Promoting and Advocating for the Broadcasters of Nevada, While Serving the Public

Nevada Broadcasters Association

In the News Archive

Earlier this week, the full FCC issued a decision denying a Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC’s 2017 decision to relax the rules on the permissible locations of FM translators for AM stations, allowing them to locate anywhere within the greater of the AM station’s 2 mv/m contour or a circle with a 25 mile radius from the AM station’s transmitter site. The rule had previously required that translators be located within the lesser of those two limiting factors. See our summary of that decision here. As we wrote here and here, Prometheus Radio Project, an LPFM advocacy group, had petitioned for reconsideration of that rule change and asked for a stay of its effect, arguing that the change would impact the area in which LPFM stations could locate their stations if a need to change transmitter sites arose. Prometheus also raised procedural objections about the way in which the order was adopted. In this week’s decision, the FCC rejected the Petition for Reconsideration, finding that it was properly adopted, and that Prometheus had not demonstrated that the change in the area in which translators could be located would have a significant impact on LPFM site availability. The Commission came to the same conclusion that we did in our articles on the Prometheus petition, that the change in the area to locate did not necessarily have an impact on LPFM site availability – as translators could just as well move further from LPFM sites as they could move closer.

This decision was one that addressed pleadings filed back in 2017. Several broadcast trade press articles suggested that this decision was one resolving an Informal Objection filed last week by Prometheus and other LPFM advocacy groups against almost a thousand pending translator applications – both applications filed in the latest FM translator window for AM stations and other minor change applications filed by existing translator operators. While that Informal Objection raised many of the same arguments that had been raised in the 2017 Petition for Reconsideration (and in fact cited to the pendency of that Petition as one of the reasons to deny the pending translator applications), it is a different pleading that has not yet been resolved by the FCC. As the issues are similar, one would expect a similar result – but broadcasters who received the Informal Objection should not start celebrating yet. This week’s decision was certainly good news – but it has not resolved all the issues raised by the LPFM advocates.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nevada Broadcasters Association – News Release
May 14, 2018

NEVADA BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION TO HONOR DON LOGAN AT THE 23RD ANNUAL HALL OF FAME GALA.

(Las Vegas, Nevada) The Nevada Broadcasters Association (NVBA) announced today that Las Vegas 51s President and COO Don Logan will receive the Community Achievement Award during the Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, August 18, at 7pm at The Four Seasons Las Vegas.  

Don Logan began his career with the franchise as an account executive in 1984. A native of Tonopah, Nevada, he quickly moved his way up the front office ladder and advanced to the position of ticket manager in 1985, and then was promoted to assistant general manager in 1986. He held that position for the next four seasons, before being named general manager in 1991. He then was named President of the 51s on Jan. 3, 2000, in addition to his responsibilities as general manager. During his tenure, he has earned the respect as not only one of the most influential sports executives in Las Vegas, but in all of professional baseball.

“Giving back to the community is key” says Logan in a recent conversation with the NVBA staff.  Logan’s busy schedule has him involved in many community projects. He is on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, an organization committed to the support and enhancement of Southern Nevada youth through active participation in programs promoting leadership, values and character through sports. He also serves on the M.D.A. Board of Directors, A.L.S. Advisory Board, Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, Executive Board of the PGA’s Frys.com Open and is a member of the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas Executive committee.

The Nevada Broadcasters Association and Foundation will also honor Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and Hank Thornley, Las Vegas’ first television News Director and Anchorman with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, 37 Nevada broadcasters will also be inducted into the 2018 Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Each inductee has served in broadcasting a minimum of 20 years, with 5 of those years in Nevada.

This year marks the 23nd Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at The Four Seasons Las Vegas starting at 5:30 pm. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions goes directly to support the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities.  One hundred thirteen (113) scholarships have been awarded over the past seven (7) years to talented and dedicated students of broadcasting in Nevada. 

To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.                                                                    

About Nevada Broadcasters Association

The mission of the NVBA is to promote and advocate for the Broadcasters of Nevada while serving the public. We help improve and preserve, on a national and statewide basis, an economic, legal and regulatory environment that best enhances the ability of each Station to be financially strong, to remain free from governmental control of programming, and to excel in the public service roles that each Station plays in Nevada.

About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nevada Broadcasters Foundation (NVBF) and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Scholarship Fund finds the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Foundation awards full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. This scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters.

