Dingell Questions FCC About ATSC 3.0 Impact

Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell asks FCC’s Pai about what types of information would be collected from consumers to implement targeted advertisements under the new standard, and how the data would be handled and protected to ensure consumers’ privacy.

Senate Dems Want Ownership Vote Delayed

Thirteen members of Congress ask FCC’s Pai to allow public comments on its plan to loosen station ownership rules.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Pai Delivering Big For Broadcast On Nov. 16

Broadcasters have been expecting good things from new FCC chief Ajit Pai. And he didn’t disappoint with the agenda for next month’s FCC meeting. There was good news on two fronts. First was the plan to relax the local ownership rules. Then came word that the FCC will greenlight ATSC 3.0.

FCC To Vote On ATSC 3.0 On Nov. 16

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai this afternoon confirmed that the agency will vote Nov. 16 on a proposal that would clear the way for broadcasters to use next-generation ATSC 3.0 technology. Details about the proposed regulations are not expected to be released until later this evening. But in a blog on the FCC’s website this afternoon (see here), Pai said the issue for the agency is whether to “allow television broadcasters to use Next Gen TV on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The bottom line is this: I want America to be at the forefront of innovation in the broadcast sector, the wireless sector, and every other sector of the communications industry.”

Pai Once Again Declines To Reproach Trump

Under questioning by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone at a House hearing, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would not be drawn into criticizing the president for suggesting that the FCC ought to revoke the licenses of media companies for news stories Trump felt were untrue. However, Pai did say that he would not use the power of the FCC for retribution against any media company because of its reporting.

Pai Invites TV Duopolies Into Every Market

In House testimony Wednesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his dereg plan that would allow  broadcasters to own two TV stations, possibly two network affiliates, in any market regardless of size, and operate still more stations in the same market through JSAs and SSAs. The current restrictions are outdated, he says. They presume that the market is still defined by “pulp and rabbit ears.” A full draft of his proposal is due out Thursday.

Rosenworcel: FCC In Cahoots With Sinclair?

Speaking at Wednesday’s oversight hearing before the House Communications Subcommittee, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says she’s suspicious of recent FCC actions that seem designed to benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group. “I think it is something that merits investigation.” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said he would be looking into FCC’s evasiveness on Sinclair and other matters.

Dems To Grill Pai Over Trump’s NBC Tweets

Democrats will get the chance to grill the chairman of the FCC over President Trump’s tweets attacking media outlets during a hearing Wednesday. The House Commerce subcommittee on technology will hold its first FCC oversight hearing since the agency added two commissioners over the summer. And a new controversy involving the president will take center stage.

JEASELL AT LARGE

Rosenworcel, Clyburn Need To Thump Trump

I can almost understand Republican Chairman Ajit Pai’s muted response to Trump’s tweeted threats against NBC’s TV station licenses, but not those of Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn. If what they’ve said so far reflects their passion for protecting media from Trump at the FCC, the networks and their licensed stations may be in a little trouble. 

Pai: FCC Can’t Pull Licenses Over Content

The top U.S. communications regulator on Tuesday declined to criticize President Donald Trump’s attacks on broadcasters. In his first public appearance since Trump tweeted that Comcast’s NBC and other broadcasters should lose their licenses for reporting “fake news,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai instead noted that his agency could not do what the president wanted.

FCC Weighs Revamping Ownership Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has told an opponent of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s proposed purchase of Tribune Media that the agency may review media ownership rules before ruling on the $3.9 billion deal, something that could delay a decision on the merger.

Pai’s Bind: Defend Trump Or Free Speech

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is facing increasing pressure to distance himself from President Donald Trump’s threats against NBC — a course of action that would risk provoking the president’s Twitter-fueled wrath.

Reps Want Pai To Stick To Repack Deadline

A group of House members says the commission needs to not grant extensions to the 39-month timeline of the spectrum repack.

