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Regulations FAQs

General Terms and Definitions

Class A TV Stations : Congress created a Class A Television Service which, under very specific requirements, provides rights and protections equivalent to full service stations to certain LPTVs that were in operation and met certain other local service requirements at the time the law went into effect in 1999.

Low Power FM Stations (LPFM): LPFM service is noncommercial radio service with licenses available to nonprofit educational organizations that will use the station to advance an educational program, and to government or non-profit entities which will use the station to provide local public safety radio services. Licensees are limited to local entities that are physically headquartered, have a campus or have 75% of their board members residing within 10 miles of the station.

FM Translator Stations: FM translators and FM boosters comprise a low power service on the FM broadcast band (88 to 108 MHz) that complements the primary FM service. Most FM translators or FM boosters may not originate programming, except for limited fundraising efforts in the case of translators. Some FM translators rebroadcasting AM daytime-only stations may also continue to transmit programming when the primary AM station is off the air. FM translator stations rebroadcasting a commercial AM or FM station (the primary station) may be authorized on Channel 221 through 300 (92.1 MHz to 107.9 MHz), while an FM translator rebroadcasting a noncommercial educational station (the primary station) may be authorized on any FM channel (Channels 201 to 300, or 88.1 MHz to 107.9 MHz). The maximum effective radiated power permitted for any FM translator station is 250 watts, while the maximum effective radiated power for an FM booster station is 20% of the main station's maximum class power.

FCC Form 349 is used to file for a construction permit for an FM translator or FM booster station, and FCC Form 350 is used to license that FM translator or FM booster facility once construction has been completed in accordance with the construction permit.

What does radio "band" refer to?: Band is the frequency between two defined points in the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g., the FM band is 88 MHz to 108 MHz).

What are the rules concerning webcasting or streaming?: The term Internet Broadcasting or Webcasting (streaming) generally refers to the dissemination of audio and/or video programming over the Internet. The term includes the rebroadcast of a radio or TV signal over the Internet. The analog radio or TV signal is converted to a digital signal and is “broadcast” on the Internet. Users access the digital signal by using a streaming media device that allows for real time transmissions.

One of the major issues associated with Internet Broadcasting is copyright infringement. To stream their signal on the Internet, broadcasters need separate Internet licenses with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC as well as the Statutory License offered by the United States Copyright Office, with payments made to Sound Exchange. Currently, broadcasters must file an Initial Notice of Digital Transmissions of Sound Recordings Under Statutory License with the Copyright Office before they begin streaming. A broadcaster is automatically granted a statutory license which enables them to stream sound recordings via the Internet without having to pay each and every record producer for that right. While the notice entitles broadcasters to a statutory license and protects broadcasters who are currently streaming sound recordings from being sued by record producers, it does come with several conditions which must be satisfied in order to qualify for the statutory license. Furthermore, broadcasters using the statutory license are required to pay royalty rates. These royalty rates can be found at http://www.soundexchange.com/service-provider/commercial-webcaster/.

Internet Broadcasting (Commonly Referred to as “Webcasting” or “Streaming”): The term Internet Broadcasting or Webcasting (streaming) generally refers to the dissemination of audio and/or video programming over the Internet. The term includes the rebroadcast of a radio or TV signal over the Internet. The analog radio or TV signal is converted to a digital signal and is “broadcast” on the Internet. Users access the digital signal by using a streaming media device that allows for real time transmissions.

One of the major issues associated with Internet Broadcasting is copyright infringement. To stream their signal on the Internet, broadcasters need separate Internet licenses with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC as well as the Statutory License offered by the United States Copyright Office, with payments made to Sound Exchange. Currently, broadcasters must file an Initial Notice of Digital Transmissions of Sound Recordings Under Statutory License with the Copyright Office before they begin streaming. A broadcaster is automatically granted a statutory license which enables them to stream sound recordings via the Internet without having to pay each and every record producer for that right. While the notice entitles broadcasters to a statutory license and protects broadcasters who are currently streaming sound recordings from being sued by record producers, it does come with several conditions which must be satisfied in order to qualify for the statutory license. Furthermore, broadcasters using the statutory license are required to pay royalty rates. These royalty rates can be found at http://www.soundexchange.com/service-provider/commercial-webcaster/.

Local Marketing Agreements (LMA): Such agreements permit the programming and advertising sales of a station by a non-licensee, subject to overall control of the station by the licensee, who bears the ultimate responsibility for the station. In local marketing agreements, the licensee always remains responsible for the operation of the station in accordance with Commission rules and policies. In essence, a local marketing agreement is a time brokerage agreement which involves the sale of all or substantially all of a station’s broadcast time. All of the regulations applicable to time brokerage agreements are also applicable to local marketing agreements.

Time Brokerage Agreements (TBA): Time brokerage is the sale of blocks of time by a licensee to a broker who, in turn, supplies the programming and sells the advertising to fill that time. Time brokerage agreements must be in writing and must be placed in the public inspection files of both the brokered stations and, if applicable, the station licensed to the time broker. If there is overlap between the city grade contours of the brokered and brokering station, then the agreement also must be filed with the Commission. Although technically different from an LMA, the term TBA is sometimes used to identify an LMA arrangement. Both radio and TV TBAs for more than 15 percent of the broadcast time are considered to be an attributable interest for purposes of the FCC’s multiple ownership rules.