Ajit Pai Making Enemies On The Road To 5G

In moving to free up Wi-Fi and bolster superfast service, Ajit Pai has alienated some industries, congressional committees and Trump Cabinet leaders.

House Moves Toward Funding Boost For CPB

A House subcommittee has recommended $515 million for public broadcasting for fiscal year 2023, according to the America’s Public Television Stations, an increase of $50 million. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies has also recommended $20 million for the interconnection facilities that allow the stations to carry national programming.

MGM Seeks Dismissal Of Almost All Of Starz’s Claims In Lawsuit Over Exclusivity Windows

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Programmers Seek Govt. Pandemic Insurance

An informal group of major media trade groups, unions and some high-powered sports organizations — led by Fox — is asking Congress to pass legislation that would provide “pandemic risk insurance” for businesses attempting to, well, do business during the current pandemic. Among those signing on to the letter were NAB, NCTA, MPA, NFL, SAG-AFTRA and NASCAR.

STATION ADVISORY

July Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

July is usually a month of family vacations and patriotic celebrations. While the pandemic has seen to it that those activities, if they happen at all, will look different than they have in years past, there are plenty of regulatory obligations to fill a broadcaster’s long, summer days. Here are a few of the dates and deadlines to watch for in July, and a quick reminder of some of the significant filings due right at the beginning of August.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Extends Sponsorship ID Waiver For Sponsored COVID-19 PSAs

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Put Affils, Not Nets, In Control of vMVPD Dollars

Local broadcasters could use some regulatory help from the FCC by declaring that vMVPDs or “skinny bundles” must be treated like regular MVPDs and thus subject to retransmission consent obligations. Doing so would put the affiliates in a much stronger position to hang on to vMVPD fees than they are now.

Know Your Rights When Filming Law Enforcement

White House Considers Federal 5G Intervention

The Trump administration has discussed a range of strategies to counter Huawei’s growth and put more American muscle into the competition against the Chinese telecom giant, including by prodding large U.S. technology companies to acquire Ericsson or Nokia.

COMMENTARY

O’Rielly: FCC Action Generates More Local News

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly: “The success of local television news in some markets comes even as the broadcast industry in general faces monumental challenges that existed apart from COVID-19, largely due to competition from unregulated high-tech companies openly competing for the same local advertising dollars.  And, these successes come despite the obstruction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which overturned well-reasoned efforts by the FCC to modernize outdated media ownership rules last fall.”

Kristen Corra Joins Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

Dem Super PAC Joining Trump Station Lawsuit

The Priorities USA super PAC has been given a judicial OK to join a legal battle between Trump’s financially flush Republican reelection campaign and WJFW Wausau-Rhinelander, Wis. (DMA 134), which is being sued for airing a Priorities USA ad.

Michael Pack Says Voice Of America Will Boost Visibility Of Editorials That Reflect Trump Administration Views

STATION ADVISORY

FEMA Cancels 2020 National EAS Test

The Federal Emergency Management Association says it will not conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) via the broadcast Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert system this year.

NAB Seeks Delay Of Video Description Expansion

The National Association of Broadcasters has asked the FCC to give stations in markets 61-100 more time before they are made subject to the FCC’s video description rules, which were mandated in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The organization cited the pandemic’s effects on some stations in mid-markets.

Charter Seeks FCC OK To Charge Streamers

The telecom giant says the online video market is flourishing and there’s no reason to hold it back from negotiating interconnection agreements with some of the world’s largest companies.

Affils Ask FCC To Revive Item Regulating OTT

Affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are asking FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to revive a years-old proposal to regulate some over-the-top video providers, providers currently beyond the agency’s reach in terms of program access and must-carry/retransmission consent rules.

Broadcasters Challenge Carriage Mandates

Broadcasters are pushing back on cable arguments that leased-access rules represent an infringement on cable’s First Amendment rights, and for good reason. If broadcasters want to preserve their cable carriage mandate, which they definitely do in a world where most broadcast viewing is over cable and satellite retransmissions — the cord-cutting trend notwithstanding — they want to nip the First Amendment challenge to that other carriage mandate in the bud.

Nielsen To FCC: Where’s The Beef?

Nielsen is telling the FCC that it remains the best way to determine if a TV station is getting significant out-of-market viewership. A determination that a station is “significantly viewed” in an adjacent market allows an MVPD serving that market to carry the station, even if it duplicates in-market syndicated or network programming. That importation is otherwise prohibited by the network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.

FCC Sets Date For New Retrans Rules

Rules giving qualified MVPD buying groups the same good faith bargaining protections enjoyed by operators will go into effect on July 20, according to the FCC.

NAB: COVID-Hit Stations Face Need For Converting Foreign Debt Into Equity

Broadcasters are telling the FCC that the pandemic makes it that much more important to streamline reviews of foreign ownership in broadcast properties, in part because pandemic-hammered stations may need to convert foreign debt into equity to avoid defaulting on the loans.

Black Creators Sue YouTube, Alleging Racial Discrimination

COMMENTARY

Press Credentials: The Right To Report Should Not Be The Purview Of Government

Norman Siegel: “The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States provides, in part, that government shall not abridge freedom of the press. Clearly, free expression by journalists, or by anyone with access to the equivalent of a printing press, is a cornerstone principle of our republic. The challenge to uphold this basic value is, unfortunately, an ongoing struggle.”

Heads Of U.S.-Funded Media Outlets Fired

The moves by Michael Pack, a Trump administration appointee, raise concerns that the news organizations would become partisan.

Fox News Argues Viewers Don’t Assume Tucker Carlson Reports Facts

Bill Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Draws Crowd

Senate Commerce Schedules FCC Hearing

FCC watchers should mark their calendars for June 24. That is when the Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled an FCC oversight hearing featuring all five commissioners, according to the committee. It will be the first such oversight hearing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘That ’70s Show’ Actor Danny Masterson Charged In 3 Rapes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson was charged with the rapes of three women in the early 2000s, Los Angeles prosecutors said Wednesday, the culmination of a three-year investigation that resulted in a rare arrest of a famous Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era. The three counts of rape by force […]

FCC’s Starks: Trump Trying To ‘Work The Refs’

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said today that for the commission to consider President Trump’s executive order on social media during the run-up to the election “risks producing a chilling effect construed to make social media companies less willing to flag misinformation.”

FCC: Stations Can’t Use Vacant Chs. For 3.0

The FCC has resolved some major outstanding issues in its framework for a transition to the ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmission standard. It declined to allow vacant in-band channels to be used for ATSC 3.0 deployment, which broadcasters sought but computer companies opposed because they want to use those channels for wireless broadband.