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CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM AND WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS WEBINAR FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

(Webinar will be held at 2:00 p.m. EDT on June 21, 2018) 

            By this Public Notice, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, through its Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announce an upcoming webinar on Wireless Emergency Alerts and the Emergency Alert System. 

The free webinar will focus on issues relevant to these emergency alerting systems that affect state and local governments, such as how these systems work, who is eligible to initiate alerts, and the targeting of messages to particular geographic areas, as well as the latest developments at the Federal Communications Commission.  The webinar will help ensure state and local governments are ready and able to utilize these alerting systems when they are needed.  The webinar will also give participants an opportunity to ask Commission staff questions. 

The webinar will be held at 2:00 p.m. EDT on June 21, 2018 through WebEx.  To register, click here or copy and paste https://fccevents.webex.com/fccevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e204c1227f16818505160288eca493190 in your web browser. On the event information, page click on the registration link, provide the required information, and then click on “Submit” to complete your registration.  Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the event, the password, and the link for the meeting.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice) or 202-418-0432 (TTY).  Please include a description of the accommodation you will need and tell us how to contact you. Requests for special accommodation should be made as early as possible. Last minute requests will be accepted but may be impossible to fill.

For additional information about the webinar, please contact Barbara Britt at Barbara.Britt@fcc.gov or (202) 418-0323 or Greg Cooke at gregory.cooke@fcc.gov or (202) 418-2351.

Home > FM Translators and LPFM > Comments Due July 6 on Proposed Rules for Resolving FM Translator Interference Complaints

By David Oxenford on June 6, 2018 Posted in AM Radio,FM Radio,FM Translators and LPFM

The FCC today published in the Federal Register a summary of its proposed rules for resolving complaints of interference to existing full-power stations or other existing FM services from new or relocated FM translators. We summarized the FCC’s proposals in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here and here. The publication in the Federal Register triggers the 30 day comment period. Comments are due by July 6 with reply comments due by August 6. There are certain to be many broadcasters expressing their views on the FCC’s proposals in this proceeding. Expect final FCC action late this year or sometime in 2019.

This message is from Sage Alerting Systems regarding your Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644. It applies only to users in the United States.

Sage has released a firmware update that you must install to permit your ENDEC to continue to receive EAS CAP alerts from FEMA. A FEMA signing certificate will expire at 11:45am June 24, 2018; if you do not install this update, you will not receive CAP messages from the IPAWS system after that date.

This release also updates the SSL certificate roots that your ENDEC must have in order to download alert audio files from state or county alert originators.

Please read the release notes at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com/release1-1/cr-rev4-release-notes.pdf. They will explain why this release is necessary, and what Sage will do in a subsequent release to reduce the number of this type of update in the future.

The installation process is straightforward, as is described in the release notes. Installing this update will not change any of the settings on your ENDEC.

If you have any questions regarding this update, please email us at support@sagealertingsystems.com or call 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support. If you get voice mail, please leave a message and we will call you back. 

In 10 days, we’ll mark the 12th anniversary of my first post welcoming readers to this Blog. I’d like to thank all of you who read the blog, and the many of you who have had nice words to say about its contents over the years. In the dozen years that the blog has been active, our audience has grown dramatically. In fact, I’m amazed by all the different groups of readers – broadcasters and employees of digital media companies, attorneys and members of the financial community, journalists, regulators and many students and educators. Because of all the encouragement that I have received from readers, I keep going, hopefully providing you all with some valuable information along the way.

I want to thank those who have supported me in being able to bring this blog to you. My old firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP helped me get this started (and graciously allowed me to take the blog with me when I moved to my current firm six years ago). My current firm, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, has also been very supportive, and I particularly want to thank several attorneys at the firm (especially David O’Connor and Kelly Donohue) who help catch, on short notice, my typos and slips in analysis for articles that I usually get around to finishing shortly before my publication deadline. Also, a number of other attorneys at the firm including Mitch Stabbe, Aaron Burstein, Bob Kirk and Josh Bercu have contributed articles, and I hope that they will continue with their valuable contributions in the future. Thanks, also, to my friendly competitors at the other law firms that have taken up publishing blogs on communications and media legal issues since I launched mine – you all do a great job with your own take on the issues, and you inspire me to try to keep up with you all.

I’ve posted over 2000 articles in the last 12 years. That works out to almost an article once every other day. But there never seems to be any shortage of topics to write about. In fact, what is in short supply is time – as clients and life need to come first, and blogging gets worked into the schedule when it fits. But writing this blog has become an important part of my legal practice. It has, I think, helped make me a better lawyer, as it has given me an incentive to keep up to date on developments in the law and in business that affect broadcasters and other media companies. The articles, and the opportunities that the articles have opened for speaking and otherwise contributing to industry discussions, have introduced me to many people in the industry who are there pushing these developments. Interacting with those actually in the business trenches provide even more to write about.

