The FCC today released a Public Notice announcing the next group of broadcast stations subject to a random audit of their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. The Notice lists radio and television stations across the country that nust respond to a Commission inquiry and provide information and documentation about their EEO efforts. Annually, the FCC audits approximately 5% of all broadcast licensees to assess their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules. As hopefully all broadcasters know, these rules require the wide dissemination of information about job openings at the broadcast stations and "supplemental efforts" to educate communities about employment opportunities at broadcast stations, even in the absence of employment openings. The FCC’s audit letter requires the submission of two years worth of the Annual Public File reports that stations prepare each year on the anniversary date of the filing of their license renewal applications. These reports are placed in the station’s public file and posted on their websites (if they have websites).
Stations subject to this round of audits have until June 1st to respond and submit the necessary materials to the Commission. Note that information needs to be supplied not just for the station named on the list, but also for all other stations in the same "station employment unit," i.e. a group of stations under common control, that serve the same general geographic area, and which have at least one common employee. Previous audits have led to significant FCC fines, and broadcasters who are included on today’s list should take care in preparing their responses. The audit notice should also remind other licensees who were lucky enough to have avoided this round of audits to review their EEO programs for FCC compliance purposes, as they could very well find themselves less fortunate when the next FCC audit is announced.
For more information about the FCC’s EEO requirements, see our comprehensive memo on the EEO requirements, available here. In addition, today’s Public Notice is available here, with the sample Audit letter available here. The list of radio stations selected is here, and the television station list is here.