Upcoming FCC Deadlines
EAS and WEA Issues Webinar (July 25): The FCC, in coordination with FEMA, will hold a webinar on EAS and WEA issues on July 25, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Registration information and additional details are provided in the Public Notice.
Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists (July 10): All full power AM, FM, Class A TV and full power TV stations must place their quarterly issues/programs lists in their station public inspection files. The issues/programs list should include details of important issues affecting a station’s community, and the station’s programming aired during April, May, and June 2018 that addressed those issues. The list should include the time, date, duration and title of each program, along with a brief description of each program and how that program relates to the relevant community issue. At a minimum, it is recommended that at least 6 to 10 issues be identified on the list, as well as a number of programs responsive to each issue. It is advisable to include PSAs and other community-oriented programming in the quarterly list, although PSAs alone are not sufficient evidence of community-oriented programming.
TV and radio stations must upload their quarterly issues/programs list to their station’s online public file.
These reports are very important, as they are the only documents legally required by the FCC to show how a station served the public interest. With the online public file, these reports can be reviewed by anyone with an Internet connection at any time, which could be particularly concerning for any station that does not meet the filing deadline, especially with license renewals beginning again next year.
Children’s Programming (July 10): TV stations must file their quarterly FCC Form 398 children’s programming reports electronically with the FCC, using the FCC’s Licensing and Management System (LMS). A copy of the form, once filed, should be automatically uploaded by the FCC to the station’s online public inspection file, although station personnel should confirm this step was completed by the FCC, as stations retain ultimate responsibility for the contents of their online public files. TV stations must also complete a certification of compliance with the FCC’s commercial limits during children’s programming aired in the Second Quarter of 2018, and that certification must be manually uploaded to the station’s online public file. TV stations also must complete a certification of compliance with the requirements concerning the display of website addresses during children’s programming; however, there does not appear to be any place to upload the website address certification. It appears that stations can elect to either upload such certifications along with their commercial limits certifications, or retain the website certifications in their private records.
TV stations are reminded to periodically publicize the existence and location of the station’s Form 398 reports, in the form of periodic on-air announcements and website information.
At its next open meeting next month, the FCC will be considering major changes to the children’s television rules that may significantly decrease the regulatory obligations of broadcasters. Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime please take the children’s programming requirements seriously, because the FCC continues to enforce in this area.
Quarterly TV Transition Progress Report (July 10): TV stations that are being repacked must submit an FCC Form 2100, Schedule 387 transition progress report. Quarterly reports are due the 10th of the month following the end of each calendar quarter, and additional reports are due closer to the station’s phase completion date and after completing the transition.
Copyright Royalty Claims Between (July 1 and July 31): All television stations that were carried as a “distant signal” by a cable system during 2017 and that aired a program that they produced for which they own the copyright that was retransmitted by a cable system, should file a copyright royalty claim form between July 1-31, 2018, to share in the 2017 cable royalty distribution.
Annual EAS Participant Form (August 27): Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants must submit their annual Form One filing on or before August 27, 2018. The Public Notice also indicates that that the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is now open and accepting 2018 filings.
The Public Notice indicates that all EAS Participants – including Low Power FM stations (LPFM), Class D non-commercial educational FM stations, and EAS Participants that are silent pursuant to a grant of Special Temporary Authority – are required to register and file Form One in ETRS, with the following exceptions:
1.Analog and digital low power television (LPTV) stations that operate as television broadcast translator stations are not required to register and file in ETRS.
2.FM broadcast booster stations and FM translator stations which entirely rebroadcast the programming of other local FM broadcast stations are not required to register and file in ETRS.
3.Analog and digital broadcast stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station (or common studio or control point if there is no hub station) and rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming of the hub station (or common studio or control point) are not required to register and file in ETRS. However, the hub station (or common studio or control point) is required to register and file in ETRS.
Each EAS Participant should file a separate copy of Form One for each of its EAS decoders, EAS encoders, or units combining such decoder and encoder functions. For example, if an individual is filing for a broadcaster (or cable headend) that uses two units combining decoder and encoder functions, that individual should file two copies of Form One.
Filers can access ETRS by visiting the ETRS page of the Commission’s website HERE. Instructional videos regarding registration and completion of the ETRS Form One are available on the ETRS page. Additional filing instructions are provided in the Public Notice.
EAS Participants are allowed thirty days after submission (i.e., on or before September 26, 2018) to submit any updates or corrections to their 2018 Form One filings. Read the full FCC Public Notice HERE.
C-Band Dish Registrations (October 17): GAB members are strongly encouraged to register their C-band receive-only dishes with the FCC. The deadline for doing so has been extended to October 17. Frequency coordination is not required, but a $435 filing fee applies. Unregistered C-band dishes may not be protected from other users of these frequencies after October 17.
GAB members are encouraged to subscribe to Broadcast Law Blog for additional information.