDER: GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS INTERIM LICENSE IS AVAILABLE TO RADIO STATIONS; STATIONS MUST TAKE ACTION BY JANUARY 31, 2017 Commercial radio stations need to contact GMR immediately to secure an interim license for the music in GMR’s repertory. Do not wait for January 31! Please open the attached file to learn important information about how to take action.  

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  • File Size: 64693
  • Added On: 1/19/2017

Did the FCC Change the Political Record Keeping Requirements?

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FCC ISSUES TWO ORDERS PROVIDING CLARIFICATION OF POLITICAL RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS FOR ISSUE ADS On January 6, the FCC released two orders that provide clarification of certain political record keeping requirements. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 49043
  • Added On: 1/17/2017

FCC Public Notice Regarding Post-Auction Repacking Reports

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FCC RELEASES FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR POST-AUCTION TV TRANSITION PROGRESS REPORTS AND SEEKS COMMENT ON WHETHER TO REQUIRE SUCH REPORTS FOR STATIONS THAT WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED WHEN CHANGING CHANNELS In connection with the ongoing broadcast Incentive Auction, the FCC, earlier this week, released a Public Notice providing additional information about post-auction progress report requirements for stations eligible for reimbursement from the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • File Size: 383998
  • Added On: 1/12/2017

Stations May Soon Be Able to Stop Maintaining Copies of Letters and Emails from the Public!

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ELIMINATION OF ONE PUBLIC INSPECTION FILE FOLDER MAY BE ON THE HORIZON The FCC has just released its “Tentative Agenda” for its January 31 meeting. (Of course, we don’t know yet who will be the Acting, Interim, or actual Chair of the FCC for the January 31 meeting, except that it will be a deregulatory-minded Republican.) The following item appears on the tentative agenda: In plain English, the FCC is planning to consider adopting a rule that will eliminate the requirement that broadcasters maintain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public “Correspondence File” (formerly known as the “Letters and Emails from the Public” folder). You may recall that Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly championed this cause last year, and the FCC solicited comments on the issue. It’s only a tentative agenda, but since both Commissioner Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly will be around for that meeting (and, quite possibly, one of them will be the Acting/Interim Chair for the meeting), it seems likely this public file requirement will disappear. (Also proposed by the FCC last year was an elimination of the requirement that cable systems maintain the location of their principal headend in their public file; judging from the agenda item, that requirement is also likely to be eliminated.)  

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  • Added On: 1/11/2017

Foreign Ownership, GMR Radio Interim License, Update Contact Info with FCC

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FCC ALLOWS UP TO 49 PERCENT FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF UNIVISION The FCC recently issued a decision allowing a foreign company to take an ownership stake in Univision of up to 49 percent. To learn more about the FCC’s decision, please open the attached file. * * * REMINDER: GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS MAKES INTERIM LICENSE AVAILABLE TO RADIO STATIONS; STATIONS MUST TAKE ACTION BY JANUARY 31, 2017 On December 24, the RMLC announced that GMR will make available to radio stations an interim license agreement pending the resolution of lawsuits that the two organizations have filed against each other. The RMLC reports that GMR will make the interim license available to all radio stations until January 31, 2017, and that GMR will not file a copyright lawsuit against any station without a license before that date. Please open the attached file to learn important information about how to take action. * * * TV STATIONS: THE FCC WANTS YOU TO CHECK (AND UPDATE) YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION The FCC has reminded all television licensees to ensure that their contact information on file with the FCC is accurate and current and to correct and update it if necessary so that the FCC will have accurate, current contact information when communicating directly with television stations about the post-Incentive Auction repack. To learn more, please open the attached file.  

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  • Added On: 1/9/2017

FCC Releases Initial Results of September 2016 Nationwide EAS Test

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FCC RELEASES INITIAL RESULTS OF NATIONWIDE EAS TEST On December 28, the FCC released a public notice to report its initial findings and results of the September 2016 nationwide EAS test. Please open the attached file to learn more.  

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  • Added On: 12/29/2016

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