Here are some of the important regulatory developments for broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information on how these actions may affect your operations. At its
Here are some of the important regulatory developments for broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information on how these actions may affect your operations.
- At its regular monthly public meeting on September 29, the FCC adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to update the FCC’s technical rules for full-power and Class A television stations. The FCC has determined that a review and update of these rules is necessary due to digital transition, repackaging of incentive auctions, current technology and changes in Commission practices. NPRM is seeking comments on, among other things, whether to eliminate the rules relating to analog operating requirements and similarly eliminate wording from the rules to remove references to digital television or television service digital (because all television services are now digital); whether to remove obsolete rules that are no longer valid given changes to other policies adopted by the Board, such as the removal of references to the comparative hearing process for awarding and renewing broadcast licenses that was eliminated by Congressional and FCC action more than 25 years ago; and whether any further updates to the Board’s rules are required. Comments and responding comments will be due 60 days and 75 days, respectively, after the publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.
- Also at its September 29 public meeting, the FCC adopted a report and order updating its emergency alert system, aimed at making alerts broadcast on television and radio more informative and easier to understood by the public, especially people with disabilities. The updated rules require broadcasters, cable systems and other participants in the emergency alert system to transmit the Internet version of alerts when available, rather than transmitting the legacy version of alerts which often contains less information or lower quality information. The updated rules will also replace technical jargon that accompanies certain alerts, including test messages, with plain language terms so that visual and audio messages are clearer to the public. The new rules will take effect 30 days after the report and order are published in the Federal Register and provide a transition period for EAS participants to implement some of the required technical changes.
- The FCC has announced a virtual event, the “Video Programming Accessibility Forum – Emergency Information,” to be held on October 6, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. The forum will focus on accessibility issues surrounding emergency information in video programming, as well as advancements that may arise in the future. The Forum will include two panels that will feature speakers representing television companies and consumer groups. The Forum agenda is available here.
- The Media Bureau issued a Notice and Order memorandum granting an Iowa television station’s request to determine that a Minneapolis television station was no longer “significantly viewed” on a television market which included counties in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. This order provided a good example of the issues that must be addressed in any petition to change the designation of a station as being considered significant. This designation can be significant because widely viewed stations are not subject to the network’s non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules, meaning that cable systems in a market carrying the widely viewed station could duplicate programming that is also broadcast by a station in the market.
Our Broadcast Law Blog last week released its monthly overview of important regulatory dates for broadcasters coming in October. Also on the blog, we published an article highlighting some of the state regulations that govern political advertising on digital and online platforms and another article looking in more detail at the significant proposed fines imposed the previous week on the channels. for broadcasting a “prohibited program length”. advertisements” in programs intended for children 12 and under.