WASHINGTON, DC—While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every segment of American life, the FCC has quickly shifted to the work-at-home environment and remains fully operational. 

FCC leaders continue to make decisions impacting radio broadcasters, and Womble Bond Dickinson telecom attorney John Garziglia recently joined the RBT+TVBR Coronavirus INFOCUS Podcast to discuss the FCC’s latest actions.

“I’ve been absolutely impressed with the FCC staff. To their credit, they are getting the work out,” Garziglia said. Barring in-person meetings with commissioners, Garziglia said he is able to do the vast majority of things he needs FCC cooperation to do for his clients.

One positive development to come from the FCC in recent days is the decision to allow LPFM stations to use the same directional antennas as full-power FM stations and FM translators.

“This will help LPFM stations, particularly where they are in tight transmitter locations, Garziglia said. Also, the FCC expanded the area in which LPFM stations can relocate, comparable to other services.

The FCC did decline to grant LPFM stations a 250-watt power increase, at least at this point.

“We have a number of COVID-19 issues percolating, at least in the short term,” Garziglia said. For example, the FCC is allowing stations to temporarily reduce power when appropriate. He also said the broadcast industry also might take their concerns to the White House for possible regulatory relief during this crisis.

Finally, he said that since 2020 is an election year, and with face-to-face campaigning and group rallies limited, radio stations could benefit in the form of greater ad sales.

Click here to listen to the RBT+TVBR Coronavirus INFOCUS Podcast featuring John Garziglia. 

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.