For more information about NVBA and NVBF, please call 702-794-4994, or visit http://nevadabroadcasters.org. 

Media Contacts: NVBA Office: 702-794-4994

Mitch Fox  Mitch@NevadaBroadcasters.org       
Eric Bonnici 
Eric@NevadaBroadcasters.org  

At yesterday’s FCC open meeting, the Commission commenced two proceedings of interest to broadcasters. The first deals with the processing of complaints of interference caused by new FM translators. The second proposes to eliminate the need for the posting of station licenses and other FCC authorizations at the control points of broadcast stations. Comments dates in each proceeding will be computed from the publication of these orders in the Federal Register, which will occur at some point in the future.

In each case, the FCC essentially adopted without significant revision the draft notices that were released several weeks ago. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (available here) on translator interference standards sets out proposals for the minimum number of listeners who would have to complain before an interference complaint would be processed, and suggests limiting complaints of interference to those that arise within the 54 dbu contour of the primary station complaining about the interference. We wrote in more detail about the FCC’s proposals in our summary of the draft notice, here.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on eliminating the posting of FCC authorizations (available here) suggests that posting the FCC authorizations at a station’s control point serves no real public interest purpose, as members of the public are unlikely to have access to that location, and as all the information in those authorizations are available on the FCC’s website. The FCC also proposed to eliminate the requirement that FM translators post information about the licensee of the translator at the transmitter site for the station. Our article about this proposal when the draft was released of this action being taken as part of the FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative is available here.

Comments on each proposal will be due 30 days after that proposal is published in the Federal Register. Reply comments on the translator interference proposals will be due 60 days after Federal Register publication. Only 15 days will be provided for reply comments on the posting of licenses – making those comments due 45 days after Federal Register publication.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nevada Broadcasters Association – News Release

May 8, 2018

NEVADA BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION TO HONOR ROSSI RALENKOTTER AT THE 23RD ANNUAL HALL OF FAME GALA.

 (Las Vegas, Nevada) Nevada Broadcasters Association President Mitch Fox announced today that Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter will be honored during the Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, August 18, at 7pm at The Four Seasons Las Vegas for his distinguished and unprecedented 45 year career with the LVCVA.  

 Under Ralenkotter’s leadership, the LVCVA launched the most successful branding campaign in tourism history, which is best known for its oft-repeated tagline, “What happens here, stays here.™” The LVCVA owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With Ralenkotter’s oversight, Las Vegas remains the world’s trade show capital, hosting 60 of the largest 250 trade shows. 

 In addition to his responsibilities at the LVCVA, Ralenkotter is a technical advisory committee member of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. He is a member of the board of directors for Brand USA and a past Chair of the Board of Directors and current board member for the U.S. Travel Association. Ralenkotter recently completed his term as Chair of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce and remains on the Board. He is also a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the American Society of Association Executives and the Hotel Sales Marketing Association.

 The Nevada Broadcasters Association and Foundation will also honor Hank Thornley, Las Vegas’ first television News Director and Anchorman with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 38 Nevada broadcasters will also be inducted into the 2018 Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Each inductee has served in broadcasting a minimum of 20 years, with 5 of those years in Nevada.

 This year marks the 23nd Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at The Four Seasons Las Vegas. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions benefits the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities.

To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.

About Nevada Broadcasters Association

The mission of the NVBA is to promote and advocate for the Broadcasters of Nevada while serving the public. We help improve and preserve, on a national and statewide basis, an economic, legal and regulatory environment that best enhances the ability of each Station to be financially strong, to remain free from governmental control of programming, and to excel in the public service roles that each Station plays in Nevada.  The NVBA offers a robust Public Education Partnership program providing government agencies and non-profits, the ultimate in public outreach and awareness. We seek to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials along with other community leaders about important broadcasting issues, concerns and challenges, in an effort to create increasingly strong and healthy communities.

About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nevada Broadcasters Foundation (NVBF) and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Scholarship Fund finds the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Foundation awards full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. This scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters.

For more information about NVBA and NVBF, please call 702-794-4994, or visit http://nevadabroadcasters.org.

