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Latest Public Policy News


FCC Succumbs To Government Shutdown After Welcoming Two New Commissioners

The Federal Communications Commission is joining the list of those affected by the government shutdown, closing its doors today just after welcoming two new commissioners. The only part of the FCC’s daily function that will remain in operation is its response to reports of 911 service outages. Just before shutting its doors, the FCC saluted the confirmation by the Senate on Wednesday night of two new commissioners to five-year terms — Democrat Geoffrey Starks and… Read


NBC/Telemundo Stations Fined By FCC For Violating Children’s Television Act Of 1990

Telemundo Logo

Telemundo parent Comcast has agreed to pay a fine of $495,000 after an investigation by the FCC found that some of the Hispanic broadcaster’s local stations had pre-empted children’s programming in favor of sports. That action was deemed out of bounds under the federal Children’s Television Act of 1990. The FCC said it would approve applications from Telemundo for local station license renewals, provided that the company pays the fine and abides by the terms of a consent… Read


Gray TV And Raycom Must Divest Stations In Nine Markets In Order To Gain DOJ Approval For Merger

The pending $3.6 billion merger of Gray TV and Raycom, one of the two mega-deals poised to transform the local TV sector, is facing final regulatory conditions before it can proceed. Antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice today ordered the companies to divest stations in nine markets in order to avoid a scenario where the combined company owns more than two of the CBS, ABC, NBC or Fox affiliates in any single market. Without shedding stations, the company would… Read


Google CEO Sundar Pichai Addresses Anti-Conservative Bias In House Judiciary Committee – Update

Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified this morning before the House Judiciary Committee, where the executive fended questions about a range of issues, including data privacy and charges from Republicans that its search algorithms are biased against conservatives. The search giant became the focus of criticism when Pichai declined the Senate Intelligence Committee’s invitation to testify about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Now, Pichai opted to follow… Read


Patrick Stewart’s ‘Star Trek’ Series, ‘Mayans M.C.’ & ‘Why Women Kill’ Score Tax Credits From California

Jean-Luc Picard Mayans MC

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart's Capt. Jean-Luc Picard was well known for telling his first officer to "make it so.” Well, it seems that the California Film Commission has followed the Enterprise commander's order to the lucrative letter in its latest round of small screen tax credits allocations. First announced on August 4 that The X-Men franchise alum would be back as Picard on a new CBS All Access expansion of the Trekverse, the "New Star Trek… Read


AT&T Gains Upper Hand On DOJ In Appeals Court Arguments Of Lawsuit Over Time Warner Deal


A panel of three judges hearing the government’s appeal of its lawsuit aiming to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger peppered a Department of Justice lawyer with critical questions while going notably easier on the attorney for AT&T. This morning’s nearly two-hour session at the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which was live-streamed on the court’s website, included solo appearances by lawyers for both sides as well as two “amici” representatives… Read


Major Tech Stocks Slump On Regulatory Fears After Senate Hearing

After top executives from Facebook and Twitter faced a grilling in the U.S. Senate and reckoned with potential government regulation, investors gave the cold shoulder to their stocks and most of the tech sector. Shares in Twitter, Snap and Facebook all declined significantly, dragging the Nasdaq down more than 1% to below the 8,000 level that prompted celebration barely a week ago. Major tech companies have been powering the ongoing bull market, leaving Wall Street with… Read


FCC Chairman Raises “Serious Concerns” About Sinclair-Tribune Merger

Sinclair Broadcasting

UPDATED to include background and comment: FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement today raising “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. At issue are Sinclair’s plans to divest some stations to meet ownership limits in a way that would allow Sinclair to retain control of them “in practice, if not in name, in violation of the law,” Pai noted. Pai said he had asked fellow commissioners to vote to send the deal… Read


‘Fixer Upper’ Couple Chip & Joanna Gaines Reach $40,000 EPA Settlement For Lead-Based Paint Violations

Fixer Upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines, HGTV’s husband-wife Fixer Upper team, have agreed to pay a $40,000 fine by the EPA for the improper use of lead-based paint in their renovations. The couple, who do business as Magnolia Homes, reached a settlement in a case that could have cost them $556,000 in fines. In a settlement “information sheet” posted on the EPA’s website (read it here), the agency notes that the “activities of Magnolia and similar renovation firms came to EPA's attention… Read


FCC Finally Sets Date For Net Neutrality Rollback

The FCC said its Restoring Internet Freedom Order, aka the rollback of President Obama-era net neutrality rules, will take effect June 11. Commissioners approved the order in December in a contentious, party-line vote. Opponents of the measure, including several leading tech companies and Democratic FCC commissioners, have expressed concern that the new stance will enable gatekeepers like Comcast and Verizon to create “Internet fast lanes.” Certain online content could be… Read


Michelle Obama Won’t Run For President, But Still Working Hard On Issues

There won’t be an Obama Act II in the White House. At least, not in the immediate future, as Michelle Obama related today at the 2018 United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorum in Los Angeles. The two-day gathering featured panels, breakouts, exhibits and discussions focused on empowering women and helping to change the conditions that limit full social, economic and workplace opportunity for them. Obama’s well-received appearance capped the first conference day… Read


U.S. Trade Rep Finds Movie Piracy Remains “Rampant” Around The World

The "rampant” worldwide piracy of American films, music, TV shows, televised sporting events and books remains a "direct threat" to copyright holders, according the latest report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, although some progress has been made to curb the practice in China, Russia and several other countries. "The increased availability of broadband Internet connections around the world, combined with increasingly accessible and sophisticated mobile… Read