Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Upcoming FCC Deadlines for LPTV Licensees

As the calendar turns to September, it means barbecues, the end of summer, and back-to-school. For broadcasters, it also means a number of approaching FCC deadlines – many of which extend to low-power TV and TV translator stations.

Below are some of the key deadlines you should be aware of in the coming months.

  • September 20, 2023 – FY 2023 Regulatory Fee Payments Due

Each year, FCC-regulated entities are required to pay annual regulatory fees to fund the FCC’s operations. The fees apply to all FCC authorizations held as of October 1, 2022, even if the station is silent or the license was surrendered for cancellation after that date. For stations that were assigned or transferred after October 1, 2022, the current licensee is responsible for payment.

The FCC’s 2023 Schedule of Regulatory Fees for full-power television stations is located here, for other selected fees (e.g. LPTV, Class A, earth stations) here, and for radio stations here.

There is a de minimis threshold of $1,000. If the sum of all regulatory fees you owe in FY 2023 is $1,000 or less, you do not have to pay regulatory fees for FY 2023.

Fees should be paid through the CORES website, which can be found here. Payments received after the deadline will be assessed a 25% late payment penalty.

For more information about the Commission’s regulatory fee procedures, please review this website or contact the FCC Financial Operations Help Desk at (877) 480-3201, Option 6.

  • October 1, 2023 – MVPD Carriage Elections for Eligible Stations

Every three years, full-power television stations and qualified LPTV stations must elect whether they wish to exercise their must-carry rights with cable and satellite providers or whether they would prefer to negotiate for retransmission consent. Stations must make their elections for the 2024-2026 cycle by October 1, 2023.

There are very few “qualified low power stations” under the FCC’s rules. A station is only a qualified low power station if: (1) the station’s community of license and the franchise area of the cable system are both located outside the largest 160 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and the population of the community of license on June 30, 1990 did not exceed 35,000 ; (2) there is no full-power TV station licensed to any community within the county served by the cable system; (3) the station is located no more than 35 miles from the cable system’s principal headend; and (4) the station complies with other operational requirements. Class A TV stations are only eligible for must-carry if they meet the definition of a qualified low-power station.

Since 2020, broadcasters have made their carriage elections by email and through a statement uploaded to a station’s public inspection file.

  • October 4, 2023 – Nationwide EAS Test

On October 4, 2023, at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS test will be disseminated through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) in English and Spanish as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message with the Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System (NPT) code.

All EAS Participants, including most LPTV stations, are required to participate in the test. TV translator stations and stations that are satellites or repeaters of a hub station and “rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming” of that primary or hub station are exempt. TV translator stations should check their station designation in LMS to confirm that they are designated as translators and not LPTV stations.

Following the test, EAS participants must submit “day-of-test” information by filing ETRS Form Two on or before October 5, 2023 and submit detailed post-test data by filing ETRS Form Three on or before November 20, 2023.

The ETRS forms can be accessed here.

  • December 1, 2023 – Biennial Ownership Reports Due

Beginning on October 2, 2023, the FCC will open a window during which licensees of commercial and non-commercial full-power television, Class A television, LPTV, AM radio, and FM radio stations must file their required biennial ownership reports. The reports should reflect the ownership report of each station as of October 1, 2023, and be filed by December 1, 2023.

The FCC has made clear that it expects licensees of LPTV stations and any entity in the ownership chain to file biennial ownership reports. There are no exceptions even if you do not own any full power stations.

As always, if you have any questions about these requirements or other legal obligations, you should contact a qualified FCC attorney.

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When Leaders Fail to Lead: Overcoming Poor Leadership

We've all experienced it - the leader who lacks vision, shirks responsibility, or fails to inspire. Yet, in these moments of poor leadership, hope is not lost. With wisdom, courage and unity, you and your team can overcome ineffective leadership.

A Tribe Adrift

A long time ago, in a land of dense jungles and raging rivers, lived the Luku tribe. During Chief Waziri's rule, the Luku flourished. But when his son, Chief Akono, rose to power, troubles emerged. Obsessed with wealth, Chief Akono made selfish choices that prioritized riches over people. His apathy left the tribe untethered and demoralized. Production languished, and discontent brewed.

The Path Forward

After months of stagnation, the council of elders convened in secret. "Chief Akono has failed us," they lamented. Yet wallowing in disappointment would not spur change. So the elders resolved to guide the tribe themselves.

They reignited the community spirit by organizing shared meals where people felt heard. Production increased as they matched talents to tasks. And Chief Akono's greed was counterbalanced by the council's wisdom. Progress ensued not from the chief's leadership but despite his indifference.

Navigating a Negligent Boss

Mandy found herself in a similar circumstance as an individual - reporting to an incompetent and negligent boss. Like Chief Akono, Mandy's manager, Randy, constantly shirked responsibility. He flaunted rules and displayed no leadership skills.

Without a team for support, Mandy felt alone and overwhelmed. Yet resigning herself to resentment would only harm her wellbeing. So Mandy resolved to improve her circumstances.

She led by focusing on her own development and responded professionally when her boss's shortcomings spilled into public view. Her poise cast the manager's carelessness into stark relief. With time, Mandy's talents illuminated her boss's incompetence.

Lessons for Overcoming Poor Leadership

Whether as a unified team or individual, confronting poor leadership takes:

- Shared Responsibility: Collaborating to fill voids left by an ineffective leader.

