The Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet has scheduled a next month on the Hawai’i False Missile Alert. Witnesses include officials from the FCC, FEMA, PACCOM, Hawai’i Emergency Management and the Hawai’i Association of Broadcasters. The hearing, scheduled for April 5, at 10 AM HST, will be available on the Senate Commerce Committee’s website, https://www.commerce.senate.gov/
More information is available on the Subcommittee’s website at:
The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice announcing a filing window from April 18 through May 9 for “long-form” applications for new translators that were filed in the January 2018 window for Class A and B AM stations to seek new FM translators to rebroadcast their stations. The Public Notice also sets out the procedures for filing in this window. The window is for the filing of a complete Form 349 applications by applicants who were deemed to be “singletons,” i.e. their applications are not predicted to cause interference to any other translator applicant. The list of singletons is here. The long-form application requires more certifications and technical information than that which was submitted during the initial filing window.
After the long-form application is submitted to the FCC, the application will be published in an FCC public notice of broadcast applications. Interested parties will have 15 days from that publication date to comment or object. If no comments are filed, and no other issues arise, the FCC’s Audio Division is known for its speed in processing translator applications so that grants might be expected for many of the applications within 60 days of the end of the window.
Not specifically addressed is when the FCC will open a settlement window to resolve interference between applications that were not found to be singletons. At some point in the future, the FCC will allow AMs that filed applications for translators that are predicted to cause interference to other translator proposals to reach a settlement or make minor technical changes to resolve their interference issues. Until that window is open, however, mutually exclusive applicants are prohibited from communicating with each other due to the prohibited communications rules that apply during broadcast auctions – which these applications will end up in if their mutual exclusivity is not resolved during the settlement window.
In any event, it appears that a number of AM stations – more than 600 according to today’s announcement — will soon be able to start service with their new FM translator stations. If processing in the last window for Class C and D AM stations is any indication, we should see a number of grants of new translators before summer officially starts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nevada Broadcasters Foundation – News Release
March 14, 2018
GARY AND DEBBIE ACKERMAN MAKE GENEROUS DONATION
TO THE NEVADA BROADCASTERS FOUNDATION’S
TONY AND LINDA BONNICI BROADCASTING SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Las Vegas-2017 marked a memorable year for Tony and Linda Bonnici. Together since high school, the couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and celebrated their 60th birthdays.
Gary and Debbie Ackerman, owners of Gaudin Motor Company have been Tony and Linda Bonnici’s close friends for nearly as long as the newlywed Michiganders settled in Las Vegas in 1977. Wanting to do something to help commemorate the festive year the Bonnici’s were celebrating, Gary and Debbie contemplated many wonderful gift ideas before settling on the one thing that is close and dear to couple’s hearts.
The Ackerman’s inquired about the cost for one student’s tuition for four years. Before you know it, Tony and Linda were presented a check on behalf of their scholarship fund for $60,000, “We wanted to do something extra special in recognition of Tony and Linda’s 60th birthdays” the Ackerman’s explained and that they did. Their generous donation is enough money to pay for three student’s tuition for all four-college years.
The Bonnici’s responded…”Our very dear friends, Debbie & Gary Ackerman, gave a very generous donation to the Broadcasting Scholarship Fund. They are two of the kindest people we know and there are no words big enough to thank them for their thoughtfulness. Here is a quote that reminds us of them and is so appropriate to our mission in helping students.” KINDNESS IN WORDS CREATES CONFIDENCE-KINDNESS IN THINKING CREATES PROFOUNDNESS-KINDNESS IN GIVING CREATES LOVE ~Lao Tzu
“With Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund now into its seventh year of awarding tuition funding, I am proud to boast that to date, we have awarded 113 scholarships to talented and dedicated students of Broadcasting, attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities” says Executive Director Eric Bonnici.
About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation
The mission of the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund is simple: to find passionate broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and make it easier for them to pursue their dreams. To do this, each year the Foundation awards one-year up to full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. What started as an idea by Tony and Linda has become the most exciting, forward-thinking broadcast scholarship in the nation. What makes this scholarship so unique is that it’s truly a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters. We hope you will encourage your children, friends and peers to apply for the “Broadcasters’ Scholarship” this year. Together, with your help we will take this foundation to new heights.
