FCC Ends ‘Eligible Entities’ Applications

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

NAB: FCC Broadband Plan Would Kill Stations

A new analysis of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan by the National Association of Broadcasters finds that a minimum of 210 full-power TV stations could go dark and that 40% of all TV stations in U.S. could either leave the business or be assigned a new channel. It also says stations in the top 10 markets could be severely impacted, with “Northern Border” stations in Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland and Seattle threatened. NAB calls on the FCC to immediately make public its analyses of the plan’s potential negative impact on viewers of free and local television.

ACA Asks FCC To Clarify EAS Rules

The cable trade group wants an extension of the EAS CAP reception deadline while the commission prepares definitive guidance for cable operators.

Critics: FCC Not Policing Kids’ TV

TV watchdog groups say the FCC needs to better target kids’ programs that have too many commercials, and they want the commission and Congress to strengthen oversight of the Children’s Television Act.

Laila Ali To Co-Host New ABC Tweens Series

Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammed Ali and a former professional boxer, will co-host Everyday Health, one of the six half-hour shows that Litton Entertainment will be supplying ABC this fall to meet the FCC educational children’s programming requirement of the ABC O&Os and affiliates, Litton announced this morning. The block of programming is aimed […]

STATION ADVISORY

New CALM Act Standard Coming

Ten days after initial comments on the proposed standard are filed, turns out there’s a different standard in the works at ATSC.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Sets End Date For Analog Ch. 51+ LPTVs

If you have an LPTV station operating on a channel higher than 51, you have until Sept. 1 to file an application to change to digital operation on ch. 51 or below. Failure to file an application by that deadline means the station’s authority to operate will terminate on Dec. 31, which is the deadline announced last Friday by the FCC for ending all LPTV operations on chs. 52-69.

FCC Launches National EAS Test Info Page

In support of the first national test of the Emergency Alert System on Nov. 9, the FCC has launched a helpful “Emergency Alert System Nationwide Test” information page.

JESSELL AT LARGE

TVB Pushing To Move Fed Ad $$ To Local TV

The TV trade group was the source of the FCC’s recent recommendation that the federal government divert its advertising dollars from the national media to local media. And TVB didn’t stop there. Now it’s hard after the government money. For starters, it’s trying to get a better accounting of exactly how much money there is and where exactly it is coming from. Then it’s off to Washington. TVB has to convince the bureaucrats not only of the efficacy of local media, but of the relative merits of local TV. Good job.

NCTA To FCC: Drop Connected TV Standard

The FCC has been working on plans to create AllVid, a new CableCARD replacement standard for the delivery of IP video services and applications to Internet-connected television sets. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, however, wants the FCC to back off.

DMA 15

FCC Confirms $4,000 Fine For ID-Less VNR

The FCC has issued a Forfeiture Order, confirming a $4,000 fine levied against KMSP Minneapolis for airing a video news release (VNR) without sponsorship identification.

Comcast May Be Fined In Tennis Ch. Dispute

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is recommending that cable giant Comcast Corp. be sanctioned for unfairly using its market muscle to squeeze the small independent Tennis Channel.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Broadcasters Need To Mount Duopoly Drive

With the Appeals Court bouncing the ownership regulation ball back into the FCC’s court, there’s an opportunity for change to the TV duopoly rule. The commission’s own recent  report says that diversity of owners may not be all it’s cracked up to be anymore in the wake of the Internet. Exactly, and it can’t continue to block local media combinations on the assumption that all or most will lead to fatter owners and shuttered newsrooms. They can lead just as readily to more and better news. So get busy: Schedule some ex parte visits with the commissioners and their staffs. It’s time to pay attention.

Court Rejects Relaxed Crossownership Rule

In remanding the relaxed 2008 version of the 35-year-old broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rule to the FCC for another look, the U.S. Appeals Court said the agency’s decision to allow common ownership in large markets had “failed to meet the notice and comment requirements” in reviewing the rule as required by law. The court also affirmed the TV duopoly rule and other local owneship limits.

STATION ADVISORY

Broadcasters: It’s Quarterly Filing Time Again

July 10 is a significant filing deadline for radio and television stations. Here’s a brief summary of the quarterly deadlines, as well as links to more detailed descriptions of the requirements.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON WASHINGTON

Just How Voluntary Is Senate Spectrum Bill?

The Senate bill authorizing FCC TV spectrum auctions is raising red flags after an amendment was added that makes it unclear that such auctions be entirely voluntary for broadcasters. Another is that the FCC is not required to protect sufficiently those broadcasters that choose to hang on to their spectrum from increased interference and loss of service area.

DMAS 71 & 179

Nexstar Buy Of Liberty Stations Gets FCC OK

In granting Nexstar’s purchase of WFRV Green Bay, Wis., and WJMN Escanba, Mich., from Liberty Media, the FCC also extended a waiver of “main studio” rule for WJMN.

Supreme Court Takes FCC Indecency Case

The justices said today they will review appeals court rulings that threw out the FCC’s rules against the isolated use of expletives as well as fines against broadcasters who showed a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 episode of ABC’s NYPD Blue.

Latta Introduces FCC Cost Analysis Bill

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) last week introduced the FCC Analysis of Benefits and Costs or “ABCs” Act. The bill would require the FCC to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of proposed rules and final rules.