- Internal Motivation: Finding encouragement through community and self-development.

- Tactful Confrontation: Responding with empathy and facts, not blame.

- Patience and Resilience: Focusing on incremental progress.

Escalating Egregious Issues

While persevering with patience and professionalism should be the priority, certain egregious circumstances may warrant reporting directly to upper management.

Signs that elevating concerns is justified include:

- Illegal or unethical activity.

- Abuse of power or personnel.

- Conflicts of interest.

- Mismanagement that tangibly harms the organization.

- Valid concerns repeatedly ignored.

Even when escalation is warranted, collect factual documentation and approach leaders calmly and objectively. Focus on solving problems, not punishment.

Leaders who lack self-awareness rarely respond well to public condemnation. Discretion and discernment are key.

The goal of rising above poor leadership is organizational improvement and conflict resolution, not political power plays. With judiciousness and care, escalation can serve as a tool when all other avenues have been exhausted.

The Moral of the Story

Leadership is a collective endeavor. Though progress stalls under poor leadership, hope persists when teams and individuals unite behind purpose. By leaning on camaraderie, accountability and tactical action, we can steer the ship and achieve success, even without a competent captain.


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Mastering the NextGen TV Post Transition

ATSC 3.0 deployments are booming in the U.S. and evolving past the trial phase onto the monetization stage. While the benefits of NextGen TV have been explored extensively, the broadcast community needs a better understanding of ATSC 3.0 business continuity and post-transition strategies.


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Bridge Media Buys Stakes In Cumulus and Audacy

Bridge Media Networks, owned by 5-Hour Energy drink founder Manoj Bhargava, is expanding its media interests by buying stakes in Audacy and Cumulus Media as part of a series of deals that also include television, print, and online media.


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A Business Leader's Success: Anchored in the Triumphs of the Team

In today's leadership thoughts, I'm again bringing a king into the discussion. At lunch today, our office staff had a luncheon for our students and interns that are returning to college classes next week. I marveled as I sat and listened to their banter at the team that does such an excellent job for our clients! They make me look good!

Throughout history, leadership tales, be they of emperors or apostles, have showcased the fundamental principle that no leader stands alone. A true leader's legacy is inextricably linked to the accomplishments of those they lead. In the contemporary business world, this tenet holds more accuracy than ever: a business leader's success depends on the success of their team. Through the allegory of a medieval king and his counsel, this article delves into this very concept.

  1. Vision: A King's Dream and a Counsel's Blueprint

The King's Grand Vision

Once, in a land far, far away, King Aleron dreamt of building the grandest castle the world had ever seen. He envisioned towering spires, sprawling courtyards, and walls adorned with precious gems. Yet, King Aleron, wise as he was, recognized that a vision, no matter how grand, was but a dream without execution.

Vision Actualized Through Teamwork

King Aleron convened the land's finest architects, masons, and artisans. They transformed his dream into actionable plans. While King Aleron was the beacon of inspiration, his team's expertise charted the course. In business, much like in King Aleron's kingdom, a leader's vision gains clarity and direction when the team brings their unique skills and perspectives to the table.

  1. Collaboration: The Foundation of the Grand Castle

A Collective Feat

As construction began, King Aleron soon realized that the castle's grandeur was not built brick by brick but rather through the collective efforts of his people. The masons laid the foundation, the architects ensured structural integrity, and the artisans brought beauty to every corner.

Synergy in Business

In the world of business, a leader's vision is actualized when every team member contributes. Collaborative efforts, where each individual's strengths are harnessed, lead to outcomes more significant than the sum of individual actions. A business leader thrives not by individual prowess but by fostering an environment where collective brilliance shines.

  1. Empowerment: The Artisans' Magic

Unleashing Potential

One day, King Aleron decided to give complete creative freedom to the artisans. What resulted was breathtaking—walls etched with stories of old, ceilings mimicking the night sky, and courtyards blooming in perpetual spring. The castle was no longer just a structure; it was a living testament to the magic of empowerment.

Empowerment in the Business Realm

Much like King Aleron's artisans, when team members are trusted and given autonomy, they unlock levels of creativity and efficiency previously unimagined. By empowering their teams, business leaders foster innovation and instill a sense of ownership and pride in the team's accomplishments.

  1. Acknowledgment: Celebrating the Castle's Artisans

The Grand Feast

Upon the castle's completion, King Aleron organized a grand feast. However, instead of sitting on the throne, he chose a seat among his people. The real guests of honor were the architects, masons, artisans, and all who had toiled day and night. The kingdom sang praises, not just of the castle or the king, but of every hand that had played a part.

Recognizing the Pillars of Success

In business, celebrating team achievements is paramount. Leaders cultivate loyalty, motivation, and a sense of belonging by acknowledging efforts and valuing contributions. True business leaders understand that their accolades are reflections of their team's diligence and dedication.

That's a wrap: The Castle Stands, So Does the Legacy

Years later, when travelers marveled at the castle's magnificence, stories echoed not of a king's dream but of a community's spirit, collaboration, and craftsmanship. Similarly, in the annals of business history, celebrated leaders are those who recognize that their success is deeply intertwined with the success of their teams.

In all its splendor, the castle is a metaphor for a thriving business. And just as King Aleron's legacy was anchored in his team's achievements, a business leader's true success is mirrored in their team's triumphs. For in the grand tapestry of leadership, it is the threads of collaboration, empowerment, vision, and acknowledgment that weave the most compelling stories.

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