Category Archives: Legislative Update

New Self-Regs For Sports Gambling Ads Similar to Alcohol’s

According to a report in InsideRadio, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has issued a new set of self-regulations for sports betting advertising and marketing. Its  new “Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering”  has parallels to restrictions placed on alcohol advertising.

The new code comes on the first anniversary of the Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which paved the way for the new industry to flourish. It applies to both traditional and digital media marketing and includes self-imposed restrictions on target audiences, outlets and branding materials.

The AGA has traditionally represented the $261 billion U.S. casino industry. But with legalized wagering on sporting events a relatively new activity in a growing number of states, the trade association says it’s extending its compliance commitments to address new concerns that have sprung up, according to the report.

Using gambling and casino advertising as a forerunner of what’s to come, Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell last year forecast about $300 million in new ad revenue for radio from sports betting.


What Do New Drug Ad Price Disclosures Mean for TV?

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a new rule requiring that prescription drug advertising on TV contain certain price information.

Specifically, the HHS will require TV ads for prescription drugs covered by Medicare or Medicaid to include the list price for a month’s supply or for the usual course of therapy, if that price is $35 or more. What will be the effect of this rule on TV?

Read David Oxenford’s blog post on the issue here

MAB Hosts State Capitol Advocacy Day

State Senator Jim Runestad, R-15 (left),and MAB Board of Directors Member Rob David (right).

On May 14, the MAB hosted its annual State Capitol Advocacy Day,  an event that brought many broadcasters to Lansing to meet with the state lawmakers on the issues affecting our industry.

Overall, MAB members met with 54 legislative offices during the Advocacy Day.

We discussed the need to reform public notice, our support for legislation to create open records for the State Legislature and the Governor’s office, updated the state legislature on the spectrum repacking efforts. The MAB also hosted a legislative lunch for the lawmakers and staff.

We thank our members for their participation!





Video Looking at the Basics of the Online Public Inspection File and Quarterly Issues Programs Lists

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Looking for a brief explanation of the online public inspection file and Quarterly Issues Programs List, and how they will be viewed in connection with the upcoming license renewal cycle – including the potential fines for violations of the rules? The Indiana Broadcasters has just released this video of me discussing those issues available here.

We have written in more depth about these issues, including our discussion of the importance of the online public file for the renewal process (here and here), the importance of Quarterly Issues Programs lists (here) and the required content of the online public file (here and here). With the license renewal filing process starting for radio stations in June (see the schedule of filing for stations, which is done on a state by state basis, here) and for TV a year later, these obligations, while basic, are very important. So if you have questions about these issues, check out these resources, and contact your own legal advisor for more information.

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.

NTCA asks FCC to Expand Ownership Ban

According to a report in TVNewsCheck, the Internet and Television Association (NTCA) urged the agency to tighten the rules barring a single company from owning multiple network affiliate stations in the same market. The group wants the FCC to extend the ban beyond the four major broadcast networks to include multicast streams and low-power stations.

The NAB commented on the ownership issue by calling for a lifting of the top-four ban in all markets. “Treating multicast streams, satellites and LPTVs as stations subject to the local TV rule generally, or the top-four stricture specifically, would be arbitrary and capricious because they are not equivalent to the full-service TV stations regulated under the FCC’s ownership rules. The current across-the-board rule is divorced from competitive reality in two important ways,” the NAB stated. “First, the restriction is based on the premise that TV stations only compete for audiences and advertisers against other TV stations in the same market…. Second, [it] fails to take account of actual competitive conditions in any local market.”

AG Forms Marijuana Workgroup

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Attorney General Dana Nessel formed a new legal workgroup that will review and make opinions on laws and regulations regarding the use of both medical and recreational marijuana.

The group aims to “avoid the years of uncertainty, lawsuits” that followed the 2008 approval of the medical marijuana initiative and recreational ballot proposal passage in 2018.

The following individuals were named to the group: Marijuana Regulation Bureau Director Andrew Brisbo, Ingham Circuit Judge James Giddings, assistant attorneys general Robyn Frankel and John Pallas, State Police Lt. Chris Hawkins, Livonia City Attorney Paul Bernier, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan President Dale Hilson, State Appellate Defender Office Director Jonathan Sacks, chair of the State Bar of Michigan marijuana law section Robert Hendricks and section member Daniel Grow, Michigan Cannabis Industry Association political director Margeaux Bruner, Marijuana Regulation Bureau legal division director Adam Sandoval, Prosecuting Attorneys Association traffic safety resource prosecutor Kenneth Stecker and lawyers Bob Baldori and Barton Morris Jr.

