YouTube Influencers Beg FTC To Not Limit Lucrative Kid-Tracking Data

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Changes Children’s TV Rules Deadlines

The FCC gave a present to TV broadcasters at the end of last week by issuing a Public Notice announcing the effective date of the remaining changes to the children’s television rules, and postponing the filing date for the initial Children’s Television Programming Report, which was to be filed by Jan. 30, to March 30, 2020.

Feds Mull Blocking John Malone’s Sirius-iHeartRadio Merger

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Fox-Netflix Battle Likely To Avoid Trial

Disney’s Fox unit has dropped two interference claims against Netflix. The move, made official in court papers filed Dec. 24, represents something other than a Christmas gift for the streamer whose recruitment of entertainment executives under contract set off a high-stakes legal battle. Instead, Fox’s dropped claims all but guarantees there will be no trial in January. The two companies are likely to move to the appellate stage sooner rather than later.

FAA Proposes Tracking Most Drones

The country’s top transportation regulator on Thursday proposed tracking nearly every drone in U.S. airspace, a rule that would pave the way for companies like Google and Amazon to deploy commercial drones across the U.S. The rule, the culmination of years of work by the Federal Aviation Administration, will create a system that allows law enforcement and the government to track drones throughout the sky, distinguishing between licensed aircraft vehicles and those that are suspicious or potentially threatening.

Judge Blocks Maine’s A La Carte Cable Law

A first-in-the-nation Maine law seeking to force cable providers to offer a la carte services has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge in a decision that renders the new requirement unlikely to ever take effect.

Ex-WTMJ Meteorologist Sues Scripps Claiming Anti-Semitism

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Reinstates 2016 Ownership Order

The FCC has reinstated its 2016 ownership rules, recognizing that the changes made in those rules in 2017 were no longer effective because the Third Circuit Court of Appeals had thrown out the 2017 decision. While the FCC may still try to appeal the Third Circuit decision to the Supreme Court, the Third Circuit’s mandate has issued, meaning that its order is effective even if a Supreme Court appeal is filed.

Judge Halts Maine From Forcing Cable Unbundling

Comcast, ViacomCBS, Discovery and Disney achieve a narrow victory on a preliminary injunction motion concerning the state’s novel à la carte mandate.

Broadcasters Win Capitol Hill’s TV Lobbying Wars

Congress is handing traditional broadcasters such as CBS and ABC a surprise victory in a contentious, multimillion-dollar TV lobbying fight by letting key parts of a 31-year-old satellite TV law die.

STATION ADVISORY

January Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

With many Americans using the holiday season to rest and recharge, broadcasters should do the same but not forget that January is a busy month for complying with several important regulatory deadlines for broadcast stations.  These include dates that regularly occur for broadcasters, as well as some unique to this month. So don’t head off to Grandma’s house without making sure that you have all of your regulatory obligations under control.

Former Atlanta Press Secretary Guilty of Violating Open Records Act

FCC Names New Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Monisha Ghosh joins the commission from the National Science Foundation. Her background includes extensive experience with wireless technologies, HDTV and cognitive radio for TV white spaces.

Cox Hit With $1B Music Piracy Verdict

Cox Communications is liable for the infringement of more than 10,000 pirated songs, a Virginia jury held, and it’s going to cost the company $1 billion in damages. Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI and their music publishing subsidiaries in June 2018 sued Cox, claiming the internet giant “knowingly contributed to, and reaped substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers.”

STELAR To Sunset On Dec. 31

The Senate has put the STELAR retransmission consent reform vehicle on blocks, apparently for good. As expected the Senate has passed compromise bills that make the retrans good faith negotiation mandate for broadcasters and MVPDs permanent and sunsets the every-five-year renewal of the satellite distant signal compulsory license.

