When a broadcaster files certain types of applications with the FCC, the public must be informed. Last week, the FCC issued an Order which will change the rules regarding the public notice that must be given – consolidating what was a confusing process with different language and timing for notice about different types of applications into one providing standardized disclosures and scheduling for all public notices. The decision (once it becomes effective) will eliminate obligations for the newspaper publication that was required for some public notices and also ended the obligation of broadcasters to give a “pre-filing public notice” before the submission of a license renewal application. It will also require the inclusion of an “FCC Applications” link on the homepage of each commercial station’s website, whether or not they have any applications pending. Let’s look at some of the changes adopted in last week’s Order.
First, the FCC did not change the requirements as to what applications require notice to the public. Public notice is required for applications for new stations and major technical changes, for assignments (sales) or transfers of station licenses (except for pro forma changes where there is no real change in control over the station), for license renewal applications, minor change technical applications that involve a city-of-license change, and certain applications involving international broadcast stations or the export of programming to foreign stations to be rebroadcast back into the US. Notice of designation for hearing of any application is also required. We will concentrate here on the more common applications for changes to US stations, sale and license renewals.
Continue Reading Looking at Changes to the FCC’s Public Notice Requirements for Broadcast Applications