Starks, Carr Confirmed To New FCC Terms

The Senate has confirmed the re-nominations of Democrat Geoffrey Starks and Republican Brendan Carr for new terms on the FCC, insuring there won’t be any more FCC nomination drama, at least in the near term following last week’s swearing in of Democrat Anna Gomez. The pair were confirmed by voice vote late Saturday (Sept. 30).

FCC Ordered By Court To Finish its Long-Delayed Review Of Broadcast Ownership Rules

The FCC has 90 days to finish its review of the rules governing how many broadcast stations a company can own, a federal court said in a ruling on Friday (Sept. 29). The agency is required to review the laws every four years to see if they continue to serve the public interest. It kicked off the review in 2019, but a series of legal entanglements delayed the actual start of the process. After further stalling this year, the National Association of Broadcasters filed a petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in April to get the process moving.

FCC Chair To Propose Open Internet Rules

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday she is moving forward with a proposal for sweeping broadband regulations that would restore the Obama-era open internet rules. The potential rules will include a key provision that would reclassify broadband as a utility service, regulated under Title II of the Communications Act. That reclassification is a necessary first step toward imposing common carrier requirements.

Anna Gomez Officially Joins The FCC

Anna Gomez has been sworn in as the newest commissioner of the FCC. The Democrat gives Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel the majority she needs to start tackling nonbipartisan issues like potential media regulation and network neutrality rules.

FCC Announces New Chief Economist And Winners Of 2023 Excellence In Economics, Engineering Awards

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today announced the appointment of Dr. Johannes M. Bauer as the agency’s chief economist. The FCC also announced the winners of the agency’s Excellence in Economic Analysis […]

NAB: What A Fully Seated FCC Means For Broadcasters

“A fully seated FCC must pursue more ambitious and necessary reforms,” the group wrote. “Specifically, there are three areas where action is necessary to enable vital local news and information our communities need.”

FCC Chair Rosenworcel Issues Statement On Gomez Confirmation

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate confirmation of Anna Gomez to serve a five-year term as an FCC commissioner: “Congratulations to Anna […]

NAB Issues Statement On Gomez Senate Confirmation To FCC

“Her wealth of experience in telecommunications policymaking will help the FCC address the critical issues facing radio and television broadcasters,” reads part of the statement from NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt.

Senate Confirms Anna Gomez As FCC Commissioner

Her confirmation gives Democrats a 3-2 lead.

Senate Moves Toward Confirmation Of Gomez

The Senate on Thursday moved toward confirming a third Democratic commissioner to the FCC, giving the party a working majority on the commission almost three years into President Joe Biden’s presidential term. Anna Gomez (pictured), a telecommunications attorney, was nominated by Biden last May. The Senate voted 55-43 to cut off debate and proceed to a final vote on her nomination, which will take place later on Thursday.

TVN FOCUS ON BUSINESS

Broadcast Coalitions Lock Horns Over vMVPD Issue With Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars At Stake

Dueling coalitions — the affiliate-led Coalition for Local News and O&O-led Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition — have raised the temperature on a long-simmering argument over who should be able to negotiate retransmission rights with vMVPDs. The growing size of the vMVPD revenue pot in an awful year for spot TV may have a lot to do with the timing.

FEMA, FCC To Test Nationwide Alert On Cellular Devices, TVs, Radios

While Americans are getting increasingly used to emergency alerts from local police and fire officials, on October 4 at 2:20 p.m. ET they’ll receive something a little different. “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” the alert should read. It will be sent to all consumer cell phones in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

NEWS ANALYSIS

My Insanely Long Field Guide To The WTXF Renewal Challenge

Harold Feld: “While getting the FCC to hold a hearing — let alone deny Fox29’s application for renewal — is certainly a long shot given how the FCC works, this is not a frivolous claim. To the contrary, it raises some very interesting questions from an FCC law perspective. So it is worth actually walking through the process here and what questions the FCC would need to resolve either to dismiss the petition to deny or to designate for a hearing. Because ultimately, unless the FCC finds a procedural deficiency, the FCC is going to have to actually write up a real and binding decision with real consequences and real precedential value.

FCC Sets Sept. 20 Payment Deadline For Reduced Radio & TV Regulatory Fees

The FCC released its annual pblic notice setting the deadline for paying annual regulatory fees.  Payments can be made via the FCC’s Commission Registration System (CORES) through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 20. In addition to marking this deadline on their calendars, broadcasters should note with some satisfaction that despite the FCC’s overall budget increasing by more than $8 million, regulatory fees for broadcasters decreased by between 5% and 8%.

