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BUSINESS
January 19, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The big television networks have faced all number of challenges in recent years. But they could be done in by something called Aereo. Most people probably haven't heard of Aereo, which has been rolling out its video service for just over a year and still serves only 10 cities, none further west than Salt Lake. But millions will be hearing about it now, because on Jan. 10, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the broadcasters' complaints that Aereo's business dramatically breaches telecommunications and copyright law. The New York start-up offers its subscribers signals from their local over-the-air broadcasters in a way that is either a minor tweak of how they can get those signals on their own (that's Aereo's version)
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Remember when you had to jiggle an antenna on your TV set to get good reception for a UHF signal? Well, those days are long gone and the Federal Communications Commission thinks it is time to stop treating a UHF channel as a weak sister to a VHF channel. For those of you born after the days of rabbit ears, UHF stands for ultra high frequency and refers to channels above 13. A UHF signal was not as strong as a VHF signal. VHF stands for very high frequency and refers to channels 2 through 13. Why "ultra" was weaker than "very" when it seems that it should have been the other way around will just have to remain a mystery.
BUSINESS
April 28, 2012 | By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times
Soon, anyone who wants to know how much a political candidate spent on a commercial will be able to find out with the click of a button. The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to require local television stations to publish on their websites detailed information about political advertising, including the cost of specific commercials. Although such material is already required to be made available to the public, anyone seeking to know what candidates are spending, and on what programs, typically has to visit a local television station and make a request to see what's known as the "public files.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 1996
Congratulations to the TV Campaign '96 Coalition for trying to convince local commercial television stations to provide daily coverage of election issues ("Most L.A. TV Stations Refuse to Set Aside Time for Issues," Calendar, Sept. 23). It is dismaying, but not surprising, to learn that some broadcasters feel they have no role to play in encouraging the development of a more knowledgeable electorate. By shirking this responsibility, broadcasters are violating the public trust that should accompany their licenses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 1992
So after spending years bullying the networks into accepting guidelines for the depiction of violence, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) now bemoans that the guidelines "lack teeth" because they can't be enforced by law. Damn right! Maybe he's forgotten, but there's a thing called the First Amendment that prevents government from proscribing what its citizens may see and say. Ultimately, there's only one solution--abolish the FCC (at least as far as it has power to control content). After over half a century of operating by leave of the government, let broadcasters take their rightful place alongside book, magazine and newspaper publishers and let the public truly decide what it wants.
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