STATION ADVISORY

FCC Renewal Certification Requires Attention

The Office of Management and Budget is currently considering whether to approve a revised version of FCC Form 303-S, the “Application For Renewal of Broadcast Station License” that all commercial and noncommercial full-power radio and television stations will be required to use when they file for their next renewal of license. The FCC has made several modifications to the prior version of the form.

FCC Wants Neutrality Challenges Dismissed

The FCC struck back Monday at Verizon and MetroPCS’  challenge to its new net neutrality guidelines. In several motions filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the FCC asked the court to dismiss both companies’ complaints.

COMMENTARY BY HAROLD FURCHTGOTT-ROTH

FCC Confuses Expropriation With Incentives

the former FCC commissioner says that “incentive auctions are little different from expropriation of property, far worse than the usual government condemnation of property under eminent domain.” He goes on to say “There is a better way: Simply rezone broadcast spectrum to permit other uses, and let anyone buy and sell it.”

Battle Brewing Over Ch. 6 and FM LPTVs

A controversy has bubbled up in connection with the FCC proceeding to set the date by which Low Power Television stations will be required to convert to digital operations. In comments filed in the proceeding to set the end date, the question of when to terminate analog broadcasting became tangled in another issue — whether ch. 6 LPTV stations should be allowed to continue to be be used to broadcast FM programming.

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

Broadcasters Resist Plan To Cede Airwaves

Many broadcasters are already worried about declining viewers, and now they say the government wants to take away something more: the airwaves themselves.

COMCAST-NBCU MERGER

FCC Imposes New Obligations On NBC O&Os

The FCC’s approval of Comcast’s $13.75 billion takeover of NBCU requires the O&Os to air “thousands of additional hours of local news and information programming.” In addition, the agency said, some of the stations must enter into cooperative arrangements with locally focused nonprofit news organizations and they must provide free, on-demand local programming. According to an FCC source, NBC and Telemundo stations must also air a fourth hour of children’s programming each week.

STATION REMINDER

Renew Now To Avoid Children’s TV Fines

No, the FCC has not instituted an early-filing program so licensees can get that pesky license renewal out of the way. Instead, in 2010 it cleaned up television license renewal applications that had been hanging around since the last renewal cycle, issuing nearly $350,000.00 in children’s television fines to some 20 licensees. So, here is an update on a kidvid requirement that stations often overlook, but which the FCC does not.

RETRANS WARS

FCC To Study Retransmission Fees

The commission is preparing to revisit the rules that govern the retransmission of local television stations by cable and satellite companies. The industry will be looking for the first signs of a reform plan when the FCC releases its February meeting agenda on Tuesday.

Eight In Running For TVs In N.J., Del.

Eight applicants have met the initial criteria to bid for two full-power TV station licenses. The FCC on Thursday released the status of short-form applications in the upcoming auction of VHF licenses for Atlantic City, N.J., and Seaford, Del. Neither state had a full-power VHF licensee after the June 2009 DTV transition. Federal law requires each state to have at least one.

Neutrality Provisions Key To Comcast-NBCU

Federal regulators aren’t expected to decide this week on whether to approve a merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, as they weigh placing conditions on Internet access, as well as other requirements, according to sources familiar with the reviews.

Slew Of Last-Minute Comcast-NBCU Lobbying

With the FCC and the Justice Department gearing up to give their blessing to Comcast Corp.’s proposed deal to take control of General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, a flurry of last-minute lobbying is being done by both those in favor and those against the marriage of the two media giants.

David Hunt Named FCC Inspector General

The commission makes permanent the position he’s held on acting basis since last June.

CES 2011

Genachowski Takes Spectrum Push To CES

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will tell Consumer Electronics Show attendees that broadcasters who are not making “effective use of the capabilities of their spectrum” should have it put to a “higher use for other purposes.”

Comcast-NBCU Vote Not On FCC Agenda

The Comcast-NBC Universal transaction was not on the agenda for the next FCC open meeting, leaving insiders to speculate whether the FCC will vote on the joint venture before Jan. 25.

FCC Media Bureau Cracks The EEO Whip

The Media Bureau celebrated the end of 2010 (or maybe the arrival of 2011) by serving warning that, for every single job opening — no exceptions — broadcasters must notify multiple recruitment sources that are likely to refer applicants from diverse backgrounds. Exclusive reliance on over-the-air announcements and Internet postings will not do the trick.

Important 2011 Dates For TV, Radio Stations

FCC Press Secretary Jen Howard Leaving

ANALYSIS

A Legal Look Ahead To Next Year

2011 will be a busy year for broadcasters with retrans, renewals and indecency, as well as for cable and satellite operators as well.

