The FCC has finally had published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to extend the online public file obligations to radio, satellite radio, cable operators and satellite TV providers. This publication starts the countdown to the filing deadline for the comments in the proceeding. Comments are due by March 16, and reply comments are to be filed by April 14. We wrote about the proposal here, including its suggestions to phase the obligation in by market size and to potentially exclude or delay the implementation for noncommercial radio operators (as noncommercial stations do not have as extensive a political file – and access to political broadcasting information is one of the motivations behind the FCC’s proposal to expand the online public file obligations).
While not specifically addressed in this notice, we note how various FCC proceedings on seemingly unrelated issues can sometime intersect in the issues they consider. As we wrote here, the FCC is considering classifying some online video providers as MVPDs. Seemingly, under the proposals advanced in the online public file proceeding, some of the new obligations could also end up applying to such video providers – who currently have no public file obligations whatsoever. One more thing for those companies to consider!