 Media Contacts:

Mitch Fox  Mitch@NevadaBroadcasters.org      
Eric Bonnici
Eric@NevadaBroadcasters.org  

Starting June 1, 2019, just over a year from now, the next broadcast license renewal cycle will begin. By that date, radio stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia must file their renewal applications. Every other month for the next 3 years will bring the filing of radio license renewals in another set of states. And television stations will begin their renewal cycle a year later (June 1, 2020). The FCC’s schedule for radio license renewals can be found here and here. For TV stations, the schedule of renewal filings by state is in the same – just one year later than for radio. Every eight years, broadcast stations have to seek the renewal of their licenses by the FCC by demonstrating their continuing qualifications to be a licensee, including showing that they have not had a history of FCC violations and that they have otherwise served the public interest.

We have already written several times about how, with all broadcasters – both radio and TV – now required to have an online public file, it is important for stations to make sure that those files are complete and are kept up to date on a regular basis (see our articles here, here and here). Given that the contents of the online public file can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, just by launching an Internet browser, we would expect more complaints about incomplete files, and more scrutiny by the FCC of the contents of files that rarely were subject to FCC review in the past. FCC staffers can review public file compliance from their offices or homes, and do not have to rely on the rare field inspection to discover a violation. Thus, stations should be reviewing the contents of their files now to be sure that they are ready for the scrutiny that they will receive in the upcoming renewal cycle. But that is not the only issue about which stations need to be concerned, as illustrated by a decision released by the FCC yesterday, deciding to hold an evidentiary hearing as to whether the license renewal of a broadcast station that had been silent much of the last license renewal term should be granted.

In the Hearing Designation Order released yesterday, the FCC went through the history of a Wyoming radio station that had operated for only days during its last license term, and since then had each year operated for only a few days each year to avoid forfeiting its license under Section 312(g) of the Communications Act (which says that the license of a station that is off the air for more than a year is forfeited unless the FCC finds that the public interest calls for an exception – see our articles here and here). Only since last August, well past the end of the license renewal term under review, did the station come back on the air on a full-time basis. The FCC asks the station’s licensee to produce all records of how it served the public interest during the renewal term (including all logs and records of EAS tests) and otherwise provide evidence as to why its renewal should be granted.

We wrote here about the FCC launching a similar hearing proceeding for another station last year, and about a number of other cases where the FCC has imposed short-term renewals or other penalties on stations that had a history of long periods of silence during the license term (see our articles here and here). While the FCC’s dividing line between stations that get a short-term renewal and those that get designated for hearing and possible loss of license is not entirely clear, yesterday’s decision reinforces the warning to broadcasters who currently have silent stations that they need to get those stations operational as soon as possible so as to be able to demonstrate a record of public service during the current license term so as to justify a renewal when their applications are filed during this upcoming renewal cycle.

The renewal cycle starts next year. The time for getting into compliance is now, as last minute fixes may not solve all problems – and that last minute may already be upon or be imminent for many stations.

The FCC yesterday issued a Declaratory Ruling approving the acquisition by a company owned by two Mexican citizens of 100% of the ownership interest of a company that owns two radio stations in California and Arizona. Currently, the company owned by the Mexican citizens had only a 25% interest in the parent company of the licensee which, until a few years ago, would have been the limit imposed on foreign ownership of a US broadcast station. But, several years ago, as we wrote here, the FCC decided to permit, on a case by case basis, greater foreign ownership of US broadcast station owners. The FCC has also issued guidance on how public US companies can track their foreign ownership. See our articles here and here. Through yesterday’s decision approving the 100% ownership of the radio company, together with a case last year approving 100% ownership of broadcast stations in Alaska and Texas by Australian citizens (see our summary here), the Commission has demonstrated that it is serious about, in the right circumstances, approving foreign ownership of US broadcast stations.

Foreign ownership does not come without limits, however. Any foreign owner seeking to acquire a substantial stake in a US broadcast station must be reviewed by various Executive Branch agencies to insure that there are no perceived security risks raised by the proposed acquisition. The FCC has to do its own review as well. And, once approved, the foreign owner must report on any changes in its ownership so that new interest holders can go through the same approval process. Nevertheless, this series of decisions make clear that the FCC is open to non-US investors acquiring broadcast properties. It may take longer to sell a station than when a property is acquired by a US buyer, and certain foreign buyers may not be allowed if security issues come up, but otherwise the market is open to many new buyers of broadcast stations.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nevada Broadcasters Association – News Release

April 30, 2018

Contact: 702-794-4994

NEVADA BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION TO HONOR BROADCAST VETERAN HANK THORNLEY AT THE 23RD ANNUAL HALL OF FAME GALA.

