Legal Memo

Exclusives

  • TVN Tech: Serious Study Needed To Get Drone License

    The exam for FAA Part 107 certification to fly a commercial drone under 55 pounds, which first became available Aug. 29, covers far more than the drone itself. A mastery of knowledge on aeronautical concepts, charts, airspace and meteorology from an aviation perspective are among the areas emphasized on the initial test. Is it overkill for a media organization that will fly a done no higher than 400 feet? Not really, when seen in the context of maintaining safety, says the FAA. More | Add comment
  • Focus: Many Questions Over Nielsen's Post-Diary Ratings

    Nielsen announced plans last week to replace its paper ratings diaries with a system based on data from cable and satellite set-top boxes. However, many broadcasters still aren't sure how it's going to work. “They haven’t really told us that much about their plan going forward," said Raycom's Billy McDowell. Added Cordillera's Terry Hurley: "I'm hopeful, but skeptical." More | Comments (1)
  • Jessell: Is Your News Tired? Check Out Vice, Newsy

    For the most part, local newscasts were developed a half-century ago. It’s time for a renaissance. The typical newscast no longer resonates with many Americans, especially younger ones. That's why I’m intrigued by Scripps’ Newsy and am deeply curious about the nightly newscast that Vice is cooking up for HBO. All news directors should be, too.
    More | Add comment
  • TVN Tech: Innovation, Progress Abound At IBC

    At this year's media tech compendium in Amsterdam, there was greater cooperation among vendors to ensure IP interoperability. On the business front, there was talk of zoned advertising and hyperlocal content delivery over the air with OFDM-based transmission systems such as ATSC 3.0. And on the technology frontier, all of the work to make Ultra HD a reality has begun to pay off with real-world applications, novel 360-degree acquisition (see the Nokia Ozo camera above) and new 8K implementations of OLED display technology. To see all of TVNewsCheck’s IBC 2016 coverage, click here. More | Add comment
  • Jessell: NBCU's 'Harry’ Could Be The Last Of Its Kind

    NBCU has a lot riding on Harry with Harry Connick Jr., but so does the broadcasting business. If it fails, I fear that Hollywood may finally give up on the big-budget, first-run syndicated show. And broadcasters need such shows to prop up their daytime schedules. Along with local news and a smattering of network fare, they distinguish TV stations from the great unwashed masses of cable channels that fill daytime with endless repeats of shows. More | Comments (8)
  • TVN Tech: Short-Form Programming In IBC Spotlight

    During the IBC 2016 opening keynote today in Amsterdam, the chairman of Vivendi Content and chief commercial officer of Vodafone Germany discussed how they are tackling changes in the distribution and consumption of video content. More | Add comment
  • TVN Names Scripps Station Group Of The Year

    In announcing the honor, TVNewsCheck Editor Harry A. Jessell cited the company’s efforts to go beyond broadcasting and establish itself prominently and profitably among national digital media. Led by CEO Rich Boehne, over the past three years Scripps has spent $124 million to acquire Newsy (OTT news), Midroll (podcasting) and Cracked (digital content).  More | Comments (1)
  • Smith, Sook, LaPlatney On Tap For TVN's ATSC 3.0 Confab

    One highlight of TVNewsCheck’s Nov. 9-10 TV2020 conference on the prospects for Next Gen TV will be the CEO panel featuring David Smith of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Perry Sook of Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Pat LaPlatney of Raycom Media. For more information, or to register for TV2020, click here. More | Comments (1)
  • Newsy’s Sabatinelli To Talk On How To Monetize OTT

    The fourth annual NewsTECHForum presented by TVNewsCheck and Sports Video Group will feature an on-stage Q&A with Blake Sabatinelli, the general manager of the Scripps-owned OTT service Newsy, on Dec. 12. For the full NewsTECHForum program, or to register, click here. More | Add comment