Jury Awards $8.6M In ‘Walking Dead’ Stuntman’s Death

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia jury has awarded $8.6 million to the family of a stuntman killed during the production of a “Walking Dead” episode in 2017. The Daily Report reports the verdict Thursday comes after a weeklong trial before Gwinnett County State Court Judge Emily Brantley. Jurors began deliberations late Tuesday and handed up the […]

Lara Logan Sues New York Magazine

The former 60 Minutes correspondent is suing the magazine  for $25 million, claiming an article about her retracted report tarnished her career.

STATION ADVISORY

Election Season In High Gear For Broadcasters

While political broadcasting never seems to be totally off the airwaves, the 2020 election season is about to click into high gear, with the window for lowest unit rates to begin on Dec. 20 for advertising sales in connection with the January Iowa caucuses. The beginning of the LUR window in Iowa is but the first of a rapid many political windows that will be opening across the country as the presidential primaries move across the country.

STELAR Successor Bills Pass House

Bills that would end the every-five-year renewal of the satellite compulsory license passed the House Tuesday in a package of funding bills, H.R. 1865, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, which is expected to be passed by the Senate later this week.

Big Shareholder Urges Comcast To Settle

A major shareholder — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer — is pressuring Comcast to back down from its thorny legal battle with comedian-turned-TV producer Byron Allen — something the media mogul says he would welcome.

’60 Minutes’ Producer Sues CBS

Cassandra Vinograd, a London-based associate producer for 60 Minutes, has sued CBS for “unlawful discriminatory conduct” and “unlawful retaliatory conduct” after she attempted to report her boss for misconduct. She says Michael Gavshon sent her an inappropriate photograph and drank excessively.

Commerce Department Telecom Head Is Leaving

Diane Rinaldo, who is acting administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, emailed staff a “fond farewell” on Monday. Doug Kinkoph, Commerce Department acting deputy assistant secretary, will fill in for Rinaldo as acting administrator.

FCC Backs More Flexible MVPD Retrans Notices

The FCC has voted unanimously to propose eliminating the requirement that cable operators provide their subs at least 30 days notice of a TV station channel coming off their systems, changing it to notice “as soon as possible” given that retrans deals are often struck in the 11th hour. It must still collect comment on the proposal and vote on a final order, but that will almost certainly happen.

Two Plead Guilty To Illegal Streaming

Darryl Polo and Luis Villarino pleaded guilty to multiple criminal copyright and money laundering charges while operating iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, illegal television and movie streaming operations.

FTC Weighs Seeking Injunction Against Facebook

Federal officials are considering seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook over antitrust concerns related to how its products interact, according to people familiar with the matter. A majority of the five-member FTC would be needed to seek an injunction, which the commission would need to file suit in federal court to obtain.

Source: Deal Struck On STELAR Successor Bills

A source familiar with the agreement said that there is a bicameral, bipartisan deal on House Energy & Commerce and Judiciary versions of bills that would essentially end the every-five-year STELAR reauthorization cycle, which has been a goal of the National Association of Broadcasters. STELAR’s renewal has been used as a vehicle for proposed retrans reforms NAB has opposed as unnecessary.

Appeals Court Finds Md. Law Imposing Political Disclosure Obligations On Online Platforms To Be Unconstitutional

DOJ Rethinking Big Tech Liability Protection

Attorney General William Barr signaled that the Justice Department plans to step up its scrutiny of Silicon Valley, exploring new legal tools to probe companies for their privacy abuses and the way they police content online.

Disney Loses Early Effort To Stop Suit

Christmas might not feel so merry for the Walt Disney Co. this year after a hearing this morning on the potential class action pay equity lawsuit from 10 female employees of the House of Mouse did not go to a happy place for the Bob Iger-run company.

How Streaming, Diversity, #MeToo Shaped TV

As the decade ends, nothing about TV is the same, whether it’s how much television we consume; how and where we do it; who gets to make it, and the level of respect given the creatively emboldened small screen. We don’t just watch TV, we binge it until we’re bleary-eyed if not sated. We still change channels with a remote control, but more often we’re logging in to watch shows on our phones or other devices and on our schedules, not network-dictated appointment TV.