Fox Cites Endorsement Letters In Philadelphia License Defense

Fox Corp. is pointing to support from a handful of legislators as it pushes back on an effort to challenge its qualifications to hold TV station licenses. In a filing with the FCC, Fox sent four letters from U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), as well as Camden, New Jersey Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen and Pennsylvania State Rep. Anthony Bellmon (D-Philadelphia), all praising the public service of WTXF, Fox’s Philadelphia O&O whose license has been challenged.

Nationwide EAS Test Scheduled For Wednesday, Oct. 4

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC announced that a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System will take place on Oct. 4 at 2:20 p.m. ET. EAS participants, with limited exceptions, should have already filed their ETRS Form 1 providing the FCC with information about their stations’ EAS equipment. Any EAS participant that must update their ETRS Form 1 to ensure its accuracy must do so on or before Sept. 15.

FCC Invites Comment On Request To Deny Fox TV License Renewal

Regulators invited public comment on whether the U.S. broadcast license for Fox Corp.’s TV station in Philadelphia should be renewed after a grassroots organization asked that it be denied, saying Fox knowingly broadcast false news about the 2020 election.

DirecTV Presses FCC Again To Investigate Nexstar’s Management Role With White Knight And Mission

The start of the NFL regular season is just 16 days away, but DirecTV and Nexstar appear no closer to resolving a blackout involving more than 200 network affiliates and a huge chunk of the pay TV operator’s estimated remaining 12.4 million pay TV homes. On Monday, DirecTV lawyer Michael Nilsson sent a letter to the FCC, further pressing the satellite TV company’s complaint that Nexstar’s management services agreement with Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting is inappropriate and against the rules.

Ex-Fox Broadcasting President Jamie Kellner Slams Fox At FCC

The challenge to Fox’s WTXF Philadelphia license is drawing a crowd, including founding president of Fox Broadcasting Jamie Kellner. Already this week Alfred Sikes, the Republican FCC chairman whose commission helped pave the way for the creation of a fourth network, registered his support for holding a hearing on Fox’s qualifications to be an FCC licensee. Now Kellner, along with former Democratic FCC Commissioner Ervin Duggan and ex-Fox News Channel commentator Bill Kristol, former editor of The Weekly Standard, have joined the chorus of Fox critics.

Anna Gomez Nomination On Track To Create Democratic FCC Majority

It has been more than one month since the Senate Commerce Committee favorably reported the nomination of Anna Gomez to fill the fifth, and vacant, seat on the FCC, but the Senate has teed up the nomination for a vote likely in September, said one observer who will welcome the Democratic majority.

FCC Urged To Steer Clear Of TV Streaming Services

Two House Republicans are urging the FCC to resist the urge to apply “1990s-era laws and regulations” to virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs). They argue, in part, that those Internet-delivered pay-TV services bring critical competition to the pay-TV sector and that Congress, not the FCC, has the authority to alter those rules, anyway. That warning arrived in an Aug. 9 letter to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel from House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Communications Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

FCC Launches Technical Inquiry Into Using AI And Other Tools To Manage Spectrum

Following a recent workshop on the potential impact of AI on the communications sector, The FCC has voted to launch a Notice of Inquiry into non-federal spectrum usage and explore how new data sources, methods and technologies like AI would allow the agency to better manage increasingly congested commercial spectrum. This NOI will explore how new tools can promote effective spectrum management and identify new opportunities for innovation, the FCC said.

Fox To FCC: License Challenge Threatens First Amendment

Fox is invoking the First Amendment in its opposition to a challenge to its character qualifications to hold an FCC broadcast license. The Media and Democracy Project (MAD), citing Fox’s settlement of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit over election misinformation, last month challenged the renewal of Fox’s WTFX Philadelphia, and by extension Fox’s character qualifications for holding any TV station licenses at all. According to a copy of its opposition to that challenge, filed with the FCC Wednesday (Aug. 2), Fox says MAD has failed to make a case that Fox’s license renewal should be denied and is treading dangerous ground.

Cable TV Group Opposes ‘All-In’ Pricing Proposal At FCC, Citing High Bills

Customers could be “troubled” to learn the actual price of their cable TV service if the FCC adopts a proposal that would require companies to disclose the flat price of service, ACA Connect says.

COMMENTARY BY ROSA MENDOZA

A New Roadblock For Diverse Creators And Audiences

Why regulating streaming services like traditional pay TV providers would stifle inclusion efforts.

More Media Veterans Urge FCC Hearing Into Fitness Of Fox And Murdochs As Licensees

Ervin Duggan and William Kristol join effort challenging renewal application of Fox O&O WTXF Philadelphia.

COMMENTARY

The FCC’s Nonexistent Role In Internet Streaming

Regulating streamers like old-school cable providers would ignore market realities and Congressional prerogatives, says former commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

Talking TV: Coalition For Local News Raises Its Hand For A Rule Change

Tanya Vea, president-COO of Bonneville International and a spokesperson for the new Coalition for Local News, explains why the group is drawing a direct line between the need for new FCC rules on dealing with vMVPDs and maintaining healthy local TV newsrooms. A full transcript of the conversation is included.

