As we have written before, the next license renewal cycle begins on June 1, 2019, with radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia submitting their applications. Radio renewals proceed in with applications every other month from a state or group of states (the schedule is available on the FCC website here). TV renewals begin a year later – in the same state-by-state order. Earlier this month, I conducted a webinar for several state broadcast associations to help stations in those states start to look at their operations to avoid issues that might otherwise come up in with their license renewals. Slides from that presentation are available here.
With license renewals coming up, stations should be insuring that they are ready. As we recently wrote, that includes making sure that the station’s online public file is active and has all of the required information. Particularly important are the collection of Quarterly Issues Programs reports that date back to the grant of your last renewal, as these lists demonstrate how your station has served the public interest, addressing the needs and issues facing its community (see our article here). Annual EEO Public Inspection file reports should also be in the file for stations that are part of employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, dating back to the last renewal. Stations should also be reviewing all of their other operations in preparation for renewal, to make sure that they are ready for the upcoming filing window for their stations. Assuring yourself that the station has all the licenses it needs for its technical operations, and that there are no problems with matters such as RF radiation at their tower site, are issues that should not be left for the last minute. So check out the slides from the presentation, talk to your own consultants and attorneys about other issues that may come up in the renewal process, and look for more guidance from the FCC which will undoubtedly be coming soon as the first filing date approaches.