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Posts Tagged ‘Mignon Clyburn’

FCC Commissioner Wants to Give Small Business a Break in Proposed SSA Ban

FCC_304FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said she wants to protect small businesses from the agency’s attempt to ban station groups’ use of shared services agreements.

Clyburn told Bloomberg section 257 of the Communications Act of 1934 calls for the “FCC to identify and eliminate, through regulatory action, market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses.”

She said “she wants ‘the ability to uphold those standards and those goals,’” and added, “This is an item that is still very fluid and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues because we all in the end I believe want the same thing: to achieve balance.”

Clyburn today said there “will be a pathway for waivers if something does not neatly fit in the decision which we lay out.” The commission is trying to work out “ways that we can make that clearer and more efficient” before the vote. Read more

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Tom Wheeler Confirmed as Head of FCC

wheeler_usaTom Wheeler has been confirmed by the Senate as FCC Chairman.

According to The New York Times, “The vote came after Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, lifted a hold earlier in the day on the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman, with Mr. Cruz saying he had received assurances from him that the commission would not immediately pursue changes for political advertising on television.”

Along with Wheeler’s confirmation, the Senate OK’d President Obama’s nomination of Michael O’Reilly as FCC commissioner. The two seats had been vacant since previous chairman Julius Genachowski and commissioner Robert McDowell both stepped down in March.

Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn congratulated the two on their confirmation, “The FCC family enthusiastically welcomes both Tom and Michael. I look forward to working with them, along with my current colleagues at the Commission, to further communications policies that advance the public interest, bolster competition, empower consumers, and spur new waves of innovation that grow our economy and create jobs.”

FCC Set to Allow More Foreign Investment in Local TV

FCC_304In its November meeting, the FCC said it will consider opening up local radio and TV stations in the US to more foreign investment.

Acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement, “Today, I circulated a declaratory ruling that clears the way for increased access to capital and potential new investors for the broadcast sector. Approval of this item will clarify the Commission’s intention to review, on a case-by-case basis, proposed transactions that would exceed the 25 percent benchmark that restricts foreign ownership in companies holding broadcast licenses.”

According to the Minority Media & Telecom Council, the proposal would help minority broadcasters. “Relaxation of the rules would provide new sources of capital for all broadcasters and, especially, minority broadcasters to grow their operations in this country.” The council also said it believes the move would open up American investment in foreign countries.

Commissioner Ajit Pai said he thinks the proposal modernizes “the agency’s approach to foreign investment in the broadcasting business.” Pai added, “Under our rules, a foreign company can indirectly hold more than a one-quarter stake in our nation’s largest wireless carriers, cable operators, cable programmers, and Internet backbone providers. Yet that company cannot own a similar interest in a single radio station in rural Kansas.”

FCC Stepping In to Resolve Time Warner/CBS Dispute

Bloomberg is reporting the Federal Communications Commission has stepped in to resolve the long running dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS.

“The commission is engaged at the highest levels with the respective parties and working to bring the impasse to an end,” agency spokesman, Justin Cole said. “We urge all parties to resolve this matter as quickly as possible so consumers can access the programming they rely on and are paying for.”

According to AdWeek, the dispute has left more than 3 million cable subscribers without CBS shows. The dispute over retransmission fees has stretched into its 26th day and includes major markets such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Though it remains to be seen just what the FCC is doing to end the impasse, the news of its involvement comes after the commission’s acting Chair Mignon Clyburn said she was “really distressed” over the dispute.

Bloomberg also reports a Time Warner spokesperson told them company executives have updated the commission on the status of negotiations twice in the last seven days. They said CBS declined to comment.

Station Groups Remind FCC to Keep Wireless Mic Channels After Spectrum Auction

Expressing concern for what they see as “little or no apparent effort” to  protect the current spectrum broadcasters use for wireless mic frequencies, several station groups including Nexstar, Sinclair and FOX Television Stations have asked the FCC to keep them in mind when it undertakes its upcoming spectrum auction and subsequent channel repack.

“We urge you to preserve the two channels set aside for wireless microphone use in each market so that we can continue to provide Americans with an essential public service,” the broadcasters wrote in a letter to acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. “Without interference-free wireless microphones, newsgatherers simply would lack a reliable way to deliver the live, breaking news that all Americans – regardless of the medium they interact with – find important in their daily lives.”

