April 5, 2017

File Formats Available For the Incentive Auction Reverse And Forward Auction Results; Online Tutorial Available For The Immediate Post-Auction Process For The Forward Auction

The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announce the availability of educational materials regarding incentive auction data files for both the reverse auction (Auction 1001) and forward auction (Auction 1002), and the immediate post-auction process for the forward auction. Specifically, the FCC has posted to the Auction 1001 and Auction 1002 websites a document specifying the formats of the results files for each auction and other files that will be publicly available after release of the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice. In addition , the FCC has posted to the Auction 1002 website a forward auction post-auction online tutorial.

Auction Data File Formats. The file formats document describes results files and other files that will be available in the FCC Public Reporting System (PRS).  The document provides, for each data file, an overall description of the file, the data fields that are included (with definitions of the data elements in each field), the data type, examples, and notes. The file formats document is available under the “Data” section of the Auction 1001 and Auction 1002 websites (www.fcc.gov/auctions/1001 and www.fcc.gov/auctions/1002 ). The data files themselves will become available shortly after the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice is released. 

Additional files related to the post -auction television transition will be released with the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice. The file format specifications of those files will also be released at that time.

Forward Auction Post -Auction Online Tutorial. The online tutorial for the immediate post-auction process is designed t o help forward auction bidders familiarize themselves with the steps that will follow the conclusion of the auction. The tutorial provides a timeline of the immediate post-auction

November 9, 2017

Media Bureau Temporarily Lifts The Freeze On The Filing Of Minor Modification Applications That Expand The Contour Of Full Power And Class A Television Stations From November 28 Through December 7, 2017.

The Media Bureau is temporarily lifting the freeze imposed on April 5, 2013 on the filing and processing of minor modification applications that would increase a full power television station’s noise - limited contour or a Class A station’s protected contour in one or more directions beyond the station’s authorized facilities. 1 The freeze will be lifted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 , and reimposed at 11:59 pm EST on Thursday , December 7, 2017. 2 Minor modification applications submitted during this time period will be processed on a first come/first served basis, i.e., the filing of an acceptable application “cuts -off” the filing rights of subsequent, conflicting applications. 3 In addition, the Media Bureau will process minor modification applications that have been pending since April 5, 2013 which are at variance with the limitations imposed in the April 2013 Freeze Public Notice .

October 25, 2017

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to relieve certain television broadcasters of a reporting obligation relating to ancillary or supplementary services and to update rules requiring public notice of broadcast applications.

The FCC is seeking comment on how to modernize two provisions in Part 73 of the Commission’s rules governing broadcast licensees: Section 73.624(g), which establishes certain reporting obligations relating to the provision of ancillary or supplementary services, and Section 73.3580, which sets forth requirements concerning public notice of the filing of broadcast applications. First, the FCC proposes amendments to Section 73.624(g)(2) that would relieve certain television broadcasters of the obligation to submit FCC Form 2100, Schedule G,  which is used to report information about the provision of ancillary or supplementary services.  Second, the FCC seeks comment on whether to update or repeal Section 73.3580 of the rules, which requires broadcast applicants to provide public notice of the filing of various license applications, to afford such applicants more flexibility in how they provide that notice. As part of this inquiry , the FCC seeks comment on whether to permit broadcast applicants that currently provide written notice in a local newspaper, instead to provide that notice online.

October 24, 2017

FCC Eliminates Main Studio Rule

The Federal Communications Commission has eliminated the broadcast main studio rule . The rule required stations to maintain a local or toll-free telephone number to ensure consumers have ready access to their local stations and required each AM radio, FM radio, and television broadcast station to have a main studio located in or near its local community.  Elimination of the main studio rule should produce substantial cost-saving benefits for broadcasters that can be directed towards other services that benefit consumers. It will also make it easier for broadcasters to prevent stations in small towns from going dark and to launch new stations in rural areas.

October 19, 2017

Freeze On The Filing Of Modification Applications To Be Lifted Temporarily To Permit Filing Of Applications To Expand The Contours Of Full Power And Class A Television Stations That Are Not Part Of The Post Incentive Auction Repack Process

The Media Bureau will temporarily lift a freeze imposed on the filing and processing of certain full power and Class A station applications. This action will help ensure the utility of an upcoming application filing window for secondary stations displaced by the incentive auction repacking process by reducing the likelihood that facility modifications awarded in that displacement window might shortly thereafter be displaced again by applications of priority stations.