(Las Vegas, Nevada) The Nevada Broadcasters Association will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to broadcast veteran Hank Thornley during the Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, August 18, at 7pm at The Four Seasons Las Vegas.  

Thornley turns 101 this year and is credited for creating the first television news operation in Las Vegas as news director and anchorman at KLAS-TV Channel 8. 

In 1962 Thornley was lured to Las Vegas and its premier TV station, KLAS TV, which at the time didn’t have a news department.  Thornley built a news operation from scratch, one employee and piece of equipment at a time. As the first anchorman and news director in Las Vegas, Thornley had a ringside seat to the explosive growth of the city. His fledgling news operation covered politicians including powerful Sheriff Ralph Lamb, President John Kennedy, assorted dignitaries and stars and even The Beatles. Under Thornley, Channel 8 became the pre-eminent news operation in the city.

In addition, the Nevada Broadcasters Association and Foundation (NVBA and NVBF) are pleased to announce that 35 Nevada broadcasters have been selected, to be inducted into the 2018 Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Each inductee has served in broadcasting a minimum of 20 years, with 5 of those years in Nevada.

This year marks the 23nd Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Gala and will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at The Four Seasons Las Vegas. All money raised at the Hall of Fame Silent and Live Auctions goes directly to support the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation’s Tony and Linda Bonnici Broadcasting Scholarship Fund which provides tuition scholarships to students attending Nevada’s Colleges and Universities.  One hundred thirteen (113) scholarships have been awarded over the past seven (7) years to talented and dedicated students of broadcasting in Nevada. 

To purchase a sponsorship, reserve a table or place an ad in the program, please call (702) 794-4994.

About Nevada Broadcasters Association

The mission of the NVBA is to promote and advocate for the Broadcasters of Nevada while serving the public. We help improve and preserve, on a national and statewide basis, an economic, legal and regulatory environment that best enhances the ability of each Station to be financially strong, to remain free from governmental control of programming, and to excel in the public service roles that each Station plays in Nevada.  The NVBA offers a robust Public Education Partnership program providing government agencies and non-profits, the ultimate in public outreach and awareness. We seek to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials along with other community leaders about important broadcasting issues, concerns and challenges, in an effort to create increasingly strong and healthy communities.

 About Nevada Broadcasters Foundation Scholarship Program

The Nevada Broadcasters Foundation (NVBF) and the Tony & Linda Bonnici Scholarship Fund finds the very best broadcasting and journalism students in Nevada and empowers them to pursue their dream by awarding scholarships. The Foundation awards full tuition scholarships to the next generation of Nevada’s broadcasters. This scholarship is unique in that it is a scholarship by broadcasters for broadcasters.

For more information about NVBA and NVBF, please call 702-794-4994, or visit http://nevadabroadcasters.org.

 Media Contacts: NVBA Office: 702-794-4994

Mitch Fox  Mitch@NevadaBroadcasters.org      
Eric Bonnici
Eric@NevadaBroadcasters.org  

May is one of those months where there are neither deadlines for EEO Public File Reports nor for any of the quarterly filings of issues/programs lists and children’s television reports. But the lack of these routine filing deadlines does not mean that there are no dates of interest in the coming month to broadcasters and other media companies. As seemingly is the case every month, there are never times when Washington is ignoring legal issues potentially affecting the industry.

May 10 brings an FCC meeting where two items of interest to broadcasters will be considered. One is a proposal to abolish the requirement for posting licenses and other operating authorizations at a broadcaster’s control point and to eliminate the requirement that FM translators post information about the station’s licensee and a contact phone number at their transmitter sites (see our post here for more details). The second is a proposal to modify the processing of complaints about new or modified FM translators causing interference to existing stations. See our summary of that proposal here. If adopted at the May 10 meeting, these proposals will be available for public comment after they are published in the Federal Register.

