CommLawBlog (Courtesy of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth)

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 Fire up your computer, free up some space on your credit cards and get your FRN information ready – you’ve got until SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 to get your reg fees paid … and they must be paid electronically. Apparently intent on re-defining the terms “last minute” and “eleventh hour”, the Commission opted to wait until late on the afternoon of August 29 before it announced the final 2014 regulatory fees. For those of you anxious to cut to the chase, here’s a link to a convenient table setting out the new fees for broadcast-related services. (The table also provides, for TV-related...
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As we all know, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Aereo case two months ago – but that wasn’t the end of the matter by any means. The Court’s decision left a number of questions unanswered. And, as has been the case since it burst onto the scene, Aereo is nothing if not creative, which means that, despite its loss in the Supremes, it has not exited the scene by a long shot. While maybe you took the summer off, our Aereo watchers, Kevin Goldberg and Harry Cole, did not. They’ve been keeping track of the fall-out following the...
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To the likely dislike of companies who aren’t careful about their social media policies, NLRB holds Facebook “liking” can be “concerted protected activity”. I’ve written a few pieces about the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and social media. For readers with short memories, the NLRB has held that, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employee can speak out on a personal Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other personal social media account without fear of retaliatory discipline if the posting is “concerted protected activity” that is “not opprobrious” in nature. The term “not opprobrious” in this context is just...
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Audio Division may be considering designating some renewal applications for hearing, but practical considerations could, and should, make it think twice.  Last February my colleague Howard Weiss reported on a decision by the Audio Division that boded ill for radio stations that had been off the air (or operating with inadequate power) for too much of the preceding license term. Faced with a renewal application in which the station had been off the air for approximately one-half of the term, the Division granted the station only a two-year “short term” renewal, instead of the standard eight-year term.  That decision hinted that more...
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Attention TV licensees: MVPD carriage elections must be formalized by October 1 for carriage arrangements through 2017. Have YOU tied everything down yet? With Summer, 2014 on the wane and Labor Day just days away, full-service TV licensees probably should already have a clear idea of the steps they’ll be taking to tie down cable and satellite carriage for the next three-year election term. But we’re guessing that some of you may still be a bit behind the curve. Never fear. On September 9, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. (ET), Fletcher, Heald will be presenting a free webinar on the ins and out of...
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Last month we reported that the FCC had announced deadlines for oppositions and replies to several petitions for reconsideration that had been filed with respect to recent changes to the rules governing the 5 GHz unlicensed band. The FCC received over 100 filings. The deadline for replies was today, August 25. But, apparently, that didn’t provide quite enough time to plow through the pile of paper, at least according to the Association of Global Automakers, Inc.The Commission agreed, but not until the middle of the afternoon on August 25. This is good news for anybody who had been thinking about...
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The comment total is already past 1,100,000, but who’s counting? Really, would it be possible to get too many net neutrality comments? As if. So we’re pleased to report that the FCC has extended the deadline for filing reply comments by five days. The new deadline is September 15, 2014. The original reply deadline was September 10, but the Commission was concerned because, as we all remember, the initial comment deadline got extended from July 15 to July 18 (because the Commission’s online filing system was, um, choking a bit on the volume of comments being filed). Since initial commenters got an extra...
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FCC rule change adopts ANSI update that reflects 2012 FCC rule change. The FCC continues to mop up the technical rules for Unlicensed Personal Communications Service at 1920-1930 MHz. An order in 2012 simplified those rules. Among other things, the FCC incorporated by reference into its code an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard governing certain measurement procedures in the 1920-1930 MHz band. The ANSI standard adopted by the FCC in 2012 – ANSI C63.17-2006 – has since been superseded by a later and greater version, ANSI C63.17-2013. And now an order from the Office of Engineering and Technology has substituted...
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Exactly three months after its adoption, the FCC’s Report and Order (R&O) setting the preliminary ground rules to cover the ambitious incentive auction and repacking of the TV band has now been published in the Federal Register. While this does not mean that the auction is imminent – the FCC is still hoping that it will happen next year – the Federal Register publication does set the effective date of some (but not all) of the rules adopted in the R&O. Perhaps more importantly, it starts the clock on a number of important deadlines. First and foremost, the effective date of...
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Last month we reported that the Commission had formally acknowledged the petition for rulemaking filed by SSR Communications proposing the creation of a new class of FM channel – Class C4 – to be shoe-horned in between current Class A and Class C3. Comments on the proposal were invited. The Media Bureau has now announced that the comment period has been extended a month, to September 18, 2014. Additionally, the deadline for replies to any incoming comments has been extended to October 3. While a one-month extension isn’t necessarily the end of the world – particularly since the SSR petition was...
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Our colleague down here in the CommLawBlog bunker, Mitchell Lazarus, has popped up on the Internet, again. This time it’s in an interview on the RF Venue site. RF Venue is a company that produces a variety of accessories designed to make wireless audio systems work better, so it makes sense that they would be interested in interviewing Prof. Lazarus. He has, as they correctly note, “been instrumental in the regulatory approval of many essential wireless technologies, as well as the wireless audio industry’s evolution from an unregulated enigma to a recognized and important part of the wireless ecosystem.” Adding...
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Nearly a decade in the making, FCC tower rules brought into the 21st Century If you’ve got one or more tower structures, you may be in luck. The FCC has at long last taken a weed-whacker to Part 17 of its rules, a long-overgrown regulatory briar patch governing the construction, painting and lighting of antenna structures. While the substantive requirements remain largely intact, a number of procedural changes should make life at least a little easier for tower owners as well as the Commission’s Staff. At a minimum, the changes should make the rules easier for real people to grasp. The only...
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