ACA: No Retrans Blackouts During Disasters

The cable group wants the FCC to add to its list of prohibited “bad faith” retrans negotiation actions a broadcaster’s failure to provide an MVPD with authorization to retransmit its signals, or an MVPD’s refusal to retransmit such signals, during emergency situations.

FCC Issues Reminder On Accessibility

With the recent hurricanes and last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the FCC Public Notice issued last week reminding all video programmers of the importance of making emergency information accessible to all viewers seems very timely. The public notice serves as a good refresher on all of the obligations of video programmers designed to make emergency information available to members of the viewing audience who may have auditory or visual impairments that may make this information harder to receive.

Senate Confirms FCC’s Pai To Second Term

Among those offering congratulations was NAB President Gordon Smith: “Chairman Pai understands broadcasting’s unique role as an indispensable communications medium, and we appreciate his effort to ease outdated regulatory burdens on local radio and TV. We share his vision for a vibrant communications future.”

BRAND CONNECTIONS

FCC Appoints New Chief Technology Officer

Eric Burger succeeds Henning Schulzrinne in advising the chairman and as the senior technology expert in the agency.

CBS Exec Fired After ‘Unacceptable’ Las Vegas Post

Cunningham (Sinclair) Buys Dallas TV

Sinclair’s sidecar partner is paying London Broadcasting $9.5 million for independent KTXD, according to an FCC filing. The deal would give Sinclair a duopoly in Dallas, assuming that its purchase of Tribune also passes FCC muster. Tribune owns CW affil KDAF there.

COMMENTARY BY BOB SCHERMAN

Retrans: ‘Anti-Competitive,’ ‘Regressive’

The Cable Act of 1992 was a mixed bag. Its program access provision gave satellite TV a big boost by giving operators the ability to distribute the most popular cable networks. But the retrans provision have proved to be anticompetitive and “a complete, absolute disaster for consumers.”

RETRANS

Lilly OKs Dish Carriage In Puerto Rico, VI

Lilly Broadcasting’s COO says it has given permission to Dish Network to continue carrying its stations in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, although Lilly stations in Erie, Pa., go dark in a retrans dispute.

 

STATION ADVISORY

October Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

The beginning of a calendar quarter always brings numerous regulatory obligations, and October is one of those months with a particularly full set of obligations. All full-power broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, must complete their Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and place these reports into their public inspection files by Oct. 10. And there’s more.

Pai’s 5-year FCC Renomination Clears Senate

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s confirmation for a new five-year term appears to be all but sealed as the U.S. Senate voted 55 to 41 on Thursday to advance his nomination. His approval comes in the face of criticism by Democrats over his actions related to net neutrality and easing media ownership rules during his short tenure.

Fox’s Sky Deal Faces Another Challenge

Avaaz, an activist group that has opposed 21st Century Fox’s bid for European pay TV giant Sky on Friday filed court papers seeking a judicial review of British media regulator Ofcom’s conclusion that the company would remain a “fit and proper” broadcast license holder if Fox, controlled by the Murdoch family, takes full control of it.

Pai Wants Apple To Activate iPhone FM Chips

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today urged Apple Inc. to activate FM radio chips installed in iPhones that would allow Americans to get access to life-saving information when a natural disaster causes wireless networks to go down. NAB CEO Gordon Smith praised bipartisan backing for activating the chips. “We urge Apple to acknowledge the public safety benefits of local broadcasting on SmartPhones and to light up the FM chip,” he said.

Rosenworcel Criticizes FCC Storm Response

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and other critics say the commission is not doing enough to respond to the crisis in Puerto Rico and the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

NAB Supports Latest GOP Tax Plan

In response to today’s announcement of a proposed tax reform outline, NAB CEO Gordon Smith said: “NAB supports today’s outline and the efforts of leaders in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and Administration to reform and simplify the tax code in a manner that will grow America’s economy. As lawmakers undertake the critical next step of crafting the details of this legislation, America’s broadcasters will continue to make the case that the tax reform goals of simplicity and economic growth will be undermined by any limitation to the full and immediate deductibility of business advertising costs. Advertising is a driving engine of the American economy, supporting millions of jobs and generating hundreds of billions in local economic activity, and this deduction must be fully retained in any successful tax reform effort.”

DMA 5: DALLAS

EEOC Files Age Suit Against CBS, KTVT

KTVT Dallas and its corporate parent, CBS Broadcasting, discriminated against former early morning traffic anchor Tammy Dombeck because of her age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the station.

STATION ADVISORY

Today’s The Day: EAS Test, Form 2 Deadline

Earlier this week, the FCC and FEMA released a final reminder that this year’s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System will occur today, Sept. 27, at 2:20 p.m. ET. The test will be transmitted in both English and Spanish and broadcasters will choose which one to air in their communities. Stations unaffected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria must file a Form 2, the day-of-test reporting form, via the FCC’s Emergency Test Reporting System by 11:59 p.m. ET tonight.

First Amend. Assault You May Not Know Of

During the past several days the feud between President Trump and the NFL regarding many of its players taking a knee during the national anthem has deepened an already divisive debate about the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. What’s not as well known is that there has been a steady increase in efforts in many states to squelch public protests, an effort quite possibly borne out of the protests and rioting that followed the shootings of African-Americans by white police officers and others, which became more frequent three years ago.

FCC Moves To Drop Paper Copy Rule

The proposal is designed to reduce regulatory burdens for broadcast and cable entities.

Reminder: EAS National Test Set for Wed.

Assuming that it is not delayed due to a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC are still scheduled to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System on Sept. 27 at 2:20 p.m. ET.

Nielsen Sues comScore Over PPM Deal

A 2014 agreement between Nielsen and comScore only gave comScore the ability to use Nielsen’s technology measurements for online and TV audiences, as a “cross-platform” service. The deal, according to Nielsen, did not allow comScore to use the data for an individual “standalone” TV service.

Sony Sues Hollywood Reporter Over Hack Coverage

The Man Leading The Legal War Against Fox

View: Google, Facebook Regulation Long Shot

David McCabe says regulating those platforms like utilities is more difficult than it sounds. Among the reasons are such “regulation of online platforms isn’t possible without an act of Congress designating the service as a common carrier — and lawmakers don’t appear interested in going down that path.”

Twitter To Brief Senate Intelligence Committee

New Incentive Auction Window Opens

The incentive auction’s second priority window for all full-power and Class A television stations will open Oct. 3 and close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2. A guide on what applicants should know. 

B’casters Model For Facebook’s Political Ads

There’s growing buzz among Congressional leaders and other groups to require a public disclosure portal for political ads on digital platforms like Facebook, which have looser requirements than TV and radio. “It’s going to be hard to regulate in this area,” said one election law expert. “But it’s clearly the frontier.” WSJ subscribers can read more. 

Group Says FCC Report Misleads On Mobile

The net neutrality group Free Press is criticizing the FCC over “misleading information” in its upcoming report on mobile competition. The group says the report omits historical context about mobile carriers’ network investment. “The easily verifiable truth is that wireless industry investments peaked in 2013, as carriers completed the bulk of 4G LTE deployments,” the group wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. 

FCC Regulatory Fee Deadline Extended

FCC’s Fall Broadcasting, Telecom Deadlines

Fox News Looks To Dismiss Wheeler Lawsuit