Impeachment Hearings: Are Dems Ready For Their Close-Up?

STELAR Reauthorization Pulled From Markup

According to multiple sources, the STAR Act stellar reauthorization bill is being pulled from today’s (Nov. 13) markup in the Senate Commerce Committee. Broadcasters oppose reauthorization, while MVPDs support it.

Dozens Of Cities Sue FCC Over Cable Order

Cities from Los Angeles to Boston are fighting an FCC decision they say will cost them millions by letting cable TV providers such as Comcast Corp. partly pay them with services like free air time instead of money. At least 46 cities are asking federal appeals courts to undo an FCC order they argue will force them to raise taxes or cut spending on local media services, including channels that schools, governments, and the general public can use for programming.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Byron Allen, Comcast To Square Off Today

Byron Allen’s racial discrimination case against Comcast Corp. heads to the Supreme Court today, where justices will consider Comcast’s argument that the case should hinge on two words: “but for.” Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast in February 2015, arguing that the nation’s largest cable operator was discriminating against his company, Entertainment Studios, by refusing to carry its seven lifestyle cable channels. Comcast maintained the decision was made strictly on business grounds because of the lack of audience demand for Allen’s channels.

DOJ: Current Laws Can Handle Tech Monopolies

U.S. Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim says that existent U.S. antitrust laws are “flexible enough” to address harm caused by technology companies, in the face of growing criticism that such laws cannot tackle tech monopolies.

‘Jersey Shore’ Star Pleads Not Guilty To Domestic Violence

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Jersey Shore” star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence, child endangerment, false imprisonment and other misdemeanors after his arrest last month in the Hollywood Hills. The 33-year-old Ortiz-Magro entered the plea Friday in Los Angeles to seven misdemeanor counts that also included criminal threats, brandishing a weapon and […]

FNC Beats Laurie Luhn’s Defamation Suit

The former employee in April filed a $120 million lawsuit against the company and its CEO, Suzanne Scott, alleging that she was sexually abused by Roger Ailes and later defamed.

Nets Agree To Graham’s STELAR Expiration Plan

Three of the Big Four broadcast networks have agreed to insure their viewers don’t lose access to distant signals if Congress lets the STELAR compulsory satellite license expire at year’s end, according to letters from those nets, and the fourth is about to do the same, according to a source familiar with the network’s thinking.

Press Group: Libel Suit Could Set Bad Precedent

The Virginia Press Association asked Friday to intervene in a $50 million lawsuit Johnny Depp filed against Amber Heard, his ex-wife. Depp says he was defamed by an op-ed piece Heard wrote in The Washington Post in December 2018, in which she never identified Depp by name but referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Comcast Threatened With Being ‘Broken Up’

Less than a week before Comcast and Department of Justice lawyers will face off against Byron Allen in the Supreme Court in the Entertainment Studios boss’ $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against the NBCUniverisal owner, Rep. Bobby Rush now wants the telecommunications giant brought down to size.

FCC Orders Stations To Negotiate With AT&T

The FCC today ordered nine TV station groups linked to Sinclair Broadcast Group to return to the negotiating table with AT&T’s DirectTV after some consumers have been without access to 20 stations for five months.

NAB Joins FCC In Challenging Third Circuit

The National Association of Broadcasters has joined with the FCC in seeking a full court hearing of the U.S. Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel decision vacating most of the FCC’s broadcast deregulation decision. Broadcasters had backed that decision and would have preferred even more deregulation.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | Third Circuit Rules Against Newspaper Survival

Hank Price: “It is a tragedy that the newspaper-TV station crossownership ban, originally created not because of public outcry but for political reasons, is still with us, now sporting a small group of vocalists who think that any form of consolidation will destroy local news.”

FCC Challenges Court’s Dereg Smackdown

The FCC is seeking full-court review of a three-judge panel decision vacating its broadcast media ownership deregulation decision. The commission filed a petition for review Thursday (Nov. 7), arguing that the three-judge panel decision of appeals court imposed burdens beyond those allowed in the Administrative Procedures Act, second-guessed the FCC to the point that it undermined congressional intent, and breaks with higher-court and sister-court precedents.

FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The FCC has issued the text of its decision approving the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. That came in the form of a Memorandum Opinion and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Order of Proposed Modification. The FCC modified some build-out requirements on Dish spectrum as part of the spin-off of the merged company’s Boost Mobile prepaid operations to the satellite operator.

Maine’s Cable A La Carte Law Challenged

Comcast, joined by Disney, Fox Cable and NBCUniversal, is seeking a temporary restraining order to delay a Maine law requiring cable companies to offer channels on an a la carte basis.

Graham Proposes STELAR Sunset Transition Plan

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which shares jurisdiction over the issue with Commerce, is putting a thumb on the scale for the sunset of the compulsory license that allows satellite providers to import distant network-affiliated TV signals into markets that lack them without having to negotiate individually for the license with broadcasters.

Steyer Proposes $135 Billion For Rural Broadband

In a new video, Steyer says success in the knowledge economy “starts with access to reliable, high-speed internet.”

STATION ADVISORY

FCC To Hold Symposium On Radio And TV

The FCC announced on Friday that it will be hosting a symposium on the state of the broadcast industry on Nov. 21.  On that day, there will be a panel in the morning on the state of the radio industry and one in the afternoon on television.  The Public Notice released Friday lists a diverse group of panelists, but says little beyond the fact that the forum will be occurring.  What could be behind the commission’s decision to host this session?

Facebook Sued For Age, Gender Bias In Ads

Facebook Inc was sued on Thursday in a proposed class action accusing it of discriminating against older and female users by withholding advertising for financial services such as bank accounts, insurance, investments and loans.

Three News Orgs Beat Joe Arpaio Libel Lawsuit

CNN, HuffPost and Rolling Stone incorrectly said Joe Arpaio was an ex-felon, but U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth won’t fault Chris Cuomo’s “mistake in legal nomenclature” and rejects the controversial sheriff’s bid to establish actual malice from “leftist” bias.

DMA 4: PHILADELPHIA

Assault Charges Dropped Against Former Philly Anchor Dray Clark

STATION ADVISORY

Upcoming FCC Broadcast, Telecom Deadlines

Here’s what to expect from the commission in November through January.

Broadcasters Move To Kill Locast Counterclaims

The Big Four networks have opened another front in their battle with Locast, the startup behind a free service that streams local TV signals in several large U.S. markets. In their latest move, ABC, NBCUniversal, CBS and Fox have urged a New York court to dismiss recent counterclaims filed by Locast and to instead focus on what the broadcasters claim to be Locast’s “wholesale violation of the Copyright Act.”

Hill Warned About Possible C-Band Interference

Aerospace and defense industry contractors told the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee leadership today (Oct. 29) that they need to be cognizant of the potential for interference with an auction and repurposing of C-Band satellite spectrum for 5G.

Schumer, Cotton Lead Effort To Assess TikTok’s Security Risk

After noting that TikTok has been downloaded by more than 110 million U.S. consumers, Schumer tweeted that the company “can be compelled to cooperate with intelligence work controlled by China’s Communist Party.”

Public Knowledge Launches Gene Kimmelman Fellowship

Public Knowledge has created the Gene Kimmelman Fellowship Fund to train the next generation of consumer advocates specializing in technology, telecommunications, and intellectual property policy. Throughout Kimmelman’s decades of public service, he created fellowships and other mentorship programs to nurture the next generation of diverse consumer advocates. When Kimmelman joined Public Knowledge as president and CEO […]

Senate Takes Long Look At STELAR

The Senate took a wide look and a deep dive into the issues surrounding STELAR renewal Wednesday in a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee. Cable operators, who want the law renewed, had to be pleased by the first bit of info that surfaced.

COMMENTARY

Renewing STELAR Will Help Rural Americans

Patricia Jo Boyers: “Smaller pay television providers are under assault from the excessive demands of local TV stations. Congress needs to step in and support legislative reforms that curb the undue price hikes and sudden signal blackouts designed to turn consumers against their traditional pay-TV providers.”

Lori Loughlin, Other Parents Charged Again

A grand jury in Boston indicted the parents on charges of trying to bribe officials at an organization that receives at least $10,000 in federal funding. In this case, they’re accused of paying to get their children admitted to the University of Southern California.