The process that will lead to the issuance of construction permits to some of those new FM translators is still underway, as the window runs from May 24 through June 14 for filing settlements or engineering resolutions for mutually exclusive applications filed in the second window for AM stations to obtain authorizations for new FM translators (see our article here). Translator applications that cannot resolve their mutual exclusivity during this window will end up in an auction. Applications that were not mutually exclusive with any other application filed in this second window have until May 9 to file their “long-form” applications detailing the technical facilities that they plan to build out once their construction permit is granted (see our article here).

TV translators and Low Power TV stations also are in the middle of their own window for submitting displacement applications by those stations that either operate on TV channels above Channel 37 (which will no longer be part of the TV band after the repacking following last year’s incentive auction) or on channels subject to new interference from full-power and Class A TV stations that were repacked onto new channels. That window is now open, and TV translators and LPTV stations have until June 1 to find new channels and submit applications for those channels to the FCC. See our articles here, here, and here for more information.

Comments in another FCC rulemaking, the one looking to do away with the requirement for the filing with the FCC of the Form 397 EEO Mid-Term Report are due today, April 30, with replies due on May 15. The FCC suggested that this is no longer necessary, as all the information required by the Commission is already in station’s online public file. See our article here summarizing that proposal.

In May, there will also be activity at other government agencies that broadcasters and other media companies should be watching. On Friday, we summarized the Music Modernization Act passed by the House of Representatives last week. That bill is supposed to get a hearing in the Senate on or about May 16 looking toward the possible passage of that legislation by the Senate.

The Federal Election Commission, in a rulemaking that it is conducting, is looking at requiring sponsorship identification on online audio and video political ads in the same format as those found on radio and TV ads (including the “I’m John Smith and I approved this message”). Comments on proposals made in that rulemaking are due May 26. We’ll have more on that proceeding later this week. Speaking of political broadcasting, stations in many states will soon be in lowest unit rate windows, if they are not already, for primary elections occurring this summer (see our article here on your LUC obligations). Watch for those windows as they come up in your state, and remember all of the political obligations that arise not only during the window, but as soon as you have legally qualified candidates (see our article here). For more information on the FCC’s rules on political broadcasting, you can check out our Political Broadcasting Guide here.

For a month without any of the “standard” FCC obligations, there are still lots of issues for broadcasters to consider. Make sure you pay attention to any of these issues that may affect you, and to any that are unique to your own station.

The FCC yesterday issued an order granting 39 radio stations (almost all stations with very small staffs or those affected by recent hurricanes or otherwise non-operational) 60 days to comply with the requirement that all full-power radio stations complete the transition to the online public file by this past March 1. We wrote about this obligation for the March 1 transition to the online public file here and here. This decision highlights the requirement for stations to have complied with the requirement to transition to the online file by March 1.

We are still hearing reports that there are stations not on this waiver list that have not activated the public file. In a footnote in yesterday decision, the FCC notes that it orally denied an extension request filed a year ago, and that its staff had discussed concerns that other stations about meeting the deadline, noting that the FCC has “encouraged all of these stations to continue to work to complete the transition to the online file as expeditiously as possible.” Whether that suggests that the Commission might not strictly enforce the March 1 deadline is open to interpretation, but it is clear that, even if it has not reached that point already, at some point (likely soon) any station not in compliance with the requirements is looking at potential FCC penalties. Note that the license renewal cycle for radio stations begins next year. That 3-year cycle in which all radio licensees will file their renewal applications will present the FCC with the opportunity to monitor compliance with the public file rules, and to impose penalties on those who have not complied. So don’t get caught being noncompliant!

We wrote last week about one broadcast issue to be considered at the FCC’s May 10 meeting, amending the procedures for resolving complaints about interference by new FM translators to other existing FM stations. At that same meeting, the FCC is planning to adopt another item in its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative – a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (see a draft of that item here) to eliminate the FCC rules that require broadcast stations to post physical copies of their license (and other instruments of authorization such as STAs or renewals), or to keep physical copies of these documents in a binder, at their control point.

The FCC also asks whether translator operators should continue to have to post information at their transmitter sites as to the name, address and telephone number of the licensee and where station records are maintained. Given that all of this information is in the FCC’s database and accessible to anyone with Internet access (and as the licenses posted at the control point are not even accessible to the public), the draft NPRM, if adopted at the May 10 meeting, would propose to eliminate these rules. Watch for the adoption of this proposal at the May 10 meeting, and the comments dates on the proposal that will be set after the meeting.