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.

FCC Grants EAS CAP Extension

The FCC on Tuesday extended the CAP deadline for all EAS participants to acquire and install the equipment necessary to use the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard for EAS alerts.from March 29, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2011.

Comcast-Tennis Ch. Dispute Going To FCC

Comcast confirms that its outside mediation with Tennis Channel to try to resolve a carriage complaint has failed and the dispute will now go before an FCC administrative law judge.

FCC Makes Tower Owners’ Lives Easier

Operating a communications tower can always lead to issues, but two recent FCC decisions give tower owners some degree of relief.

WEB 2.0 SUMMIT

FCC Chief: U.S. Faces ‘Innovators’ Dilemma’

Most of the big-ticket speakers at the Web 2.0 Summit this week gave talks that were carefully guarded, offering little deep insight into the tumultuous state of the fast-evolving tech industry out of necessary trade-secrecy. Not FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who wasn’t too subtle about implying that he’s got a lot on his plate and it’s tough to digest.

Comcast Talks With Govt. On NBC Heat Up

Talks have intensified in recent days between U.S. regulators and representatives of cable giant Comcast Corp. over its bid to take control of NBC Universal, according to people familiar with the talks. Comcast is pushing to close the deal by year-end, the sources said.

Genachowski: TV Is ‘Obstacle’ To Broadband

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski tells the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners that the current broadcast spectrum allocations “still reflect the previous era. This presents a real obstacle as we try to ensure a spectrum infrastructure for the new world of mobile broadband.” To get things moving, he said, the FCC will consider at its Nov. 30 meeting launching a proceeding that would lift technical restrictions so broadcast spectrum can be used for broadband, and that would allow channel sharing among broadcasters.

Senator Wants FCC To Block Comcast-NBCU

Virginia’s Bernie Sanders says the new conglomerate would cause “irreparable damage to the American media landscape and ultimately to society as a whole.”

FCC Quizzes Ivi CEO On Comcast-NBCU

The FCC sought out ivi TV CEO Todd Weaver to talk about the Comcast/NBCU merger’s online content access implications, according to a spokesman for the company.

CASH FOR SPECTRUM

Qualcomm CEO: TV Will Give Up Spectrum

Paul Jacobs wonders whether broadcasters will “want to waste the electricity to run the towers” if they can get guaranteed carriage of their content on other platforms.

Carey Blames Govt. For Retrans Blackout

News Corp.’s Chase Carey, the man who oversaw Fox’s talks with Cablevision Systems Corp. during a two- week blackout, has advice for government officials who want to keep more TV channels from going dark: Stop meddling.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Outfoxed, The FCC Changes Its Own Rules

After Bob McAllan found a loophole in the FCC’s rules and sought to move two stations from the Rocky Mountain area to the New York and Philadelphia markets, the commission turned him down and put two new channels up for auction there. He’s asking for a review so he can take the matter to court, but the FCC remains silent, scheduling the auction for February. He deserves his day in court.

FCC Sets Station Auctions For Feb. 15

The commission has now officially slated the auction of two new channels — ch. 4 in Atlantic City, N.J., and ch. 5 in Seaford, Del.) — for Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

Q&A WITH BLAIR LEVIN

The Man With The (National Broadband) Plan

Blair Levin, former executive director of the National Broadband Plan — a report that was presented to Congress last March and was supposed to serve as a blue print for policy makers to bring ubiquitous access for broadband to all Americans — talks about how he thinks things are shaping up for the plan’s implementation.

WEEKLY PRIMETIME RATINGS ROUNDUP

Leno Has Strong Opening Week For NBC

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech at startup incubator 1776 that the FCC planned to promote more choices for high-speed broadband and protect competition, because a lack of adequate consumer choice inhibits innovation, investment and economic benefits. Wheeler’s comments could hold implications for Comcast’s efforts to buy Time Warner Cable, which could adversely affect future competition.