Federal Court Orders New Maps for State’s U.S. House Seats, Legislature

A three-judge federal panel unanimously ruled last week that the 2011 district reapportionment plan for the state’s 14 U. S. House districts, 38 Michigan Senate districts and 110 Michigan House districts is unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.

The court also ordered that the new map for the Michigan Senate would be used in a special 2020 election for the upper chamber which is not scheduled to stand for election until 2022.

The court called for the Legislature to pass remedial plans by August 1 with the court to evaluate the constitutionality of those maps. If the Legislature and the Governor cannot agree on new district maps by August 1, the court said that it would draw its own remedial maps.

On Monday, Republicans in the state Senate filed their intent to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Annual EEO Report Due in Public Files By June 1. Have You Checked Your Online Public File?

In a post on his Broadcast Law Blog, MAB Washington attorney David Oxenford reminds Michigan broadcasters that are part of an Employment Unit with 5 or more full-time employees should be preparing to add to their online public inspection file their Annual EEO Public File Report – due to be added to their files by June 1.

A complete list of additional dates in May broadcasters may want to take note of, including commenting on rulemaking regarding all-digital AM broadcasting, updating C-band satellite  information with the Commission as well as other proceedings can be found in Oxenford’s blog post here.

Have you checked your online public inspection file?  The MAB would like to remind broadcasters the importance of keeping their online public inspection file current, especially those quarterly issues and programs list are required to be placed in the public file on 10th day of April, July, October and January for the preceding three months.

You can check your public file here by entering your call letters in the search box.

David Oxenford has reminded broadcasters that the FCC, or interested public-interest groups, will be able to raise questions about a station’s compliance with the rules from afar – just by looking at the online public file.  The FCC has been fining stations with incomplete public files and this could also affect a station’s license at renewal time.  Read more here.

Remember that an MAB ABIP inspection includes a confidential review and report of a station’s public file.  More information on the MAB ABIP program is available here.


Senator Peters Sponsors PIRATE ACT

Michigan Senator Gary Peters

Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) along with Montana Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced legislation to combat pirate radio in the Senate. S. 1228 has been referred to the Senate committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Radio pirates cause real economic harm to broadcasters and signal interference inhibits broadcasters’ ability to serve their communities.

The MAB greatly appreciate Senator Peters’ leadership on this issue.

Should Michigan Broadcasters accept advertising for CBD products?

By:  John J. Ronayne III, Bernardi, Ronayne & Glusac
MAB Michigan Legal Attorney

The short answer is probably “no.”


John J. Ronayne III

First, a little chemistry. CBD is a shorthand term for cannabidiol, which can be extracted from various strains of the Cannabis sativa plant. The more notorious extract of Cannabis sativa is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the psychoactive chemical commonly associated with a marijuana high. There are two well-known strains of Cannabis sativa, marijuana and hemp. Hemp has a significantly lower concentration of THC.

The emergence of CBD advertising opportunities for Michigan Broadcasters is the result of Michigan’s original legalization of medical marijuana, and its more recent legalization of recreational marijuana. These developments in state law, however, are not the panacea that they might first appear to be. Federal laws on this subject remain in effect.They are unaffected by Michigan law and are markedly more restrictive than Michigan law. Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.

Recall that CBD can be derived from either marijuana or hemp. If derived from marijuana, CBD is clearly illegal under federal law. Those who advertise it do so at risk of a federal felony. If the CBD is derived from hemp, the result is arguably quite different. In light of its commercial uses and markedly lower concentrations of THC, hemp was removed from Schedule I by the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act. Thus, CBD which has been extracted from legally-produced hemp is legal under federal law. Notice the phrase “ legally produced.”

The recent legalization of hemp contemplates fairly elaborate government regulation. That is only now in the process of of being implemented. At least one goal of the regulatory effort is to insure that the hemp being produced for commercial purposes contains no more than the .3% legal limit of THC. In any event, the chances that any of the currently available CBD products were derived from “legally produced” hemp are remote. In consequence, it is highly likely that any CBD products currently being offered are marijuana-derived and the sale or advertising of them is a violation of federal law.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has made it clear in a public statement that it prohibits the sale of CBD products for human consumption.

Now the last twist. CBD is now a prescription drug. Last June the government approved an epilepsy drug, Epidiolex, the main ingredient of which is CBD. A federal law prohibits the use of such medicines in food and drink products. Relying on this law, local authorities have been citing restaurants and bars that feature CBD on their menus (WSJ, 3/29/19).

The current CBD landscape is unclear, and there is nothing that would cause a change in prior guidance. While awaiting further developments, the current recommendation is that the advertising of CBD products exposes Michigan broadcasters to significant risk.