Does the FCC Use the Online Public File to Spot Rule Violations? $20,000 Fine to TV Station for Late-Filed Children’s Television Reports Suggests it Does

By | March 30th, 2016|Legal News|

In a Notice of Apparent Liability released yesterday, the FCC proposed to fine a TV station $20,000 for being late in the filing of 4 years of Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398). While the penalty is consistent with the size of penalties that the FCC has been imposing for similar violations in… Continue Reading

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In Thinking About April Fools’ Day Pranks, Remember the FCC’s Hoax Rule and other Potential Liability

By | March 28th, 2016|Legal News|

With April Fools’ Day only a few days away, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our annual reminder that broadcasters need to be careful with any on-air pranks, jokes or other bits prepared especially for the day.  While a little fun is OK, remember that the FCC does have a… Continue Reading

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Broadcast Creditors Beware – $11,000 Fine Imposed for FCC Reporting Shortcomings in an AM Foreclosure Action

By | March 24th, 2016|Legal News|

The potential perils of foreclosing on a radio station were evident in a Consent Decree released by the FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday, agreeing to an $11,000 penalty to be paid to the FCC U.S. Treasury before a station could be sold by a receiver to help pay off the debts of an AM radio station… Continue Reading

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FCC Fines Public Broadcaster $10,000 for Missing Quarterly Issues Programs Lists – No Leniency Without Showing of Financial Hardship

By | March 8th, 2016|Legal News|

The FCC yesterday released an order fining a public broadcaster $10,000 for failing to prepare and place in its public file 13 consecutive quarterly issues programs lists. The licensee had pleaded that the radio station fine should be reduced given that the public file failure began when it acquired the station from a local college that… Continue Reading

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New Broadcast Contest Rules Becoming Effective – OMB Approval to Be Published In the Federal Register

By | February 11th, 2016|Legal News|

The FCC’s new contest rules for broadcasters, allowing the disclosure of material terms on the Internet rather than reading them on the air, becomes effective upon the publication in the Federal Register of their approval by the Office of Management and Budget. OMB approval has been obtained, and the Federal Register publication is scheduled to… Continue Reading

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FCC Announces that All Quarterly Children’s Television Reports Need to be Filed in New LMS Filing System Starting March 31 – And that Stations Need to Make Sure that these Reports Reach the Online Public File By April 10

By | February 10th, 2016|Legal News|

In a Public Notice released yesterday, the FCC announced that all Form 398 Annual Children’s Television Programming Reports, which report on the amount of educational and informational programming directed to children was broadcast by any TV station in the prior quarter, need to be filed in the FCC’s new Licensing and Management System (LMS). The… Continue Reading

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$540,000 FCC Penalty for Cumulus Station Missing Formal Sponsorship Identification on Issue Ad Campaign

By | January 8th, 2016|Legal News|

The FCC yesterday released, and trumpeted, a Consent Decree reached with Cumulus Radio for a violation at one of its New Hampshire stations where full sponsorship identification announcements were not made on issue ads promoting an electric company’s construction project in New Hampshire.  In the Consent Decree, Cumulus agreed to pay a $540,000 penalty to… Continue Reading

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Buyers of Broadcast Stations Through Stock Transfer Beware – Liability for Fines of Prior Owner Can Still be Imposed After the Transfer

By | December 2nd, 2015|Legal News|

In a recent decision, the FCC made clear that when there is a transfer of control of a station through the sale of the stock of the licensee company, the new owners are not absolved of any FCC violations that may have taken place when the old owners controlled the company. In this case, the… Continue Reading

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The Care and Feeding of the Broadcast Public Inspection File – Requirements and Retention Periods, A Presentation on the Issues

By | October 29th, 2015|Legal News|

The FCC requires each full-power broadcast station, commercial and noncommercial, to maintain a public inspection file.  Even though this is a longstanding FCC requirement, there are always questions about what goes into the file, and how long those materials must be retained.  The week before last, I conducted a webinar for about 20 state broadcast… Continue Reading

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