It’s almost August, and despite it being vacation time for many, there are still regulatory dates that must be addressed by the broadcast industry. Routine filing dates this coming month include the need for EEO Public Inspection File Reports to be included in station’s public inspection files (either the online files for all TV stations and those radio stations that have already converted, or in the paper files for those radio groups that have not yet made the switch) for stations that are part of employment units with five or more full-time employees in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Links to these reports must also be included on the home page of any stations in such employment units, whether or not the station’s complete public file is available online. For more about station’s ongoing EEO obligations see our article here. EEO Mid-Term Reports are due to be file with the FCC on August 1 by Radio Station Employment Units with 11 or more full-time employees in California and Television Employment Units with five or more full-time employees in Illinois and Wisconsin. For more on these Mid-Term reports, see our article here.
August also brings the date for Reply Comments in the Modernization of Media Regulation proceeding (see our articles here and here). Reply comments in that proceeding looking to amend or repeal broadcast regulations that no longer make sense in the modern media environment are due by August 4. Many media companies are also watching the Restoring Internet Freedom proceeding, looking at what some people refer to as the Open Internet or Net Neutrality issues, where reply comments are due August 16.
The window for filing for FM translators for Class C and D AM stations that did not receive translators in last year’s 250-mile waiver window opened yesterday, and remains open through August 2. We expect many AM broadcasters to try to take advantage of this opportunity to acquire a new translator for their stations. We wrote about this window here and here. If you miss this window, another window for will open at some later date during which any AM station (including Class A and B stations) that did not previously file for a translator in any of the FCC’s AM Revitalization windows to file for a new translator, if there are frequencies remaining in their community to do so.
Yesterday, we wrote about another deadline – the August 28 deadline for the filing of Form One in the ERTS system for reporting on the Nationwide EAS test scheduled for the end of September. The initial form provides general information about station EAS equipment and contact information for those dealing with EAS at broadcast stations – so be sure to update that information by the August 28 deadline.
Also look for announcements following the TV incentive auction of the first filing window for a limited number of repacked TV stations who either cannot construct on the channels that they were assigned or who need improvements in their facilities to more closely replicate their current service area. See our articles here and here for more upcoming dates in the repacking of the TV band.
August also likely brings notice of the due date for regulatory fee filings – the fees likely to be due at some point in September. See our article here about the proposals for changes in the fees that could be effective this year.
As in any other month, these are just some of the regulatory deadlines that stations need to be aware of. Be alert to other deadlines that may arise, either for the industry in general or for your station in particular. Despite its proposals to roll back some FCC rules, as we noted in this article about a recent proposed fine, the Commission remains vigilant in enforcing those rules that remain on its books. So don’t get caught by missing some deadline – and take you opportunity to comment on important matters pending before the FCC.