Special Reports

  • Multicasting 2016: A four-part examination of the revenue, programming and technology strategies of the diginet business.
  • TVN's FCC Watch: A quick briefing on FCC proceedings affecting TV broadcasters from Washington communications attorneys David Oxenford and David O'Connor.
  • Employment 2016: In Part I, the challenges facing broadcasters in finding the right people for the rights jobs. Part II: It used to be a given that news managers would readily move it if meant a bigger market and a larger paycheck. Not anymore. Part III, the military may become an even bigger source of talent for station IT and engineering departments.
  • THE TOP 30 TV STATION GROUPS: As a result of its merger with Media General, Nexstar Broadcasting moves up 10 spots and is now No. 3 on TVNewsCheck's 2016 station group ranking behind Fox and CBS. Gray's acquisition of Schurz moved it up to No. 13, Nexstar's old spot. Together, the two deals changed the rank of 21 groups and opened the door to two newcomers.
  • 2016 NAB Show Tech Hot Topics: TVNewsCheck’s second annual multi-part series highlighting emerging tech trends in advance of the NAB Show. Topics include field contribution, audio, cameras, IP transport, transmitters, antennas, newsroom computer systems, broadcast graphics and master control.
  • 2015 — Year In Review: Revisit the year’s top developments in business, programming, journalism, technology, regulation and more.
  • NewsTECHForum 2015: Complete coverage of the third annual conference from TVNewsCheck and Sports Video Group
  • IBC 2015: At the annual tech gathering in Amsterdam, the prominence of IP in everything from production to distribution may have been somewhat of a surprise, but once on the exhibit floor or in the conference rooms there was no mistaking its broad — and still growing — influence.
  • Weather 2015: A three-part look at forecasting: a Q&A with AccuWeather founder Joel Myers; complaints by local weathercasters of network forecasting; and the latest on mobile and augmented reality.
  • Sales Management: A four-part look at the growing importance to stations of mobile viewing platforms; automated spot buying; improving digital sales operations; and a case study of a successful digital sales effort.
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Communications Atty. Michael Berg Dies At 67
TVNewsCheck, Jul 23, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
Berg's career as a communications attorney stretched back 38 years to when he went to work at the FCC. The career included stints at the NAB and large law firms. For the past seven years, he also wrote the Legal Memo column for TVNewsCheck. Full Story | Comments (9)
Legal Memo by Michael Berg
Takeaways From The ABC v. Aereo Decision
TVNewsCheck, Jun 27, 2014, 5:48 AM EDT
The Supreme Court’s ruling this week upholding broadcasters’ contention that the Aereo streaming service violated their copyrights was a major victory for the television business. The court majority held that Aereo technology created no critical copyright law differences between it and cable systems, which must have broadcasters’ prior consent and pay for use of their programming. Now, it seems likely that Aereo will press its case in Congress to change the federal Copyright Act to legalize Aereo and, in effect, reverse the Supreme Court. Full Story | Comments (7)
Legal Memo by Michael Berg
A Berg's-Eye View Of Aereo Oral Arguments
TVNewsCheck, May 2, 2014, 9:04 AM EDT
Attorney Michael Berg, TVNewsCheck's Legal Memo columnist, was on hand for the April 22 arguments at the Supreme Court in ABC v. Aereo and he offers his observations on the questions and answers and also details the various friend of the court briefs and other filings made shortly before the hearing. While predicting outcomes from oral arguments is a very risky game, Berg says: "In this case I sensed that the SC majority is unlikely to buy Aereo’s copyright argument that it is just an equipment provider and there is no public performance and therefore no copyright obligations for sale of access to the broadcast signals." Full Story | Add comment
Legal Memo by Michael Berg
ABC v. Aereo: What Happened, What’s Next
TVNewsCheck, Apr 4, 2014, 6:07 AM EDT
Here's a roundup of the activity in March in the Supreme Court's ABC v. Aereo copyright infringement case with filings by both sides. There were also supporting arguments filed for both broadcasters and Aereo. And finally, there's a timetable for upcoming activity. Full Story | Comments (8)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
Lots Of Action Soon In SC’s ‘Aereo’ Case
TVNewsCheck, Feb 28, 2014, 6:02 AM EST
February has been a busy month in the pending ABC v. Aereo Supreme Court (SC) case and there's plenty on tap for March and April. Here's a summary of the activity and a preview of what's next in the case that will decide whether Aereo’s TV station retransmission business is legal or not. Full Story | Comments (6)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
ABC-Aereo Set For Supreme Court Showdown
TVNewsCheck, Jan 31, 2014, 5:44 AM EST
The copyright infringement case has moved to the High Court. Here's a look at the case's quick timing, the filing of friend of the court briefs, the parties and their arguments, and a little “tea leaf reading” of current Supreme Court justices’ prior positions in cases that might influence their perspective. Full Story | Comments (2)
Brand Connections
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
The Two Court Rulings Rocking Aereo, FilmOn
TVNewsCheck, Sep 27, 2013, 7:14 AM EDT
In Fox Television Stations' court battle with FilmOn in Washington, D.C., the court held that the Copyright Act forbids FilmOn from retransmitting Fox's copyrighted programs over the Internet. And in New York, CBS Broadcasting had a big win against FilmOn, after a judge found its CEO to be in contempt of court. Now Aereo may attempt to distinguish its technology from FilmOn's, as litigation proceeds. Full Story | Comments (22)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
The 411 On Aereo's Many Legal Challenges
TVNewsCheck, Aug 1, 2013, 5:34 PM EDT
Although many areas of the law struggle to keep up with technology, copyright law changes can be exceptionally slow. In 2013, it seems particularly anachronistic to allow Aereo-like unauthorized and unpaid use of broadcast signals based on a metaphysical distinction between “public” and “private unique” performances, when potentially hundreds of millions of unauthorized, unpaid viewings of the identical broadcaster-originated programs could occur.  Full Story | Comments (9)
Legal Memo by Michael Berg
Legal Pot Doesn't Mean Ad Dollars Just Yet
TVNewsCheck, May 17, 2013, 8:39 AM EDT