Counter-Coalition Formed To Fight Local Broadcasters Over Distribution Rules

Several of the country’s biggest entertainment and streaming companies are teaming up to fight hundreds of local broadcasters over a years-old provision that would determine whether they are forced to negotiate directly with those local stations for distribution deals.  The Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition, which launched Wednesday, is made up of major entertainment companies and their broadcast networks, including Disney/ABC, Paramount/CBS, Fox Corp./Fox, NBCUniversal/NBC/Telemundo, Warner Bros. Discovery, Univision and Roku.

Fubo Challenges Reclassification Of Streaming Services Under MVPD Term

Executives with sports-centric streaming service Fubo met with officials at the FCC last week to express concern over a proposal to reclassify streaming cable TV replacements in a way that would require them to fundamentally change certain aspects of their business. Specifically, the proposal concerns whether to group virtual MVPD streaming services like Fubo as multichannel video programming distributors, or MVPDs, in the same ilk as traditional cable and satellite TV services like Comcast’s Xfinity, Charter’s Spectrum, Dish and DirecTV.

 

Supporters Push For Anna Gomez’s FCC Confirmation Before Senate’s August Break

This week could prove to be a pivotal one for the FCC as efforts to bring to a vote the nomination of Anna Gomez hit overdrive. Supporters hope to have the Democrat confirmed before the Senate breaks for its month-long August recess at week-end. The decision will be up to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who is also under pressure to get the 2024 military spending bill completed before lawmakers leave town.

RAISING THE BARR

Dump Old FCC Rules On Negotiating With Streamers, Or Watch Local News Suffer

The newly formed Coalition for Local News wants to convince the FCC that broadcasters must negotiate directly with vMVPDs to ensure their long-term fiscal viability. They’re smartly drawing a direct line between local TV news and democracy’s health to make their case.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Is That Smart TV Secure? Look For This New Government Seal

Baby monitors, thermostats and smart TVs are security and privacy nightmares. The U.S. Cyber Trust Mark promises to help you ID the good ones — if the industry doesn’t water down the standards.

FCC OKs Test Of Low-Power 5G Broadcasts

The FCC has granted low-power WWOO-LD Westmoreland, N.H., special temporary authority to test 5G broadcasts. LPTV stations are looking to leapfrog the ATSC 3.0 standard’s data offload potential with what is being billed as “5G broadcasting.” “Anybody who has been frustrated in a crowded football stadium trying to watch the game on a phone can understand the value of sending out on-demand streams and data via broadcast,” Preston Padden, long-time industry executive and chief strategic officer of the LPTV Broadcasters Association, has said of the effort to turn LPTVs into turnkey 5G players.

JESSELL AT LARGE

The Murdochs Are Awful. But Don’t Punish Fox O&Os For It.

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch undermined trust in American democracy with their reckless propagation of Trump’s Big Lie, but Fox’s O&Os shouldn’t be in the FCC’s crosshairs to pay for it, as a watchdog group would have it.

COMMENTARY

FCC Report Shows NextGen TV Is Broadcast’s Gold Standard

Armstrong Williams: “The FCC should recognize that broadcasters make significant capital investments when adopting new technologies and prioritize promoting broadcast innovations with the goal of both improving service to the public and the competitive viability of free-to-the-home broadcasting.”

COMMENTARY

Fox, Law Vs. Power

If the long-established law behind the FCC character clause has any validity, it must be enforced against Fox Broadcasting where internal documents from the cable news side of the corporation shows that profit comes before truth or the national interest. Based solely on the facts and the law, Fox does not deserve a license to own a broadcast station.

FCC Action Seen Unlikely On Padden-Backed Petition Against Fox Renewal

A petition from the Media and Democracy Project (MAD) and former Fox executive Preston Padden asking the FCC to hold a hearing over and block a Fox-owned TV station’s license renewal isn’t likely to lead to agency action and would raise First Amendment concerns if it did, according to communications attorneys.

Senate Commerce Committee Schedules Vote On FCC Nominees

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a vote next week on the nomination of Anna Gomez (left) for the open seat on the FCC, as well as the renominations of Democrat Geoffrey Starks (center) and Republican Brendan Carr (right) for their respective seats. The nomination markup will be July 12 at 10 a.m. If all goes well, the committee will favorably report the nominations to the full Senate for a vote, something that never happened for Gomez’s predecessor, Gigi Sohn, whose nomination was withdrawn after it was killed by Republicans, industry players and at least one Democrat who failed to support her.

JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC Nixes Another Deal With Deafening Silence

Fargo, N.D.-based Forum Communications has learned the hard way just how much this FCC hates broadcast deals of any size.