FCC Asked To Delay Comcast-NBCU Vote

The public interest groups say the FCC record is not complete without Comcast programming contracts; the MSO maintains it complied with info requests.

FCC, CBS Continue Battle Over ‘Nipplegate’

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing its earlier decision on the FCC’s$550,000 fine of CBS for Janet Jackson’s partially exposed breast on the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

FCC Poised To Adopt Net Neutrality Rules

The rules, expected to be approved today, would prohibit phone and cable companies from abusing their control over broadband connections to discriminate against rival content or services, such as Internet phone calls or online video, or play favorites with Web traffic.

Much To Come From FCC As Year Ends

America’s beloved television is getting an extreme Internet makeover, and questions over what shows viewers will see online and how much they pay for them could soon be resolved by the FCC. In coming weeks, the commission is expected to decide on Internet access regulation and a proposed merger by Comcast and NBC Universal that could chart a new course for the future of TV.

DMA 42

KTUD-LP Wants To Shut Down Analog Transmitter

Comcast-NBCU Decision Urged By Year’s End

Incoming House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton counseled the FCC to not delay a decision on the Comcast-NBCU merger, saying it could create more uncertainty for businesses “looking to invest, innovate and create jobs.”

Web Video Key To Comcast-NBCU Review

Regulators are pushing for tough conditions to ensure that Comcast can’t stifle online video services by withholding content or pushing up prices for marquee NBC programs at a time viewers are starting to turn to the Internet for recent movies or the latest episodes of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and other popular TV shows.

Copps: FCC Shouldn’t Reinstate Fairness

“I do not believe the FCC should reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.” That was the message Friday from FCC Commissioner Michael Copps to Rep. Joe Barton.  Barton had asked Copps to clarify that point after the commissioner’s speech at Columbia University where he talked about the government applying a more stringent public interest test on broadcasters.

Retrans Watchers Focused On FCC Report

Genachowski Pokes Fun At Himself

Last night, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski poked fun at his reputation, fair or not, for indecision; for his lawyerly evasion of questions; his aborted attempt at Title II reclassification; and other criticisms leveled by both industry and the public interest community. But he had plenty of deprecation left over for everybody else, including NCTA’s Kyle McSlarrow, Verizon, Free Press and even his predecessors in the FCC’s big chair.

FCC To Hear Tennis Complaint Against Comcast

FCC To Issue Rulemaking On Retrans

FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake announced today that the FCC plans to issue a proposed rulemaking on retransmission consent to provide “some limited guidance” on what good faith bargaining entails

White Space Rules Go Into Effect Jan. 5, 2011

The rules governing the use of unlicensed devices in TV white spaces will officially go into effect Jan. 5, 2011. The rules, adopted by the FCC in September, have been published in the Federal Register, the final step of codification.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Time For FCC To Divulge TV Repacking Plan

While the FCC hopes to take back some of TV’s valuable space by tempting broadcasters to voluntarily put it up for auction, it’s also threatening to get some by repacking the band. But what’s most galling is that it still hasn’t released its repacking models that spell out exactly what it wants to do. They’ve been “forthcoming” since March.

FCC Fine Offers Clarity On Studio Staffing Rule

Copps Wants New License Renewal Standard

FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps says TV and radio stations should be required to air more public interest programming as a condition of license renewal.

FCC Seeks Input On Spectrum Auction Advantages

Genachowski Circulates Net Neutrality Item

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski late Tuesday night circulated a network neutrality item to the other commissioners for a planned vote at a Dec. 21 meeting, according to a source close to one of those commissioners. That was confirmed by an agenda notice issued by the FCC shortly after midnight.

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

NAB Wary Of TV ‘Degradation’ From FCC Plan

NAB President Gordon Smith says that while it doesn’t object to “truly voluntary” incentive auctions for TV spectrum, he vows to fight any “government-mandated signal strength degradations or limitations, and new spectrum taxes that threaten the future of free and local broadcasting.”

FCC Mulls Broadcast Airwaves For Wireless

The FCC today will vote on proposals to free up more airwaves for commercial wireless use in a meeting that could be overshadowed if plans to act on contentious Internet traffic rules are circulated. For more on the impact on television stations, click here.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON WASHINGTON

FCC Begins Plan To Take Back TV Spectrum

Next Tuesday, Nov. 30, the FCC will launch its rulemaking aimed at freeing up broadcast spectrum through repacking of the band and channel sharing. It will look for ways to improve the VHF band, suggesting that the FCC intends to drive more stations into the band as part of the repacking scheme.

FCC Rules Tip Retrans Leverage To Satellite

Satellite TV providers can shop around for TV station signals. The FCC has codified the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, eliminating a requirement for carriage of in-market TV stations.