The second EEO audit of 2013 was announced by the FCC on Friday– hitting about 240 radio stations being audited this time around (the list of stations to be audited is attached to the FCC Public Notice). The Commission has pledged to audit 5% of all broadcast stations and cable systems each year to assure their compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules – requiring wide dissemination of information about job openings and non-vacancy specific supplemental efforts to educate their communities about job opportunities in the media industry. The form audit letter was also released by the FCC and attached to the Public Notice. Responses from the audited stations are due to be filed at the FCC by August 12. Licensees should review the list of affected stations carefully, as we have noted several typos in this list where the geographic location of the station listed does not match the call letters and FCC Facility Identification Number that is provided. So a quick review by city and state may not catch stations that are listed on the target list.
While the FCC, in its last audit, slightly revised the audit request to cut down on the burden of compliance (by eliminating the need to produce a copy of every notice sent out to fill every job, allowing instead the filing of a representative copy of a job opening notice and a list of the sources to which it was sent), these audits still require substantial work. And if any station in your cluster is on the list, all stations in that "station employment group" (a group of commonly owned stations serving the same area with at least one common employee) must respond. But, if a cluster has been audited in the last two years, the FCC may allow you to avoid responding to this audit – but you have to request that "pass" from the FCC. If a station that is being audited is involved in an LMA or similar agreement with another broadcaster, the audit may also require that the broker provide employment information as well as the licensee.
All stations should review the audit letter as it provides a good outline of the documents that stations should be retaining to demonstrate their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. For more information about compliance with the EEO rules, see our post about an EEO webinar in which I participated, held by the FCC in early 2012 to explain its EEO rules. You may also want to review the last set of fines for EEO violations, about which we wrote here.