October 17, 2017

Incentive Auction Task Force And Media Bureau Announce The Initial Reimbursement Allocation For Eligible Broadcasters and MVPDs.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau (Bureau) announced the issuance of an initial allocation of the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Fund) in the total amount of $1 billion to begin to reimburse eligible full power and Class A broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs ) (together, Eligible Entities ), for expenses related to the construction of station facilities on reassigned channels . The Bureau will continue to monitor closely the draw-down of Fund amounts and allocate additional amounts later in the transition period

September 25, 2017

Revitalization Of The AM Radio Service, Third Report And Order. The Commission adopted a Third Report and Order that relaxes or eliminates certain rules pertaining to AM broadcasters employing and maintaining directional antenna arrays.

This Third Report and Order is the latest in a series of orders designed to further the Commission’s efforts to assist AM broadcasters in providing vital radio service to consumers through out the country. By identifying ways to streamline the technical requirements imposed upon AM broadcasters, we free up resources to allow those broadcasters better to serve the public. In the Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making in this proceeding, the Commission sought comment on technical proposals directed toward reducing certain regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters operating directional antenna arrays. One proposal sought to reduce the number of radials on which field strength measurements must be taken when conducting a partial proof of performance on an AM directional array. The other consisted of a series of proposals aimed at reducing the expenses associated with computer modeling of directional AM antenna performance, known a s Method of Moments (MoM) modeling , as well as improving the quality of MoM modeling and maintaining the proper performance and adjustment of directional AM antenna arrays verified by MoM modeling .

September 8, 2017

The Media Bureau Opens MB Docket No. 17-231, Amendment of Parts 74, 76 and 78 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Maintenance of Copies of FCC Rules.

By this Public Notice, the Media Bureau opens MB Docket No. 17-231, which is captioned “Amendment of Parts 74, 76 and 78 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Maintenance of Copies of FCC Rules.”  Ex Parte Rules . Presentations are subject to “permit -but-disclose” ex parte rules. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1206, 1.1200(a). Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules. Accessibility Information. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e -mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418 -0530 (voice), (202) 418 -0432 (TTY).

August 16, 2017

Public Safety And Homeland Security Bureau Reminds EAS Participants Of Upcoming Dates And Deadlines Related To The 2017 Nationwide EAS Test.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) reminds all Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants that, as the Bureau announced on July 24, 2017, they are required to participate in a nationwide test of the EAS that is scheduled for September 27, 2017, at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The Bureau also reminds all EAS Participants that they must register with the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) and file Form One on or before August 28, 2017. EAS Participants shall file ETRS Form Two at or before 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 27 , 2017, and shall file ETRS Form Three on or before November 13, 2017. Additional information, including instructional videos and answers to frequently asked questions about entering data into the ETRS forms, can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system.

June 6, 2017

Media Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Comment Deadlines for Main Studio Rule NPRM

On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted and released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Elimination of Main Studio Rule(the NPRM). In the NPRM, the Commission proposes to eliminate its rule requiring each AM, FM, and television broadcast station to maintai n a main studio located in or near the station’s community of license. The Commission set deadlines for filing comments and reply comments at 30 and 45 days, respectively, after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.

May 25, 2017

The Incentive Auction Task Force And Media Bureau Announce Procedures For Low Power Television, Television Translator And Replacement Translator Stations.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau (Bureau), has provided guidance for low power television (LPTV), television translator (TV translator) and analog-to-digital replacement translator (DRT) stations (referred to collectively as “LPTV /translator stations”) regarding the post-auction transition period , which began on April 13, 2017, with the completion of the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction (Auction 1000) . The purpose of this Public Notice is to summarize and clarify the rules and procedures governing the post -auction transition for LPTV/translator stations.

May 25, 2017

Commission Launches Modernization Of Media Regulation Initiative.

The FCC has initiated a review of its rules applicable to media entities, including television and radio broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite television providers. The objective of this proceeding is to eliminate or modify regulations that are outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome. By initiating this review, the Commission takes another step to advance the public interest by reducing unnecessary regulations and undue regulatory burdens that can stand in the way of competition and innovation in media markets.

