The FCC Form 323 is now available for filing by all commercial broadcasters. The Form must be submitted by December 1 of this year. In 2009, the FCC adopted the requirement for a biennial ownership report for all commercial stations, to be filed by November 1 every other year, with information accurate as of October 1. In 2009, the new electronic form had issues, so filing deadlines were delayed until June. This year, the FCC recently announced that the deadline would be extended until December 1, to give broadcasters more time to complete the reports – especially the cumbersome filings required for companies that own multiple stations. Nevertheless, the information on the reports is still supposed to be current as of October 1. The form is now available online, and commercial broadcast licensees can file the report at any time.
The FCC Public Notice links to a series of frequently asked questions about the report. These questions remind broadcasters that the report is to be filed by all commercial licensees (not permittees of unbuilt stations) of AM, FM, TV, LPTV and Class A TV stations. Translators (radio and TV) are not included in the requirement. Noncommercial stations (including LPFM stations) need not file the report on the new form or at the same time as commercial licensees. Noncommercial licensees continue to file every other year on the anniversary date of the due date for their last license renewal (note that this means that some noncommercial stations in states with December renewals will need to file by December 1, not because they are covered by the commercial requirements discussed above, but because their filing deadline just happens to fall on that date). Noncommercial licensees also do not use the new electronic Form 323 used by commercial licensees, but instead use Form 323E. (See our most recent advisory to noncommercial broadcasters on their ownership obligations, here). Whether commercial or noncommercial, remember to file your ownership reports by the required deadlines!