Like Facebook: Tony & Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund @BroadcastingScholarships
Interviews are available upon request.
Courtesy of InsideRadio.com
Radio stations hit by the upcoming repack of television spectrum are one step closer to securing federal dollars to offset their costs related to the process. The House unanimously approved a bill (H.R. 4986) Tuesday that would create the FM Broadcast Station Relocation Fund. The pool of money could be tapped by owners of FMs and FM translators to help stations build back-up facilities or cover lost advertising revenue when forced to go dark while engineers are working on a co-located TV antenna.
Click HERE for full article
For Immediate Release
CHAIRMAN PAI UNVEILS $954 MILLION PLAN TO RESTORE AND EXPAND NETWORKS IN PUERTO RICO AND U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund (Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund) and
Connect USVI Fund Would Improve Connectivity for Resident
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2018—Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today proposed to direct approximately $954 million toward restoring and expanding communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—networks that were damaged and destroyed during the 2017 hurricane season.
Specifically, he proposed to create a $750 million Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund (Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund) and a $204 million Connect USVI Fund. Each of these funds would provide additional short-term assistance for restoring communications networks in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and longer-term support for expanding broadband access throughout the islands.
“The people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still recovering from last year’s devastating storms. That means the FCC’s work is far from over,” said Chairman Pai. “After my previous visit to Puerto Rico, I publicly committed to ‘thinking creatively and doing proactively to help restore networks on the island.’ The plan I’ve proposed today would deliver on that commitment and extend that vision even further. The plan calls for the FCC to devote almost $1 billion in funding both to the short-term, efficient restoration of service and the long-term improvement and expansion of broadband throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With the 2018 hurricane season less than three months away, we need to take bold and decisive action. I hope that my fellow commissioners will join me in supporting the creation of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and Connect USVI Fund.”
The plan includes:
The plan would be funded by providing approximately $256 million in new funds as well as repurposing universal service support currently directed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Chairman Pai will travel to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from March 7-10. He will lead a team to review recovery efforts, evaluate lessons learned from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
The Commission has taken numerous actions to promote public safety and connectivity in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes. In addition to providing public information on network outage conditions and sending staff to monitor and aid recovery efforts, the Commission offered the territories nearly $77 million in advanced universal service funding to help recovery, accelerated the post-incentive auction transition to support Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands broadcasters, granted temporary waivers of Lifeline’s recertification rules, expedited approval of experimental licenses for Alphabet’s Project Loon to provide Internet access to residents, approved targeted and flexible E-Rate support to help restore connectivity of schools and libraries, and granted more than 200 waivers and requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to help re-establish communications in hurricane-affected areas.
Tina Pelkey, (202) 418-0536
Office of Chairman Ajit Pai: (202) 418-2000
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).
Nevada Broadcasters Association President Mitch Fox and Vice President Eric Bonnici accompanied a group of Nevada broadcasters to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of our industry on such issues as the Broadcast Relocation Fund, the Radio Performance Tax, Retransmission Consent and the Microsoft Spectrum Grab. The group met with House Members Dina Titus and Mark Amodei, U.S. Senators Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez Masto and staff from the offices of House Members Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen. Former Congressman Jon Porter provided the group with a special tour of the U.S. Capitol.
The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice announcing a filing window from March 14 to March 28 for “long-form” applications for new translators that were filed in last summer’s window for Class C and D AM stations to seek new FM translators to rebroadcast their stations. The Public Notice also sets the procedures for filing in this window. The window is for the filing of complete Form 349 applications by applicants who were deemed mutually exclusive in a notice released by the Commission last year (see our article here) but who were able to work out a settlement or technical solution to that mutual exclusivity in the window at the end of last year for resolving such conflicts. By resolving those situations of potential interference with other applicants, these applications can now be granted. The list of applicants who are invited to file the long-form application is here (in an Excel format). The long-form application requires more certifications and more specific technical information than that which was submitted during the initial filing window. It also allows for minor amendments to applications as long as they do not create any new conflicts.
