Free, over-the-air television and radio; community-based, low-power FM radio stations; public radio and television; and the obligations of licensees to serve the public interest. A key principle of federal communications law is that in exchange for free use of the public airwaves broadcasters agree to take actions to benefit the public. These principles are enshrined in the Radio Act of 1927 and the Communications Act of 1934 in the mandate that "broadcasting serve the public interest, convenience and necessity."
Broadcasters are telling the Federal Communications Commission that the current pandemic provides even more argument for loosening broadcast ownership regulations.
74 senators cosigned a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought to support radio and televisions broadcasters and local newspapers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our radio and television broadcasters and rural newspapers provide local and national news, emergency alerts, educational programs, and more to all corners of the United States.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced the tentatively for the agenda for the May Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, 2020:
Here We Go (Again): FCC Media Ownership Policy, Prometheus Radio Project and (now) the Supreme Court
On April 17, the FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters each filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s 2019 decision in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC. The decision was the fourth in a line of intertwined cases dealing with the agency’s media ownership policies since 2004. In Prometheus IV, the Third Circuit remanded the diametrically opposed FCC’s media ownership decisions in 2016 and 2017, as well as the agency’s 2018 incubator program.
Federal Communications Commission General Counsel Tom Johnson joined The Federalist to discuss why the commission quickly shot down a recent emergency petition from advocacy group Free Press asking the agency to investigate what it calls bogus coronavirus information from talk radio and White House task force briefings.
Chairman Pai's Response to Rep. Pallone and Rep. Doyle Regarding a Broadcast Station's Right to Air Legally Protected Speech
On April 2, House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to reassure broadcasters that the FCC will not revoke licenses for airing legally protected speech.
The Solicitor General of the United States, on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission, has asked the Supreme Court to review a US Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning most of the FCC's media ownership deregulation decision, hammering the circuit for what the FCC suggested was serial obstruction of what it had concluded was in the public interest. The FCC said that it has been trying to grant the ownership deregulation for 17 years, thwarted by a series of decisions by a divided panel of the Third Circuit.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating a draft letter to be sent to the White House requesting additional relief targeted specifically at local newsrooms. The letter asks President Trump to:
President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is suing a Wisconsin TV station for running an anti-Trump commercial that pieces together audio clips of the president talking about the coronavirus outbreak in a way they argue is misleading and false. The ad by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA features a series of soundbites in which Trump downplayed the threat posed by the virus, while a chart that is splashed across the screen gradually begins to shoot upward as cases of the virus skyrocketed across the US.
The Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau issued a temporary, limited waiver to TV broadcasters to enable them to more easily air live and taped same-day local content, like religious services, during time slots regularly dedicated to children's programming