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2008 – What Broadcasters Have to Worry About From Washington Presentation for Montana Broadcasters Association June 2008 David Oxenford 202-973-4256

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Presentation on theme: "2008 – What Broadcasters Have to Worry About From Washington Presentation for Montana Broadcasters Association June 2008 David Oxenford 202-973-4256"— Presentation transcript:

1 2008 – What Broadcasters Have to Worry About From Washington Presentation for Montana Broadcasters Association June 2008 David Oxenford

2 Jan 25, :45 am US/Central FCC To Investigate Water Intoxication Death Radio Station Could Be Stripped Of License LAST YEAR Station fires 10 over deadly radio contest 'Morning Rave' is canceled; debate rages on whether DA should file charges. By Christina Jewett and Sam McManis - Bee Staff Writers Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, January 17, 2007 Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A1 Sheriff orders probe of radio contest death By Christina Jewett - Bee Staff Writer

3 Multiple FCC Enforcement Actions - Mostly Radio Expectation of hundreds of decisions - soon FCC Made Complaints Easier Proposals to increase fines - Perhaps to $500,000 per Incident Performers May Have Liability Too Remember – It’s an election year! Slide From 2006 Indecency - How About that Fast Food Industry Career?

4 But the HOT ISSUES change each year

5 Lots to Talk About Localism and Enhanced Disclosure Indecency DTV Transition Performance Royalty Streaming Issues All sorts of other issues

6 Localism - The Shape of Things To Come? Localism Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Some of it already in place for TV Lots of paperwork to prove your public interest commitment Government forcing you to serve your community in the way they think is best

7 FCC’s Two-Pronged Process to Re- Regulate Broadcasters Proposals raised in Digital Television and HD Radio Proceeding On-Line Public Inspection File Form 355 Quarterly Filing Structural Issues – Studio locations, program origination, studio staffing New Localism Proposals Community Outreach Requirements Substantive program obligations – local music, national playlists Quantitative Programming requirements

8 Enhanced Disclosure – New TV Requirements for the Public File Station can either post the public file contents on its own website or on state broadcast association site. If the on the state association’s site, the station must have a link on its website to the report. If a station has no website, it does not need to create one to comply with these rules and it has no obligation to place the file on the state association's website. However, if the station later develops a website, it must have the public file contents posted within 30 days. The contents of the political file do not need to be posted on the website. Letters from the public do not need to be posted on the site— although s from the public must be posted. Links OK if material already on the web, e.g. FCC filings

9 Enhanced Disclosure – More on the On-Line Public File The file must be accessible to the disabled, complying with Conformance Level A of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility (W3C/WAI) guidelines. This may preclude some files being stored solely in a PDF format and may cause some consternation among those at stations not familiar with these standards (which may very well be the majority of stations). Twice each day, the station must publicize on the air, with its station identification, the availability of the file on the station's website. At least one of those announcements must occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.

10 Form 355 – TV Requirements General information – corporate information, identification of program streams Percentages of specific types of programs – e.g., HD, News, Local, Independently Produced, Electoral, Civic, PSAs, Paid PSAs Specific Identification of all issue-responsive programming, and lots of other programming too (closed captioned, PSAs, electoral, religious, etc.) Very paperwork intensive, with little guidance on what’s required

11 Main Studio and Local Programming Remember pre-1987 requirements? Main studio in city of license Majority of programming from main studio Control point manned during all hours of operation FCC Now Proposing - Manned main studio during all hours of operation Also proposing return to 1987 requirements - studio in city of license

12 Community Outreach Proposals Community Advisory Boards How big? Who serves? How selected? How often do they meet? Other proposals General public surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings Required participation of station management on community boards Publicize phone number and on-air for complaints

13 Programming issues Control over network programming including prior review Voice-tracking disclosure (do viewers know where programming originates?) National playlists – not proposing ban on national playlist, but perhaps disclosures of how music is selected, which could be considered at renewal time as part of evaluation of whether station served the local public interest

14 More Programming Issues Mandatory programming percentages Local programs Other requirements? News Civic Electoral Religious Addressing needs of underserved groups Independent Mandatory PSAs

15 Indecency – Still an Issue Two TV Decisions in February– raced though the FCC at the last minute Increased fines - $325,000 per Incident Court has thrown out fleeting indecency fines But appeal to Supreme Court is pending, as is Congressional action and, remember, it’s an election year (and Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda didn’t help any)

16 Performance Royalty for Radio Proposal to Force Radio to pay not only composers (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) but also performers of music Bills introduced in both House and Senate Copyright Royalty Board would decide royalty Based on satellite radio decision, CRB could see the royalty as having a value as high as 20% of gross revenue Small station provisions

17 Streaming Royalties – Still an Issue For use of recorded music on the Internet $.0015 per ‘Performance” – i.e. per song per listener Must track performances – no more aggregate tuning hours Must report all music played for 2 weeks each quarter No bills sent, you must report and pay SoundExchange Up to $.0018 in 2009, $.0019 in 2010 Appeals pending

18 DTV Transition Publicity New Order released in early March Two options on publicity for commercial broadcaster plus one for noncommercial stations Detailed menu of required PSAs and crawls New FCC Form 388 No requirement for translators, but urge that they begin notification about converted boxes that don’t pass analog signals

19 Other Issues LPFM preferences over translators and full-power station upgrades FM translators for AM stations Advertising Issues Embedded ads Payola VNRs Enhanced power for HD radio Final issues on DTV transition

20 Oldies But Goodies Tower issues EAS violations Contests No airing phone calls without permission Manned main studio EEO

21 More than Enough to Keep You Busy! (and me too)

22 2008 – What to Worry About From Washington David Oxenford


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