May 25, 2017

FCC Proposes To Eliminate Main Studio Rule. Action Would Reduce Regulatory Burdens And Costs For Broadcasters.

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to eliminate the main studio rule, which requires each AM, FM, and television broadcast station to have a main studio located in or near its local community. The FCC also proposes to eliminate the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and the requirement that it be able to originate programming. The main studio rule, which the FCC first adopted more than 70 years ago, was originally implemented on the premise that local access to the main studio facilitated input from community members and the station’s participation in community activities.

April 24, 2017

FCC Reinstates Pre-August 2016 Status Quo In Broadcaster Marketplace

The Federal Communications Commission voted to reinstate the so-called “UHF discount ” until the Commission can address its national television ownership rule more holistically, in a proceeding to be launched later this year . The action effectively returns the marketplace to the status quo that existed prior to August 2016, whereby stations broadcasting in the UHF spectrum are permitted to count 50 percent of the television households in their market when determining compliance with the 39 percent national cap. In August 2016, the Commission eliminated on a party-line vote the UHF discount . The Order finds that this action had the effect of substantially tightening the national cap for companies without any analysis of whether this tightening was warranted given current marketplace conditions. The FCC now concludes that the UHF discount and national television ownership cap are inextricably linked and that the Commission’s previous decision erred by getting rid of the UHF discount without simultaneously considering whether the cap itself should be modified. The Commission plans to take up both the question of the 39 percent cap and the UHF discount later this year . Until then, the action   reinstates the pre-August 2016 status quo in the marketplace.

April 24, 2017

Amendment Of Section 73.3555(e) Of The Commission's Rules, National Television Multiple Ownership Rule.

The UHF discount allows commercial broadcast television station owners to discount the audience reach of UHF stations when calculating their compliance with the national television ownership rule.  It is thus inextricably linked to the national ownership cap. When the Commission voted to get rid of the discount, however, it failed to consider whether this defacto tightening of the national cap was in the public interest and justified by current marketplace conditions. This mistake renders the past action arbitrary and capricious. It also means that it was unwise from a public policy perspective. Thus the commission is reinstating the UHF discount for the time being and will launch a comprehensive rule making proceeding later this year to determine whether to retain it and/or modify the national cap. Because they are reinstating the UHF discount, requests to reconsider and modify the grandfathering provisions applicable to broadcast station combinations affected by elimination of the discount are dismissed as moot.  For the same reason, the claim that failure to consider the need for a VHF discount in conjunction with elimination of the UHF discount is in error is also dismissed as moot.

April 20, 2017

FCC Regional Coordinators to support broadcasters in the repacking effort.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau announce the assignment of Regional Coordinators to support broadcast television stations moving to new channel assignments in the post-incentive auction transition period. The Bureau is committed to ensuring a smooth and efficient post-auction transition. To enhance its ability to closely monitor the progress of the repack and to facilitate coordination among stations, each station that will transition to a new channel has been grouped into one of 10 geographically-based regions.

Each Regional Coordinator is listed in the Public Notice along with the list of stations in their region. 

March 27, 2017

Channel Sharing By Stations Outside The Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Context.

In implementing Congress’s mandate to conduct a broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, the FCC previously established rules to allow full power and Class A stations that relinquish licensed spectrum usage rights in the reverse auction to share a channel with another station. These rules, however, confine channel sharing to auction-related agreements. The FCC also authorized channel sharing between low power television (LPTV) and television translator stations (collectively, “secondary stations”) to help mitigate the auction’s potential to displace secondary stations. The FCC adopted rules to allow full power and Class A stations with auction-related channel sharing agreements (CSAs) to become sharees outside of the auction context so that they can continue to operate if their auction-related CSAs expire or otherwise terminate. They also adopted rules to allow all secondary stations to share a channel with another secondary station or with a full power or Class A station. This action will assist secondary stations that are displaced by the incentive auction and the repacking process to continue to operate in the post-auction television bands. The rules adopted will enhance the benefits of channel sharing for broadcasters without imposing significant burdens on multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

For Prior News Articles, see the News Archives Section.