PIRATE Act Passes Senate, and Now on to the President for Signature – Provides for Big Fines and Enforcement Sweeps in Big MarketsPosted On: January 10, 2020
The PIRATE Act, to crack down on pirate radio, passed the Senate this week after having passed in the House of Representatives last year. It now goes to the President for signature. We’ve written about this legislation several times before (see for instance, our articles here and here). In this final version, it provides more tools for the FCC to crack down on pirate radio operators more quickly, plus it imposes obligations on the FCC to make more regularized enforcement efforts against pirate radio operators, although without necessarily providing any more resources with which to do so. ... Read More
University Pays $76,000 Fine to Settle Complaint About Underwriting Announcements on Noncommercial Station that Went Too FarPosted On: January 8, 2020
Every noncommercial station, including LPFMs, that accepts underwriting announcements should be concerned about making sure that the announcements meet FCC guidelines and remain truly noncommercial. An FCC Order was released yesterday announcing a consent decree entered into between the University of Arkansas and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. The Order illustrates what can happen if noncommercial stations are not careful – as the University agreed to pay what is essentially a fine of $76,000 and to adopt a compliance plan that forces the University to carefully monitor underwriting announcements for the next five years, as well as engaging in programs to educate and monitor its staff to insure future compliance. ... Read More
FCC Postpones Filing Deadline for First Annual Children’s Television Programming Report and Announces Effectiveness of Other Changes in Children’s Television RulesPosted On: December 29, 2019
The FCC gave a present to TV broadcasters at the end of the week before Christmas by issuing a Public Notice announcing the effective date of the remaining changes to the children’s television rules, and postponing the filing date for the initial Children’s Television Programming Report, which was to be filed by January 30, to March 30. This will give broadcasters more time to become familiar with the new report. The annual Children’s Programming Report takes the place of the Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports, and are designed to report on the educational and informational “core programming” broadcast by a television station to meet its obligations for such programming. ... Read More
Election Season in High Gear for Broadcasters – Lowest Unit Rate Windows to Begin in Iowa This Week, New Hampshire Next and Other States Soon to FollowPosted On: December 18, 2019
While political broadcasting never seems to be totally off the airwaves, the 2020 election season is about to click into high gear, with the window for lowest unit rates to begin on December 20 for advertising sales in connection with the January Iowa caucuses. That means that when broadcasters sell time to candidates for ads to run in Iowa, they must sell them at the lowest rate that they charge commercial advertisers for the same class of advertising time running during the same time period. For more on issues in computing lowest unit rates, see our articles here, ... Read More
FCC Proposes Fines of Over $600,000 to Two Boston-Area Pirate Radio OperatorsPosted On: December 13, 2019
The FCC yesterday issued Notices of Apparent Liability to two pirate radio operators that totaled over $600,000, the largest fines ever issued for those operating radio stations without an FCC-issued license. Both operated in the Boston area. One was fined $151,005 for operating one station (press release here, the full Notice of Apparent Liability is available here). The second was fined $453,015 for operating three transmitters in the area (press release here, the full NAL is available here). The FCC noted that these were the maximum fines that they could impose for these violations under current law, ... Read More
Court of Appeals Finds Maryland Law Imposing Political Disclosure Obligations on Online Platforms to be Unconstitutional – Finding Different Treatment of Broadcasters is JustifiedPosted On: December 11, 2019
Late last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in a case called Washington Post v. David J. McManus, upholding the ruling of the US District Court finding that the State of Maryland’s attempts to impose political advertising reporting obligations on online platforms to be an unconstitutional abridgment of these companies’ First Amendment rights. The suit was brought by the Washington Post and several other companies owning newspapers with an online presence in the State. Their arguments were supported by numerous other media organizations, including the NAB and NCTA. ... Read More
$2000 Fine Proposed for Translator That Failed to Inform FCC of Its Primary Station and Seek Approval for Serving Same Area as Another Commonly Programmed StationPosted On: December 9, 2019
With more and more stations relying on FM translators to provide local service, a decision released last week emphasizes the importance of following the rules about the operations of these stations. In the decision, the FCC’s Audio Division proposed to issue a $2,000 fine for an FM translator owner that failed to advise the FCC that it had switched the primary signal being rebroadcast by the translator, as required by the rules. The Audio Division concluded that, for about a month, the translator was not rebroadcasting what had been specified as the primary station. During that time, as the translator was rebroadcasting a local station that already had a translator serving much of the same area, ... Read More
