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August 23, 2010
Musicians have long sought to collect royalties from radio stations that broadcast their recordings, but the courts and Congress have refused to extend copyrights to recorded musical performances. Instead, copyrights cover just the compositions. Now, under pressure from top lawmakers, negotiators for broadcasters and record companies are closing in on a royalties deal that would require local stations to pay a fraction of their revenue — as little as $100 for small and noncommercial stations or as much as 1% for large commercial broadcasters — to labels and artists annually.
June 22, 2012 | By Joe Flint and David Savage, Los Angeles Times
Broadcast television isn't going to look like cable television any time soon. In a much-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court declined Thursday to address whether the Federal Communications Commission's indecency rules - and how they are enforced - are unconstitutional. That determination vacated a lower court ruling that the FCC's enforcement of its indecency rules was unconstitutional. The ruling, which arose from a legal battle over the indecency rules between the FCC, News Corp.'s Fox and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, means that broadcast TV will continue to have to steer clear of the swear words and nudity that have become prevalent on much of cable television, especially during hours when children might be in the viewing audience.
December 13, 2012 | By Meg James
CALM wasn't easy to achieve. CALM Act, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation law, which limits the volume of TV commercials, took effect Thursday. It requires broadcasters to ensure that TV commercials maintain the same volume as the entertainment programming in which they are contained. The legislative effort was begun more than four years ago by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Menlo Park), who was blasted by blaring ads on TV during a family holiday gathering. “This has been a top consumer complaint for decades,” Eshoo said during a news conference Thursday in Washington.
March 31, 2014 | By Joe Flint
The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules Monday that will greatly reduce and potentially bring to an end the popular practice of business partnerships between competing local television stations. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said such partnerships have been abused by many broadcasters who have used so-called joint sales agreements to get around the regulatory agency's rules limiting the number of television stations a broadcaster can own. The new guidelines are seen as a blow to several big broadcasters including Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Broadcasting, two of the nation's largest owners of local television stations.
January 7, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Aereo, the start-up company that transmits local broadcast television signals via the Internet, said it has raised $34 million in a new round of financing that it will use to expand its service, which is currently available in 10 cities. Among Aereo's new backers is Gordy Crawford, a well-known figure in media circles who retired last year from Capital Research and Management, where he oversaw the firm's entertainment and media investments for decades. Crawford is very close to media mogul Barry Diller, whose company IAC is a key investor in Aereo.
March 21, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Media General is acquiring LIN Media for $1.6 billion in stock and cash, the companies said Friday. The combination of Media General and LIN will create a local broadcasting giant that will own and operate 74 television stations in 46 mostly midsized and smaller markets. Overall, Media General and LIN will have a nationwide reach of about 23%. Only Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns and operates almost 170 outlets, will be bigger than the new Media General in terms of television stations.
October 25, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Are pay-TV distributors DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications looking to create their own version of Aereo -- the start-up that transmits the over-the-air broadcast television signals to consumers via the Internet? That's what a story from Bloomberg suggests. The motivation is simple enough. If the cable and satellite guys can come up with their own way to distribute broadcast signals to consumers without having to pay broadcasters, it could save them a bundle of money in so-called retransmission consent fees.
September 28, 2012 | By Joe Flint
The Federal Communications Commission has put the wheels in motion to take some airwaves from broadcasters and auction that spectrum for wireless broadband. In a 5-0 vote Friday the FCC issued what is known as a notice of proposed rulemaking, which is a first step toward determining how its airwaves auction will work. Broadcasters are being asked to voluntarily give up some of their spectrum, which will then be auctioned off to wireless companies. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the wireless industry believe that the nation is running out of spectrum for new platforms and mobile devices, particularly in large urban areas.
June 12, 2012 | By Jon Healey
This post has been updated, as indicated below. Unless the Federal Communications Commission swoops in, Tuesday could be a belated day of reckoning for cable TV customers with old-school analog sets. Local television stations shut off their analog broadcasts three years ago, forcing anyone who relied on over-the-air signals to switch to swap their analog TVs for digital ones or, more affordably, buy digital-to-analog converter boxes. The latter cost about $50, but the feds offered to subsidize the purchase of up to two boxes per home, cutting the price to about $10. Most cable TV subscribers, however, didn't have to worry about the change in technology.
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