Media Bureau Announces Comment Dates For Next Generation Television Further Notice. Comments Must Be Submitted No Later Than February 20, 2018.

On November 20, 2017, the FCC released the Next Gen TV Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Next Gen TV Order and Next Gen TV Further Notice). In the Next Gen TV Further Notice, the Commission seeks comment on additional issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement, seeks comment on whether they should let full power broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition to ATSC 3.0, and tentatively concluded that local simulcasting should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. The Federal Register published a summary of the Next Gen TV Further Notice on December 20, 2017. Accordingly, comments must be submitted no later than February 20, 2018, and reply comments must be submitted no later than March 20, 2018. Commenters must follow the filing instructions provided in the Next Gen TV Further Notice, which is available on the FCC’s website.

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.