While 20 states have made some uses of marijuana legal, the federal government has not. Stations and MVPDs lured by marijuana ad revenue in states that legalize it must ask themselves (and perhaps their counsel) whether the risk of federal enforcement outweighs the benefits of accepting ads from a new and growing industry. Accepting those ads raises other non-legal questions for stations to ponder, such as the impact of marijuana advertising on other advertisers and viewers. Full Story | Comments (2)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
The Long Reach of TV Spectrum Repacking
TVNewsCheck, Apr 5, 2013, 5:46 AM EDT
When the FCC gets around to repacking the TV spectrum, the results could differ from what broadcasters expect going in. It's important for them to be aware of ongoing developments and not to assume they won't be affected. Here's an overview of some possible scenarios. Full Story | Comments (3)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
FCC Reinstates Experimental TV Rules
TVNewsCheck, Mar 8, 2013, 7:39 AM EST
On Feb. 15, the chief of the video division of the FCC's Media Bureau granted an experimental license to test, among other things, “technological capabilities that could lead to ... a future broadcast standard.” This suggests that the reinstated broadcast rules can and will be used to permit testing of a next-generation broadcast standard — a replacement for the current ATSC standard — that would keep broadcast TV competitive as the digital world evolves. Full Story | Add comment
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
Border Issues Key Among Auction Concerns
TVNewsCheck, Jan 10, 2013, 8:45 PM EST
As the FCC moves ahead with plans for its spectrum auction, many details of what happens after it’s completed remain to be sorted out, none more important than how to coordinate new frequencies for stations along the Canadian and Mexican borders. With comments due later this month and replies due in March, TV broadcasters, their viewers, communities and others need to provide the FCC with opinions, information and proposed solutions to potential problems. Full Story | Comments (1)
Brand Connections
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
FCC Political Ad Rules Call For Balancing Act
TVNewsCheck, Sep 28, 2012, 8:37 AM EDT
This political season, the biggest legal and practical issue for many stations so far has been the need to accommodate competing demands for air time from everyone from bona fide candidates to Super PACs to regular commercial advertisers. Staying out of hot water at the FCC involves knowing the rules and balancing those demands. Full Story | Add comment
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
Noncom Political Ad Ruling: What's It Mean?
TVNewsCheck, Aug 3, 2012, 8:32 AM EDT
If the recent court decision allowing paid candidate and issue ads on noncommercial TV and radio is upheld, there are a myriad of ramifications for both commercial and public stations. For now the court’s ruling affects only the Ninth Circuit, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, but everyone should stay attuned to further developments, especially from the FCC. Better to anticipate potential changes than to be surprised by them. Full Story | Comments (1)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
License Renewal Quiz Gets A Bit Tougher
TVNewsCheck, Apr 13, 2012, 7:25 AM EDT
For many years the FCC’s TV license renewal application has required mainly yes-or-no answers about compliance throughout the license term with various FCC requirements. For the upcoming renewal cycle, the FCC has added a new certification question about non-discriminatory television advertising sales agreements. Full Story | Add comment
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
Super PACs Bring Big Bucks, Responsibilities
TVNewsCheck, Oct 14, 2011, 6:01 AM EDT
The newly authorized super PACs can collect unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals to directly support and attack candidates, as long as they do not coordinate directly with candidates. Stations have broad discretion to accept or turn down candidate-targeted (and issue) ads by super PACs. But make sure that your treatment of all super PACs is the same. Stations must operate in the public interest, and lopsided access by organizations on one side of electoral or other questions could lead to complaints. Full Story | Comments (1)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
States Playing Musical Chairs With Primaries
TVNewsCheck, Oct 7, 2011, 8:04 AM EDT
Earlier primaries and Super PACs are changing the face of the 2012 elections. For TV stations, that means gearing up political sales policies and inventory planning; the opportunity for more revenue from the political season; and the need for earlier-than-usual attention to FCC, Federal Election Commission and state political ad requirements. In this first of two parts, the ramifications of the ever-shifting primary schedule are examined. Full Story | Comments (4)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
EEO: Six Key Tips For Staying Out Of Trouble
TVNewsCheck, Jun 3, 2011, 11:40 AM EDT
With the FCC stepping up enforcement of equal employment opportunity regulations, here's a list of things stations should know to avoid heartache and FCC sanctions for noncompliance. Full Story | Add comment
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
A History Lesson On Retrans For The FCC
TVNewsCheck, Apr 8, 2011, 5:54 AM EDT
The FCC proceeding seeking comments for possible reform of its retrans rules doesn't square with history as I remember it. For one thing, contrary to what the FCC suggests, broadcasters have tried to negotiate for fees since the retrans law was passed in the early 1990s. The FCC also betrays some bias toward cable, raising questions about how current rules might work against small cable operators, but ignoring how small TV stations are affected. Full Story | Comments (5)
Legal Memo by Michael D. Berg
'Specialty' Stations Have March 29 Deadline
TVNewsCheck, Feb 18, 2011, 5:52 AM EST
If your station qualifies as a “specialty station,” you should be sure to file with the U.S. Copyright Office so your station can be carried by cable systems at the lowest possible rate, a good incentive to encourage carriage. Filing an affidavit is a relatively simple step that can benefit stations, cable operators and viewers, who may receive a wider range of program choices as a result of the procedure.  Full Story | Add comment
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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 22, 2016
  • 1.
    4.0/14
  • 2.
    1.7/6
  • 3.
    1.3/5
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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