In a truly eleventh-hour decision, the FCC released an Order late Friday evening suspending the filing of FCC Form 323 Ownership Reports that would otherwise be due on Monday, June 1st for certain broadcast stations. In its recent Report and Order adopted in the proceeding devoted to Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, the Commission revised its rules to implement a single November 1st filing deadline for all commercial broadcast stations to submit an ownership report. The Order, however, neglected to address the fact that numerous broadcast stations faced filing deadlines under the current rules that would require an ownership report to be filed by June 1, August 1, or October 1 (depending on a station’s license renewal anniversary).
It is unclear why this issue was not addressed as part of the earlier Report and Order, which was adopted nearly two months ago on April 8th, or why today’s Order was not released earlier in order to prevent stations from filing in advance of the June 1st deadline, but the clarification will be helpful for those stations that have not yet filed, or for those that would otherwise face an August 1st or October 1st ownership report deadline. For those stations that have already filed their Ownership Reports consistent with the June 1st deadline, the Order is silent as to whether the FCC will refund the filing fees paid by those licensees, or alternatively, if those licensees will be required to pay another fee come November 1st.