Senate Confirms FCC’s Pai To Second Term

Among those offering congratulations was NAB President Gordon Smith: “Chairman Pai understands broadcasting’s unique role as an indispensable communications medium, and we appreciate his effort to ease outdated regulatory burdens on local radio and TV. We share his vision for a vibrant communications future.”

Pai’s 5-year FCC Renomination Clears Senate

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s confirmation for a new five-year term appears to be all but sealed as the U.S. Senate voted 55 to 41 on Thursday to advance his nomination. His approval comes in the face of criticism by Democrats over his actions related to net neutrality and easing media ownership rules during his short tenure.

Pai Wants Apple To Activate iPhone FM Chips

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today urged Apple Inc. to activate FM radio chips installed in iPhones that would allow Americans to get access to life-saving information when a natural disaster causes wireless networks to go down. NAB CEO Gordon Smith praised bipartisan backing for activating the chips. “We urge Apple to acknowledge the public safety benefits of local broadcasting on SmartPhones and to light up the FM chip,” he said.

Pai Names Diversity, Digital Committee

The group’s first meeting is scheduled to take place on Sept. 25 at FCC headquarters.

STATION ADVISORY

Pai Promises To Repeal A Rule A Month

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spoke on Wednesday at the opening lunch at the NAB Radio Show in Austin, Texas, promising more moves to bring media regulation in line with the realities of the modern media marketplace. In his speech, the text of which is available here, the chairman promised several actions.

FCC’s Pai To Visit Texas Next Tuesday

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will be in Texas on Tuesday, Sept. 5, to inspect the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and meet with those engaged in recovery efforts. “Working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, the FCC will do everything it can to help restore communications services after this terrible storm,” said Pai.  “I look forward to meeting those on the ground in Texas and seeing firsthand what needs to be done to make sure that those affected can get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”  

How Sinclair Is Ridding Itself Of Regulation

The Sinclair Broadcast Group and Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, see eye-to-eye on the need to unleash television. Both are reaping big rewards.

How Trump’s FCC Aided Sinclair’s Expansion

Sinclair Broadcast Group is expanding its conservative-leaning television empire into nearly three-quarters of American households — but its aggressive takeover of the airwaves wouldn’t have been possible without help from President Donald Trump’s chief at the FCC.Use of a regulatory loophole will allow Sinclair to reach 72% of U.S. households after buying Tribune’s stations.

Senate Confirms Two FCC Nominees

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Brendan Carr for seats on the FCC but did not yet reconfirm GOP Chairman Ajit Pai to another term.

Senate Panel Approves FCC Nominees

During a hearing on Wednesday, members of the Senate Commerce Committee voted to approve the confirmations of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Brendan Carr as FCC commissioners. Current Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s reconfirmation to the FCC was also approved by lawmakers. The trio’s confirmations will proceed to a Senate-wide vote

Senate Dems Take Aim at GOP FCC Noms

Democratic senators didn’t hold back during Wednesday morning’s FCC nomination hearing before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, taking aim at Republican nominee Brendan Carr and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who is seeking reappointment. The same treatment didn’t extend to Democratic nominee Jessica Rosenworcel, who awaits confirmation for her second term as an FCC commissioner.

Pai: Trump Hasn’t Intervened On TW Merger

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told lawmakers on Wednesday that President Trump has not tried to influence his agency’s consideration of the AT&T-Time Warner merger. In his reconfirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Pai was repeatedly grilled about Trump’s attitude toward the press and whether it has affected the FCC.

Big Tech Heard On Save-Net-Neutrality Day

But it was all online. Mostly through blogs and social media, major internet-based companies like Facebook and Twitter took part Wednesday in a “Day of Action,” joining others in urging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai not to kill the Obama-era rules, which require internet providers to treat all web content the same.

Tina Pelkey Named Pai’s Press Secretary

Pelkey is a well traveled PR woman, who worked most recently for the Black Rock Group. Prior to that, she was with Weber Shandwick and the DCI Group. The Lenexa, Kan., native was also the press secretary for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.).

