The Commission’s Localism Report and related Notice of Proposed Rule Making seeking comment on a slate of proposed new rules has been published in the Federal Register.  Accordingly, Comments in this rule making proceeding must be filed with the Commission by March 14 and Reply Comments must be filed by April 14.  This is a very short period of time in which to comment on a number of significant proposals that are poised to return the broadcast industry to the regulatory structure of the 1980s.  As we reported earlier, the Commission proposes to re-regulate broadcast stations, and the NPRM suggests a number of substantive rule changes, such as effectively re-instating ascertainments, eliminating the unmanned operation of broadcast stations, imposing quantitative programming requirements, and requiring that main studios be maintained within a station’s community of license.  This NPRM proposes a number of potentially burdensome requirements, many of which were eliminated by the Commission long ago, and many of which go beyond what the FCC has ever required.

Given the potential impact that the FCC’s proposed rules could have on broadcast stations, broadcasters are encouraged to file comments in this important rule making proceeding. 
Comments can be filed with the Commission in paper or electronically through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.  When submitting comments, commenters should be sure to reference the docket number for this rule making, MB Docket No. 04-233.