When we first started the blog, I don’t think that I was sure how it would turn out. But, among the many goals that I set in my first post, was the following:

So some days, the blog may just report on FCC actions. Other days, we may link to interesting or provocative news stories that we see in the trade or popular press. But sometimes, we will tackle more fundamental issues. For instance, one of the first questions we’ll have to address is just what the broadcast industry is today. While we could limit the stories in this blog to just matters about the over-the-air broadcast industry, that narrow view would be far too limiting. Broadcasting is no longer an island unto itself. Instead, each day it becomes more and more clear that the world that traditional broadcasting inhabits is one that goes far beyond those narrow areas that the FCC has traditionally defined as a broadcast service. Thus, we will be pointing out developments and legal decisions that impact not only traditional over-the-air radio and television stations, but also those in the myriad “new media” that are now so crucial to any understanding of the broadcast industry. Media “convergence,” which has for so long been nothing more than a buzz word thrown around to make it seem like we’re thinking about the future, is finally here, and cannot be ignored in a discussion of the broadcast industry.

Looking back, that may have been an ambitious goal, but it is one that we continue to try to achieve. In fact, in the last couple of months, we published articles on the Music Modernization Act, legal issues for broadcasters in digital and social media advertising, a Supreme Court decision that may provide broadcasters with new revenue from advertising for sports betting, efforts to regulate online political advertising, and potential reform of the radio ownership rules based on the plethora of new media outlets for audio entertainment. It is clear that the initial vision of a broadcasting industry that has expanded far beyond its traditional over-the-air bounds was not just the first question that we would address, but it is one that we address every week.

And there still is an inexhaustible supply of issues that we need to follow. Of course, the current FCC is very active reforming the regulatory landscape for broadcasters, which will no doubt prompt many articles. Copyright issues are also more important than ever – look for articles in the near future on what’s next for the Music Modernization Act and on how Alexa, Google Home and other voice-activated legal assistants raise royalty considerations for program providers. Expect more coverage of changes in the broadcast ownership rules, and in many areas affecting the advertising landscape, including legal issues raised by programmatic buying (about which we have written before – see for instance here and here).

Thanks again to all our readers. Keep reading, tell your friends about the blog, let me know if I can ever help you (I am, of course, a lawyer whose clients provide the resources to track all of these issues), and we’ll see what happens as we celebrate future anniversaries of the Broadcast Law Blog.

For radio and television stations with 5 or more full-time employees located in Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, NewMexico, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, WestVirginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia, June 1 brings the requirement that you upload to your online inspection file your Annual EEO Public Inspection File Report detailing your employment outreach efforts for job openings filled in the last year, as well as the supplemental efforts you have made to educate the community about broadcast employment or the training efforts undertaken to advance your employees skills. For TV stations that are part of Employment Units with five or more full-time employees and located in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, you also need to submit your EEO Form 397 Mid-Term Report. See our article here on the Mid-Term Report, and another here on an FCC proposal that could lead to the elimination of the filing of the form.

June 1 should also serve as a reminder to radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia that your license renewal will be filed a year from now, on or before June 1, 2019. So, if you have not done so already, you should be reviewing your online public inspection file to make sure that it is complete, and otherwise review your station operations in anticipation of that filing. We wrote about some of the issues of concern for the upcoming license renewal cycle in our article here. TV stations in those same states will start the TV renewal cycle two years from now.This month also brings to the end a number of filing windows. LPTV and TV translator stations displaced by the incentive auction have until June 1 to complete and file displacement applications, specifying a new channel for their post-repacking operations. See our articles here and here. AM stations that filed for a FM translator in the most recent window who ended up mutually exclusive with other applicants have until June 14 to file amendments to their applications to resolve the mutual exclusivity or otherwise reach a settlement, or they will end up in an auction at some point in the future. For more information, see this article. Such an auction will be held for translator applicants from the 2003 translator window that were not able to resolve their mutual exclusivity in a long-ago translator window – that auction to be held starting June 21. See this article.

June will also bring a hearing at the Federal Election Commission on the required sponsorship identification for online political ads. See our article here for more information on this FEC hearing and other activity to regulate online political advertising.

And broadcast stations using C Band earth stations to receive programming or for other uses should consider registering these dishes with the FCC, as the FCC is considering repurposing the band for other uses or allowing other wireless uses in the band used by these dishes. The FCC needs to know what users need protection or other accommodation in that band. While there is no requirement that receive-only dishes be registered, no protection will be afforded to those that do not register by July 18. See the FCC public notice on that issue here.

As always, there are plenty of other legal and regulatory issues that may affect broadcast stations – including political lowest unit rate windows in many states in anticipation of primary elections. So stay alert for those dates, watch alerts from broadcast associations, and consult your attorney to make sure that you stay on top of all of your regulatory obligations.

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.