The FCC Form 323 Biennial Ownership Report — temporarily off-lined in December for revisions — has been reworked and is now back. The FCC has announced that the revised Form 323 is now available in its CDBS electronic filing system, and that all commercial broadcast stations must file their biennial ownership reports by July 8, 2010. As we wrote earlier, many broadcasters were concerned about privacy issues related to the new Form 323, as well as more practical issues regarding the time required to enter information. After receiving many protests about the burden imposed by the new form and the short time that commercial licensees were given to prepare the report for submission, in December the Commission temporarily suspended the filing of the form.
The Commission has now completed its technical improvements to the form, including the ability to upload a spreadsheet to provide certain data, rather than entering it manually, and the filing is back on, this time with 90 days for stations to prepare their reports. Notably, the requirement that all disclosable interest holders obtain and provide an FCC Registration Number ("FRN") remains in place. So that is one issue that the FCC did not address, and which remains unchanged from before. One other important note, although the filing deadline is now July 8, 2010, licensees will be reporting ownership information as of November 1, 2009. So many stations will be in the strange position of reporting what is now outdated ownership information.
Additional information about the revised form is available on the FCC’s Form 323 web site, which contains links to prior orders and notices and includes “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) about the form and its electronic filing capabilities. With all commercial broadcast stations working to prepare and file the Ownership Reports by July 8th, stations would do well to start the process sooner rather than later. A copy of the Commission’s brief Public Notice is available here, and the revised form is available through CDBS.