JESSELL AT LARGE

Safe Is The Word For Trump’s FCC, Thankfully

The newly constituted FCC is conservative and deregulatory, but in a way you would expect had any of the establishment Republicans won the White House last November. When Trump won, I worried that he would stack the FCC with nut-job loyalists so that he could follow through with his threats against the media. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

FCC Vote Kicks Off Internet Regulation Battle

Undoing the net neutrality rules may be the biggest fight yet triggered by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The tech industry, which sees net neutrality as necessary to innovation, is already pushing back by lobbying politicians, sending letters of protest to the agency and starting to rally supporters.

Pai: FCC To Review Colbert Joke Complaints

Ajit Pai said in a radio interview that his agency would determine if a joke told by the CBS latenight host warranted further action.

Senate Dems Urge FCC To Keep Net Neutrality

Sens. Brian Schatz and Cory Booker are urging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai not to go forward with his plan to repeal his agency’s net neutrality rules. The two Democrats wrote in a letter to Pai that taking away net neutrality would lead to an uproar like the one that followed the GOP-led dismantling of internet privacy rules last month.

Appeals Court Won’t Reconsider Net Neutrality

The decision means the rules favored by consumer groups but despised by telecom companies will remain in place for now. But the Trump administration has already signaled that it intends to scrap the Obama-era policy.

JESSELL AT LARGE

The Gleanings Of My NAB Week In Las Vegas

From speeches, sessions, cocktail parties and bars, I gained some insight that I can share with you on Chairman Pai’s deregulatory initiative, the repack’s reimbursement fund and deadline, an ATSC 3.0 fissure and the network-affiliate OTT agreements.

Pai Lays Out Attack On Net Neutrality Rules

The new FCC Chairman in a speech today said that he wants to ditch the legal basis for the net neutrality rules that regulated internet service as a utility, like phone service. He also wants to eliminate the FCC’s broad powers to monitor Verizon, AT&T and Comcast for bad behavior. He is seeking input on how to change rules barring broadband providers from blocking and slowing down websites and from charging internet companies for a “fast lane” to customers.

Internet Firms Prep For Net Neutrality Fight

Broadband companies hate the net neutrality rules, and they have an ally in new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has repeatedly called the regulations a mistake. Pai could launch the process of unwinding the rules as early as today, according to reports.

NAB 2017

Pai Moves To Overhaul, ‘Modernize’ FCC Regs

NAB Show attendees liked what they heard from the new FCC chairman today, the introduction next month of an overarching review of the commission’s broadcasting, cable and satellite rules. “Broadcasting remains an indispensable part of America’s communications landscape. And under my chairmanship, broadcasting won’t be seen as a speed bump. We’ll want to hear which rules you think should be modified or repealed as part of this review, and why.”

Pai Set To Describe Net Neutrality Plans

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai intends to launch his reworking of the Obama-era net neutrality rules, according to sources familiar with the plan, setting up a showdown on an issue that has long pitted tech companies against internet providers. In a speech in Washington on Wednesday, Pai plans to discuss his vision for net neutrality — keeping open internet principles but getting rid of the utility-style regulatory framework approved by the agency’s previous Democratic majority.

Q&A

Smith On Broadcasters’ Agenda In Trump Era

Ahead of the NAB Show, which begins Saturday, the organization’s President-CEO Gordon Smith discusses working with new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the next steps following the spectrum auction.

Pai Pitches Net Neutrality Reform In Calif.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai met with executives at Facebook, Cisco, Oracle, Intel and other major tech companies this week as the federal agency considers rolling back controversial net neutrality rules. He said he was looking for ideas how the FCC could change the more restrictive aspects of its net neutrality rules, while preserving parts of the regulation that ensure the internet remains open.

Ion’s Burgess Lauds Pai For Ownership Relief

Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess commended FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for restoring the UHF discount in calculating compliance with the 39% national ownership cap — a move that will allow Ion to be sold in toto even though its coverage (64.8%) far exceeds the nominal cap. “This action allows small entrepreneurial and consumer-oriented companies like Ion Media to continue to succeed in a consolidating media world,” he said in an open letter.