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In collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Frank Montero and Dan Kirkpatrick presented a webinar covering guidelines for broadcasters on how to handle controversial advertising and proper sponsorship identification. Frank and Dan discussed many aspects of Federal and state regulation pertaining to advertising on potentially problematic subjects, including marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. They also discussed station-sponsored contests, hitting on topics such as what constitutes a lottery. Rounding out the webinar, they took…
On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) three Republican Commissioners were in a self-congratulatory mood for standing with consumers against unwanted robotexts by classifying text messaging as a Title I service, but did the Commission’s classification decision really mark a major TCPA victory for consumers? Probably not. As Sekoia Rogers detailed on CommLawBlog, the FCC’s decision clarifies the regulatory classification of SMS and MMS messages under Title I of the…
On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that finds Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services” under the Communications Act and that these services are not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services”.  As a result, SMS/MMS won’t be subjected to the regulatory burdens that apply to telecommunications and commercial mobile services and, according to the FCC, consumers will be able to continue…
On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released a proposed Report and Order which would eliminate the requirement that certain broadcast television and radio stations file a Broadcast Mid-Term EEO Report (Form 397). The Commission released the proposed Report and Order for adoption at its public meeting scheduled for January 30, notifying the public of how it would potentially conclude the proceeding begun in March 2018.…
Wondering how the federal government shutdown affects your broadcast station’s regulatory compliance obligations? Because some of the FCC’s online systems are up and running while others are not, it can be confusing as to what is still required of broadcasters. We have sorted through the confusion to help you understand what should still be prepared and/or filed, looking ahead through the beginning of February. Aside from filings related to the post-Incentive Auction TV Transition (a/k/a…
At its December open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took a significant step toward facilitating the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless advanced services. For those still wondering what exactly 5G is, we have written about the highly touted mobile broadband technology several times, including here and here. The FCC has already cleared some important regulatory hurdles necessary for 5G deployment, but the spectrum scarcity issue remains. Many wireless carriers capitalized on…
On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) commencing the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules.  The FCC is required under Section 202(h) of the Communications Act to review most of its broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether the rules continue to be in the public interest (and to repeal any rules that no longer serve the public…
On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted an order that creates a reassigned number database to help callers avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) violations that can occur when telephone numbers get reassigned to new users. We covered some of the details in a previous CommLawBlog post when the FCC pre-released its order in draft form. Now that the final version of the order has been adopted, there’s one major change…
Two years into Ajit Pai’s chairmanship, a central theme at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) is deregulation. Sometimes framed in terms of “modernizing media rules,” the topic is at the forefront of just about every proceeding.  This was true for one of the most recent decisions at the Commission, as a Report and Order was adopted on December 10, 2018 which will eliminate the need to post and maintain broadcast licenses at a…
We usually publish our “Webcaster Wake Up Call!” post each January.  This post reminds webcasting services of their compliance obligations for the upcoming year under the statutory licenses found in Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act (the “statutory licenses”) allowing them to publicly perform sound recordings via digital audio transmission.  Part of the reason we usually wait until January is because the first of those obligations, the filing of an Annual Minimum Fee…