More on Required Public File Disclosures of Issue Ads – Comment Dates on NAB Petition for Reconsideration and Another Admonition for Inadequate DisclosuresPosted On: December 5, 2019
The FCC on Friday issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition for reconsideration by the NAB and several broadcast groups seeking review of the FCC’s October decision, deemed a “clarification” of the public file disclosure rules for federal political issue ads requiring that all candidates and issues mentioned in any political issue ad be disclosed in the political section of the online public file (see our articles here on the reconsideration filing and here on the FCC’s October decision). The Public Notice sets the deadline for comments on the NAB petition as December 30. ... Read More
NAB Seeks Reconsideration of FCC’s Clarification of Issue Advertising Public Disclosure Requirements – Rules Remain in Effect Though Some Clarification ProvidedPosted On: November 25, 2019
Last month, the FCC issued what it termed a “clarification” of the obligations of broadcasters to disclose in their public inspection files each and every candidate and issue discussed in any Federal issue ad. We wrote about the Clarification here. That decision prompted many questions among broadcasters as to how they would comply with the requirement to uniformly identify every issue in political ads, when that judgement might well be quite subjective. The National Association of Broadcasters apparently agreed, and filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the Clarification, available here. Hearst Television, Graham Media, ... Read More
Twitter Bans Political Ads – Doing What Broadcasters are Forbidden to DoPosted On: November 4, 2019
It seems like every other week, there is a story about an online media giant making changes in their rules that govern political advertising on their platform – and being either praised or condemned for doing so. We recently wrote about the controversy over Facebook deciding to not fact-check candidate ads, and how Congress itself requires by statute that broadcast stations take that same position. Broadcast stations are not allowed to censor ads from legally qualified candidates so, except in very limited circumstances where the ads may be criminal in nature (and not where they might just give rise to civil claims, ... Read More
The Nevada Broadcasters Association experienced a number of successes in 2018. I'd like to share some of them with you.
In February a number of Nevada broadcasters went to Washington D.C. to lobby our Congressional Delegation on such issues as the Local Radio Freedom Act, the Microsoft Spectrum Grab, and retransmission consent.
The Nevada Broadcasters Association was able to hold a special members-only reception for Senator Gordon Smith, the CEO of NAB. We were also able to score an exclusive, meeting with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
In April Governor Brian Sandoval sat down with the NVBA for nearly an hour and shared his perspective on the state. We were able to communicate to him, the valuable role we play in emergency communications.
Throughout the year, I was humbled and honored to attend meetings as a voting member of the Homeland Security Commission. Governor Sandoval appointed me to this critically important commission, with members that include the Governor himself, the Lt. Governor, Sheriff Lombardo and members of the State Legislature, among others. I'm excited to continue my participation on this Commission next year, when Governor Sisolak becomes Chairman.
Our Hall of Fame Gala was a huge success. We honored LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, Las Vegas 51s COO Don Logan and broadcast pioneer, 101 year-old Hank Thornley in addition to 37 Hall of Fame inductees. The Gala, along with Southern and Northern Nevada Golf Tournaments, combined with your generosity made it possible for 32 students to receive scholarships to a Nevada college or university. Thank you!
Throughout the year we had meetings or sponsored receptions in Nevada with Congressman Mark Amodei, Senator Dean Heller, Governor-elect Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Henderson Mayor Debra March, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Congresswoman-elect Susie Lee.
In addition, we produced an extremely compelling documentary on the opioid crisis and organized a One October remembrance that had the participation of Nevada's radio stations.
If all that weren't enough we had webinars for journalists and HR directors, continued our Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP) and held additional EAS training sessions.
Thank you to the NVBA Board of Directors and our Executive Committee for helping to make our year such a success.
President and CEO
Nevada Broadcasters Association
2018 New Year Update
Dear Members & Friends,
Welcome to 2018 and to our website! A new year brings new leadership to the Nevada Broadcasters Association (NVBA). Veteran Broadcaster Mitch Fox has come on board to serve as our new President and Chief Executive Officer. Mitch has served in the broadcast industry for more than 30 years. He spent much of his career in Las Vegas working in Public Broadcasting and most recently was Nevada State Director for the Porter Group, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm.
Under Fox’s leadership, the NVBA Board and Staff will continue its mission to promote and advocate for governmental policies that benefit our member stations and to maintain a leadership role in our state, ensuring a vibrant and successful future for local television and radio.
The NVBA relies on the grassroots leadership and strength of our member stations and we thank you all for your continued support and for allowing us to serve your stations and the industry at large as we move through the remainder of 2018.
Viola Cody, Chair