Biden FCC Would Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Joe Biden has signaled that if he becomes President, his FCC will restore the net neutrality rules and FCC oversight authority the Republican FCC jettisoned in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, as well as working to undo state laws blocking municipal broadband and invest even more in those projects.

FCC Rejects 2nd Petition To Stay C-Band Order

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has denied the second petition to delay the C-band spectrum repack and auction mandated in the 3.7 GHz Report and Order.

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.

FCC To Continue To Telework At Least Until Aug. 27 When Move To New Office Is Complete

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.

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of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which overturned well-reasoned efforts by the FCC to modernize outdated media ownership rules last fall.”

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.

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.

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.

O’Rielly Has Issues With DOJ’s Media View

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly told the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday that there continues to be a disconnect between the Department of Justice’s approach to antitrust and the realities of the competitive video marketplace.

FCC Diversity Committee: Yes, There Is Systemic Racism

One Media: DTS Boosts Broadcast Localism

One Media, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, said the FCC should adopt the “modest” modifications to its plan for deployment of the ATSC 3.0 advanced broadcast transmission standard, but should also look to be a little less modest, including recognizing the value of distributed transmission to localism. That came in comments on the FCC’s recent rulemaking.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Priority 2021: Minority Tax Certificate Redux

Minority ownership of broadcast companies is languishing at around 8.5%. A revival of the minority tax certificate, which was killed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 1995, would be a small, but important, step toward redressing an enormous imbalance in mass communication.

O’Rielly Voices Doubt About Trump Order

Republican FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly said he’s unsure whether his agency has the authority to carry out President Trump’s executive order targeting tech firms’ legal protections.

Rule Changes For Ch. 6 Interference Protections Effective July 13

Pai: Court Has Impeded FCC Diversity Efforts

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he has been trying to focus on diversity for the last couple of years,but has been hampered by the courts. Pai was asked during his post public meeting press conference on June 9 about the link between media ownership and the wider conversation in the country about racial justice, whether the FCC was doing enough to promote media diversity and what more it could do.

GOP Senators Urge FCC Crackdown On Social

Digital rights groups and the ad industry view President Trump’s recent order regarding social media as a threat to the First Amendment. But four Republican senators said Tuesday the order marks an “important step” to addressing “censorship” by social media companies.

FCC Provides Push To Internet Broadcasting

Today, the FCC voted unanimously to help promote broadcasting as a new ancillary/competitive broadband service by making it clear that legacy broadcast TV attribution and ownership regulations do not apply to broadcast-delivered internet services like over-the-top video and data made possible by the ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmission standard.

Understanding the Minority Tax Certificate And Its Potential For Promoting Diversity In Broadcast Ownership

NAB Wants New Rules For Broadcast Internet

The National Association of Broadcasters this week recommended to the FCC that it adopt new ownership rules that would encourage broadcasters to offer “Broadcast Internet” services via ATSC 3.0 (aka NextGen TV).

FCC Sets LPTV-Translator Settlement Window

NAB To FCC: Beware White Spaces Monster

Broadcasters are telling the FCC it should confine its white spaces item to the narrow changes agreed to by the National Association of Broadcasters and Microsoft and not range into other, murkier areas where Loch Ness monsters and Sasquatches lurk to muck up the compromise. That came in reply comments to the regulator’s proposal to make those changes. Other commenters wanted it to make some more adjustments.

FCC’s Carr: Trump’s Ally In Fight Against Tech

He rails against the “far left’s” hoaxes. He says the World Health Organization has been “beclowned” over its response to the coronavirus. And he describes a “secret and partisan surveillance machine” run by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. Those aren’t President Donald Trump’s words. They came from Brendan Carr, the junior Republican on the FCC, who is embracing a flavor of distinctly Trumpian rhetoric that could help him leapfrog his way to the chairmanship of the five-member regulatory agency.

FCC’s Starks: Policymakers Must Be More Inclusive

FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks has weighed in on the current protests in response to the death of George Floyd in policy custody, signaling that increasing media diversity is one of the necessary responses to systemic racial inequality.

Trump’s Push To Regulate Social Media Faces Uphill Battle At FCC

STATION ADVISORY

June 2020 Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

June is a busy month with important obligations for many stations. June brings the start of summer and the start of the license renewal cycle for television stations. Also, the FCC will hold its Open Meeting on June 9 and there is one item in particular that will interest TV stations that have adopted or plan to adopt the ATSC 3.0 standard. And there’s more.

UPDATED, FRIDAY MORNING

Trump Wants FCC To Join Twitter Crackdown

The president today signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media. It comprises several directives, including one calling on the FCC to establish rules that would limit how far social media can go in tagging and censoring user content before risking the immunity they now have from libel and other civil actions arising from user content. Above, the president holds up a copy of the New York Post before signing the order.

STATION ADVISORY

PSAs With Political Candidates Raise Issues

In recent weeks, with so many government officials looking to get messages out about the coronavirus pandemic, questions arise about what to do when political candidates appear on public service-type announcements — either free PSAs provided by the station or paid spots purchased by some governmental entity.  While such announcements can be run by stations, if a legally qualified candidate personally appears in the spot (their recognizable voice in a radio ad or their voice or picture in a TV ad), stations need to note the advertising purchase in their FCC Online Public Inspection File, as these spots constitute a “use” by a candidate, and they can also give rise to equal opportunities by opposing candidates.

Affils Join Call For SCOTUS To Consider Dereg

“The FCC’s anachronistic ownership rules place local broadcasters at a decided disadvantage against other competitors in the complex, fast-evolving, highly competitive video marketplace,” the Big 4 affiliate groups told the Supreme Court.

FCC Sets Video Description Comment Dates

In April, the FCC proposed to expand the video description requirements to network-affiliated stations in television markets 61 through 100 starting Jan. 1, 2021, followed by an additional 10 TV markets each year for the next four years.  This proposal was just published in the Federal Register, setting a deadline for the filing of comments of June 22, 2020, with reply comments due by July 6.

FCC’s Dems Slam Sinclair Consent Decree

Democratic FCC Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel condemn the $48 million settlement, saying the agency’s Republican majority ignored the FCC’s own rules and bent the facts to assist Sinclair “with sweeping its past digressions under the rug.”

ACA Connects Defends FCC’s Net Neutrality Order