After the long-form application is submitted to the FCC, the application will be published in an FCC public notice of broadcast applications. Interested parties will have 15 days from that publication date to comment or object. If no comments are filed, and no other issues arise, the FCC’s Audio Division is known for its speed in processing translator applications so that grants might be expected for many of the applications late within a month or two of the filing deadline.
Coming later this year will be a list of “singletons” (applications not predicted to create interference to any other application) in the second translator window for Class A and B AM stations (see our article here). A settlement window for applicants in that window who are mutually exclusive will also be announced at some later date. For applications in either of these windows who are not able to work out ways to resolve conflicts, there will eventually be an auction between mutually exclusive applicants. But, the majority of the applications on yesterday’s list will soon be new translators, and we are also bound to see hundreds more from the second window. So watch for these FM translators rebroadcasting an AM near you soon.
At its meeting yesterday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggesting the abolition of the EEO Mid-Term Report, FCC Form 397. That form is filed at the mid-point of the renewal term of TV stations with 5 or more full-time employees and radio clusters with 11 or more full-time employees (see our post here about the form). As the content of the report is principally made up of the broadcaster’s last two EEO Public Inspection File Reports, and those reports are available in a broadcasters online public inspection file (which should be in place for virtually all broadcast stations when the final radio stations covert to the online public file next week, see our post here), the FCC concluded that there is no real reason that these reports need to be separately submitted, and thus proposed its elimination.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking did suggest that there were issues on which comments would be appropriate. The one bit of information that would not be readily available without the filing of the Form 397 would be which TV stations have 5 full-time employees and which radio clusters have more than 11 full-timers. That is important as Congress required the mid-term review of the EEO performance of stations meeting these employment thresholds. So the FCC asks how that information should be tracked. It is also noteworthy that the FCC will continue to conduct the EEO mid-term review of stations meeting these employment thresholds even without the filing of the Form 397 reports.
As the FCC says that they will continue to conduct that mid-term review, it is interesting that the FCC also asks in the NPRM what other EEO review should be conducted to assess the EEO performance of stations, seemingly at the insistence of Commissioner Clyburn who feared that the abolition of the Form 397 might send the wrong message about the FCC’s commitment to EEO even if its retention served no useful purpose. Commissioner Clyburn’s comments are available here. Seemingly, as the Commission will continue to do the EEO mid-term review, and continue audits and complaint-based reviews, many methods of assessment are already in place.
Comment dates on this proposal will be set when it is published in the Federal Register. This is one more proposal for procedural reform advanced as part of Chairman Pai’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative. As we wrote earlier this week, we are looking forward to more substantive proposals in the months to come.
Note, for all of you who are trying to complete your Biennial Ownership Reports that are due for commercial and noncommercial stations on March 2 (see our post here about the March 2 filing date), the FCC yesterday posted a notice on the log-in screen for its LMS electronic database, in which the ownership reports are filed, that it will be off-line for maintenance during parts of the upcoming 3-day weekend. As the system has had glitches in recent weeks, that maintenance may be overdue, but if you are running late on completing the Biennial Ownership Reports, this may not be welcome news. Plan accordingly.
As we wrote here, MMTC (a DC-based public interest group) had petitioned the US Court of Appeals for a Rehearing on its decision (about which we wrote here) upholding the FCC decision deciding not to impose any multilingual EAS obligations on broadcasters. The full Court of Appeals has just issued a one sentence order denying that reconsideration request. While, theoretically, MMTC’s next appeal would be to the Supreme Court, lacking an issue of major significance or constitutional importance, that is unlikely.
Thus, as we wrote here, the next step in any attempt to deal with multilingual EAS alerts will be with the FCC, which has agreed to further consider a survey of state EAS coordinators (“SECCs”) to see how best to insure that EAS alerts are distributed widely to the entire population. By May, SECCs are supposed to integrate information about non-English speaking groups within their states into their State EAS plans, and file those revised plans with the FCC. After that has occurred, we will see if the FCC takes further action in this area. So stay tuned, as the issue continues to evolve.