Tag Archives: Issue 93

Court of Appeals Rejects Petitions, New Ownership Rules Go In Effect

According to Scott Flick, communications attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC, the Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected the efforts of petitioners to block the implementation of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s changes to the broadcast ownership rules.

“That means the changes to the TV duopoly rule, as well as elimination of the radio-TV and newspaper cross-ownership rules, went into effect (on February 7),” Flick said.

“The court also suspended it’s consideration of the appeal for six months because the FCC is still in the process of taking comments on its incubator program to encourage new entrants in broadcasting.  That means the new rules will likely stay in place for the rest of this year before the court considers the pending appeals.”

Bill Calls for University Reporting of Legal Settlements

State Rep. Jim Runestad (R-44) is working to introduce legislation that would require the state’s public universities and colleges to report legal fees to Michigan Legislature.

According to a report in Gongwer, the upcoming bill would require a report of all costs incurred with any civil or criminal case, filed or anticipated, against the university or any of its officials, agents or employees. The fees would include legal settlements, attorney fees, witness or other fees and court costs.

“Current events have shown the necessity of requiring information from universities on their expenditures pertaining to lawsuits,” Runestad said in a statement. “Without legislative oversight universities have demonstrated they are emboldened to violate free speech rights of students as well as potentially abuse the public trust.”

FCC to Randomly Inspect TV Stations Repacked by the Incentive Auction

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,

On February 5, the FCC released a Public Notice indicating that they will be inspecting approximately 60 of the over 900 TV stations changing channels as a result of the incentive auction and the repacking of the TV spectrum that took place after that auction. The FCC notice says that it is hiring contract employees who will conduct these inspections on a randomly selected set of stations to assess the equipment that they have on hand and will be replacing when moving to their new channel. The stations are seeking reimbursement from the FCC’s $1.75 billion pool of money set aside to reimburse stations for equipment that needs to be replaced to allow the stations to operate on their new channels.

The notice says that the FCC will be assessing the “existence and functionality” of the equipment for which reimbursement is sought. The FCC seems to be saying that it will be making sure that stations really have the equipment that they are seeking to replace through reimbursement funds. The “functionality” aspect may be an assessment as to whether that equipment really needs to be replaced, though the notice does not specifically make that statement. The approximately 60 stations selected at random will be used as a statistical sample to assess the reliability of repacking estimates provided by stations to the FCC. Nothing forecloses the FCC from conducting further audits in the future. So if you have a TV station that has been repacked, and the FCC comes knocking, you will know what the inspection is all about.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.

Broadcasters and Lawmakers Meet at MAB’s Legislative Reception

The MAB Annual  Legislative Reception will take place from 5:30  to 7:00 p.m. on March 7 at the Lansing Center as part of the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.

We encourage you to attend and to get acquainted with the key policy-makers who support our industry! As lawmakers work on creating public policy, it is important they hear from you, their constituents, about how their decisions influence Michigan’s broadcast media.

We need your presence and your voice to ensure that state laws and regulations do not burden your station’s priorities!

The Legislative Reception is free of charge to all members and will include a Walk-Around Dinner. The reception takes place just prior to the Broadcast Excellence Awards. Click here to register now to attend the Legislative Reception and the rest to the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.

‘ALERT’ Act Gives the Feds Sole Responsibility to Notify the Public of a Missile Threat

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have introduced the “Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats (ALERT) Act.” They say this bill would improve the emergency alert system and give the federal government the sole responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat, prohibiting state and local governments from doing so.

The ALERT Act also mandates the following:

  1. Requires FEMA to establish a process to notify state authorities when a missile alert is issued so they can activate their own protective action plans to ensure public safety;
  2. Requires the IPAWS subcommittee of the FEMA National Advisory Council to make recommendations on the best practices that state and local governments should follow to maintain the integrity of IPAWS.
  3. Requires FEMA to establish minimum requirements for state and local governments to participate in IPAWS within 120 days of receiving the subcommittee’s recommendations.
  4. Requires FEMA to establish a process to test the incident management and warning tool that a state or local government adopts to originate and send alerts to the public in the FEMA IPAWS Lab
  5. Requires FEMA to review its Emergency Operations, National Watch and Regional Watch Centers to assess their ability to track state and local alerts issued under IPAWS and determine which ones they should be notified about when states send them out.

2018 Tornado Drill Scheduled

The 2018 Severe Weather/Tornado Drill EAS Alert is scheduled for  April 11, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.

However this year, Michigan will not be running a “TOR” test as in the past.  After two years of difficulties the test, the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) elected to run the EAS Required Monthly Test (RMT) in place of a live TOR test, with some additional language mentioning how EAS can alert in the event of severe weather.

This should be good news for most broadcasters.  An RMT makes all broadcaster participation possible, since they are required to run the monthly test anyway; and it makes it easier as they do not have to air it “live”, interrupting their programming and/or commercials. They can delay it and air at the next natural break, if they choose.  It is just a routine event.

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB), on behalf of all Michigan Broadcasters, received a waiver from the FCC to run the April RMT in the daytime hours, a month where it would normally air at night/overnight.

The test is a joint effort of the MAB, Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division as well as the National Weather Service.

More information to come, but please mark your calendars.


Come to the #MABshow, ‘Double Your Audience’

Paige Nienaber

Radio and TV seem unable to get more than about 4 percent of the audience to engage and participate in on-air contesting. So if you were able to double that, you’d be a star. Paige Nienaber will show you how at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.

The Great Lakes Media Show, formerly the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC) will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Register to attend by February 16 to take advantage of discounted rates.

Now serving as the Minister Of Good Times at Clifton Radio & CPR,  Nienaber got into promotions in radio after failing at being on the air. And that would be “Fail” with a capital F. After working at stations in Portland, Minneapolis, Charlotte and San Francisco he began consulting stations on marketing and promotions and currently works with more than 200 stations across the United States  and Canada. ​

Nienaber will present the #MABshow breakout session “Double your Audience,” on March 7. Learn more about him and other dynamic speakers lined up for the event at GreatLakesMediaShow.com