The letter asks the Commission to maintain two channels per market for wireless mic transmissions. “To be clear, we are not seeking any new accommodations or set asides; rather, we are asking only that the Commission preserve the status quo so that we can be assured of having a place to operate post-auction.”

The letter ends by letting the FCC know emergency coverage like that seen in the Boston Marathon bombings, the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Superstorm Sandy may not be possible without the availability of clear wireless channels,  “The Commission should not take lightly the risk of interference depriving consumers of audio from breaking news and emergency events.”

[TVNewsCheck]

FCC Acting Chairwoman ‘Really Distressed’ Over Time Warner/CBS Dispute

Broadcasting & Cable reports, Mignon Clyburn, the acting chairwoman of the FCC, has expressed her frustration with the lack of progress in the ongoing retransmission dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS during a press conference after the commission’s monthly public meeting.

“Quite frankly I am deeply disappointed that the parties seem to be unable to reach a retransmission agreement,” Clyburn said. “I am really distressed that consumers and viewers are being adversely affected and my primary concern remains with them. We will continue to urge both parties to stay and resolve in good faith this issue as soon as possible.”

Time Warner Cable pulled CBS owned stations from its system because of a dispute over retransmission fees. Time Warner subscribers in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and other owned station markets have been blacked out since last Friday.

CBS executive vice president Martin Franks confirmed with CBS moneywatch yesterday the two sides have resumed negotiations.

New Jersey Senator Says News Corp. and WWOR Not Serving State

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (D) has added his voice to those calling for the FCC to look into FOX owned MyNetworkTV affiliate WWOR before renewing its license.

In a letter addressed to acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, Menendez wrote, “In light of WWOR’s decision to drop their nightly news programming, a decision which affects millions of New Jerseyans, it is becoming increasingly critical that the FCC make a determination about WWOR’s license and whether they are adequately serving New Jersey as the law and FCC rules stipulate.  From my perspective, News Corporation is not.”

Last week FOX announced it was dropping the station’s lone newscast at 10:00pm and replacing it with “Chasing New Jersey,” a 30-minute show focusing on “issues driving conversations” in the state.

Yesterday, WWOR vice president and general manager Dianne Doctor defended the switch saying, “Based in Trenton, ‘Chasing NJ’ is a news program immersed in all aspects of the state. Politics. People. Issues. It’s enterprise journalism that no one else is doing.” Read more

New Jersey Senate Hopeful Wants FCC to Revoke WWOR’s License

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democratic New Jersey congressman running for Senate, is asking the FCC to revoke the license of WWOR, the state’s only high-powered commercial TV station.

FOX, which owns WWOR, announced last week it was pulling the station’s only newscast and replacing it with “Chasing New Jersey” a 30-minute show focused on “issues driving conversations” in the state.

Pallone voiced his thoughts on twitter by saying, “WWOR’s cancellation of nightly news fails New Jerseyans who want & deserve local news coverage. FCC must take action.”

>UPDATE: WWOR vice president and station manager, Dianne Doctor said in a statement sent to TVSpy, “Based in Trenton, ‘Chasing NJ’ is a news program immersed in all aspects of the state. Politics. People. Issues. It’s enterprise journalism that no one else is doing.”

In a letter to acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, Pallone wrote, “WWOR has failed for over a decade to live up to its broadcasting obligations to New Jersey. In addition, since purchasing WWOR in 2001, News Corporation, now 21st Century Fox, has done everything they can to avoid any commitment to serve as a truly New Jersey station.” Read more

Small Market Stations To FCC: Shared Service Agreements Necessary For Survival

Representatives from small-market local stations met with the FCC this week to argue the case for shared service agreements in the local news landscape, saying that such agreements can be necessary to survival for cash-strapped stations. Broadcasting & Cable has more details:

In their pitch to staffers with commissioners Robert McDowell and Mignon Clyburn, representatives of the Coalition of Smaller-Market Television Stations, the markets where FCC rules limit joint ownership, said that such agreements allow stations to preserve local -programming. They also tried to put in context the financial pressures on smaller stations that make such arrangements necessary.

According to data submitted to the FCC and based on NAB TV financial Surveys, the pre-tax profit average for markets 50-210 went from $908,462 in 1999 to only $42,003 in 2009, the last year for which figures were shown.  Read more