New Sponsorship Identification Requirements for Foreign Government-Provided Programming Effective March 15, 2022

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed its review of the new foreign sponsorship ID rules discussed in our April 30, 2021 and December 13, 2021 client memos. The new rules take effect March 15, 2022.

The rules require radio and television stations to make specific disclosures when foreign governmental entities pay stations to broadcast programming under local marketing agreements (LMAs), block programing agreements, or similar arrangements. The rules apply to programming aired on both primary and HD or multicast streams. Broadcasters are required to take several specific steps to investigate whether entities that lease airtime fall within the scope of the new rules and should be identified with scripted on-air announcements as foreign governmental sponsors of programming.

The requirements apply to both new and existing programming leases. For existing leases (that is, those in effect as of March 15, 2022), broadcasters will have six months from the effective date of the new rules to come into compliance.

The FCC and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals denied petitions seeking to stay the effectiveness of the new rules pending challenges filed by NAB, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). The groups argue that the requirements are overly burdensome for broadcasters and that the FCC lacks authority to require broadcasters to investigate program sponsors. The challenges remain pending before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

For more information about the foreign government-provided programming identification rules, and how to manage compliance, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.

Categories: Media