CommLawCenter Blog (Courtesy of Pillsbury)

By Scott R. Flick and Jessica Nyman January 2015 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: Individual fined $25,000 for Unauthorized "Chanting and Heavy Breathing" on Public Safety Station Failure to Timely Request STA Results in $5,000 Fine FCC Imposes $11,500 Fine for Intentional Interference and Station ID Violation FCC Fired up by a New Yorker's Deliberate Disregard for Public Safety Earlier this month, the FCC imposed a $25,000 fine against a New York man for operating a radio transmitter without a license and...
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By Scott R. Flick and Paul A. Cicelski In a just released Public Notice, the Media Bureau has designated May 29, 2015, as the Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline. That is the date by which certain full-power and Class A TV stations must have a license application on file with the FCC in order for their modified facilities to be protected in the repacking process following the spectrum incentive auction. While the FCC earlier concluded that full-power and Class A TV facilities licensed by February 22, 2012 would be protected in the repacking, it envisioned protection of TV facilities licensed after that date...
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By Scott R. Flick I wrote in March of last year that the FCC had proposed fines of $1,120,000 against Viacom, $530,000 against NBCUniversal, and $280,000 against ESPN for airing ads for the movie Olympus Has Fallen that promoted the movie with an EAS alert tone. Seven Viacom cable networks aired the spot a total of 108 times, seven NBCUniversal cable networks aired it a total of 38 times, and ESPN aired it a total of 13 times on three cable networks. According to the FCC, NBC elected to pay its $530,000 fine shortly thereafter and call it a...
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By Paul A. Cicelski The press has been abuzz in recent months regarding the launch of various Internet-based video services and the FCC's decision to revisit its current definition of Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs). In December, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), seeking to "modernize" its rules to redefine what constitutes an MVPD. The FCC's proposals would significantly expand the universe of what is considered an "MVPD" to include a wide-variety of Internet-based offerings. Today, the FCC released a Public Notice providing the dates by which parties can provide their own suggestions regarding...
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By Scott R. Flick In what has become an annual holiday tradition going back so far none of us can remember when it started (Pillsbury predates the FCC by 66 years), we released the 2015 Broadcasters' Calendar last week. While starting a new year is usually jarring, particularly breaking yourself of the habit of dating everything "2014", this new year seems particularly so, as many took last Friday off, making today, January 5th, their first day back at work. For broadcasters, whose fourth quarter regulatory reports need to be in their public inspection files by January 10th, that doesn't leave...
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By Scott R. Flick and Jessica Nyman December 2014 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: Sponsorship Identification Violation Yields $115,000 Civil Penalty $13,000 Increase in Fine Upheld for Deliberate and Continued Operation at Unauthorized Location FCC Reduces $14,000 Fine for EAS and Power Violations Due to Inability to Pay FCC Adopts Consent Decree Requiring Licensee to Pay $115,000 Civil Penalty Earlier this month, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree with a Nevada TV station terminating an investigation into violations...
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By Lauren Lynch Flick Yesterday, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing that broadcast radio licensees, satellite TV/radio licensees, and cable system operators move the bulk of their public inspection files online. The FCC previously adopted an online public file requirement for broadcast TV, and sees this as the logical next step. The FCC noted that adoption of the online broadcast TV public file "represent[ed] a significant achievement in the Commission's ongoing effort to modernize disclosure procedures to improve access to public file material." As such, the FCC is proposing the same general approach for transitioning broadcast radio, satellite...
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By Scott R. Flick The FCC announced in March of this year that it would begin treating TV Joint Sales Agreements between two local TV stations involving more than 15% of a station's advertising time as an attributable ownership interest. However, it also announced at that time that it would provide parties to existing JSAs two years from the effective date of the new rule to make any necessary modifications to ensure compliance with the FCC's multiple ownership rule. As I wrote in June when the new rule went into effect, that made June 19, 2016 the deadline...
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By Scott R. Flick and Carly A. Deckelboim November 2014 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: $7,000 Fine for Late Renewal Application and Unauthorized Operation Missing Wood Planks Around Tower Lead to $5,600 Fine $39,000 Fine Upheld for Hearing Aid Compatibility Violations Reduced Fine Imposed for Unauthorized Operation and Tardy Renewal Application Earlier this month, the Audio Division of the FCC's Media Bureau (the "Bureau") issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order and Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") against a Nevada licensee...
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By Lauren Lynch Flick At its Open Meeting this morning, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to "modernize" its station-conducted contest rule, which was originally adopted in 1976. The proposal would allow broadcasters to post the rules of a contest on any publicly accessible website. Stations would no longer have to broadcast the contest rules if they instead announce the full website address where the rules can be found each time they promote or advertise the contest on-air. Currently, the FCC's rule requires that broadcasters sponsoring a contest must "fully and accurately disclose the material terms...
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By Scott R. Flick and Carly A. Deckelboim October 2014 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: $86,400 Fine for Unlicensed and Unauthorized BAS Operations Missing "E/I" Graphic for Children's Television Programs Results in Fine Multiple Rule Violations Lead to $16,000 in Fines Increased Fine for Continuing Broadcast Auxiliary Services Operations After Being Warned of Violations Earlier this month, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") against a Texas licensee for operating three broadcast auxiliary services ("BAS") stations without authorizations...
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By Lauren Lynch Flick Late today, the FCC released a Public Notice stating that "[e]ffective immediately, the expiration dates and construction deadlines for all outstanding unexpired construction permits for new digital low power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations are hereby suspended pending final action in the rulemaking proceeding in MB Docket No. 03-185 initiated today by the Commission." As referenced in that statement, the FCC simultaneously released a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a number of issues related to the transition of LPTV stations to digital and their fate in the post-auction spectrum repacking. Specifically,...
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