FCC Nomination Fight Stirs Intrigue

The behind-the-scenes parlor game to fill Democratic and Republican vacancies on the FCC is just beginning to heat up. It’s the beginning of a process that could lead to political tension in the Senate — not only over the nominees themselves but over the policy direction of an agency that hasrepeatedly found itself in cross hairs over controversial issues, such as net neutrality.

Dems Object To Bill To Reform The FCC

House Democrats today are lashing out against a draft of a Republican bill that would reform the process at the FCC, arguing that the legislation would do more harm than good. Democrats are particularly concerned that a provision of the bill would change the standard the FCC uses in reviewing potential mergers.

PTC Asks FCC For V-Chip Reform

The watchdog group cites three recent studies to support its claims of flaws in the TV content ratings system and asks that the commission “begin a proceeding on new tools for parents.”

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

Dingell Wants Spectrum Answers From FCC

Rep. John Dingell is skeptical of the FCC’s plan to auction off up to 120 MHz of the TV spectrum to wireless broadband providers and he has asked the commission for answers to a series of questions by June 27.

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

Broadcasting Staying Strong In Mobile World

The FCC is trying to entice the broadcasters to surrender some of their spectrum voluntarily, by promising to give them a portion of the subsequent auction proceeds. But to do that, the FCC first needs an OK from Congress. NAB President (and former U.S. senator) Gordon Smith has helped broadcasters successfully tamp down any thought of requiring TV stations to give back their spectrum licenses. Broadcasters are shoring up support for their position and making doubly sure any spectrum legislation contains language that will protect their interests.

Genachowski Makes Staff Appointments

The FCC chairman names Zachary Katz as chief counsel; Sherrese Smith as senior counsel and legal adviser; and Amy Levine as special counsel and legal adviser

STATION ADVISORY

Bought A Station? Update Tower Registration

Among the many things broadcasters need to remember when they buy a  station is making sure that the tower registration (Antenna Structure Registration or ASR) is transferred along with the rest of the station assets. Unlike most filings done at closing, the issue is not one of establishing the rights or title to any tower assets. Instead, the registration is to let the FCC know who is responsible for that tower in the event the FCC needs to get in touch with the owner to deal with tower lighting or fencing issues or similar matters.

FCC To Crack Down On Dark Stations

The chief of the Media Bureau’s Video Services Division says the commission will cut back on giving extensions to licensees whose stations aren’t on the air.

FCC Makes Some Progress On Ownership

With all the focus on broadband at the FCC, it’s easy to forget that the regulator’s quadrennial review of its media ownership rules, originally scheduled for 2010, is overdue. Some progress was made Wednesday, though, as the FCC released five of the nine studies it ordered as part of the review of the current rules.

Bloomberg Challenges Comcast’s Ch. Lineup

Bloomberg LP, unhappy with the placement of its financial news channel in Comcast Corp’s cable television lineup, filed a complaint with the FCC on Monday, accusing the cable operator of violating a condition of its merger with NBC Universal.

FCC Upheld On Cable Access To Sports

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday upheld communications regulators’ decision to bar cable operators from blocking access to some sports programming. The FCC closed a loophole last year that allowed cable companies to deny access to channels delivered via terrestrial ground lines and not satellite feeds.

NCTA: Carriage, Access, Rate Regs Should Go

The cable group’s supplementary filing reguarding the FCC’s video competition report says that 1992 Cable Act regulations are no longer necessary.

First National EAS Test Slotted for November

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC will conduct the first national test of the country’s Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. ET. The duration may be up to three-and-a-half minutes.

FCC Chairman Has Big Legal Job To Fill

After the FCC announced Tuesday that Rick Kaplan will assume the position of chief in the Wireless Bureau, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski must decide who will succeed Kaplan as his top lawyer. Speculation is already heating up about who could be the new chief counsel in the chairman’s office. Here are some top contenders.

FCC Backs Away From Aiding Media

On Thursday, the FCC will release its long-awaited report on the “Future of Media,” but according to people who have seen the voluminous document, it holds little more than minor suggestions for rule changes, such as requiring broadcasters to put more information online. The report will also suggest that the Internal Revenue Service consider helping struggling media companies get an easier path to becoming non-profits.

FCC Names New Chief Economist

Georgetown University economics professor Marius Schwartz will succeed Jonathan Baker beginning June 1.

FCC Hires New Chief Information Officer

Robert Naylor, former CIO at USDA, is tapped to “modernize the agency’s data and IT holdings and keep this agency moving towards the cloud.”

LEGAL MEMO BY MICHAEL D. BERG

EEO: Six Key Tips For Staying Out Of Trouble

With the FCC stepping up enforcement of equal employment opportunity regulations, here’s a list of things stations should know to avoid heartache and FCC sanctions for noncompliance.

FCC Sets Comment Dates For CALM Rulemaking

Ellis: TV Chips Should Be Required In Phones

Veteran Broadcaster Bert Ellis says the FCC should make putting TV tuner chips in handsets the price of entry for wireless companies in an incentive spectrum auction, and for approval of the combo of major wireless players AT&T and T-Mobile. Ellis, currently president of Titan Broadcasting, says he may well sell some of the spectrum from some of his stations under the right conditions.

Upton, Walden Ask FCC To Kill Fairness

The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday asking him to strike the Fairness Doctrine from the agency’s rulebook. The controversial rule, introduced in 1949, required broadcasters to present controversial public issues in a manner deemed fair and balanced by the FCC. The commission concluded in 1987 that the Fairness Doctrine was unconstitutional and pledged to cease enforcing it.