The FCC this week released its second EEO audit notice for 2023. The FCC’s Public Notice, audit letter, and the list of stations selected for audit is available here. Those stations, and the station employment units (commonly owned or controlled stations serving the same area sharing at least one employee) with which they are associated, must provide to the FCC (by uploading the information to their online public inspection file) their last two years of EEO Annual Public File reports, as well as backing data to show that the station in fact did everything that was required under the FCC rules. The response to this audit is due to be uploaded to the public file of affected stations by December 14, 2023. The audit notice says that stations audited in 2021 or 2022, or whose license renewals were filed after October 1, 2021, can ask the FCC for further instructions, possibly exempting them from the audit because of the recent FCC review of their performance. Perhaps for this reason, no stations in New England or the Mid-Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA, and DE) states, are included in the list of audited stations, as stations in these states were the last to file their license renewals.
With the release of this audit, and the recent $25,000 fine proposed for some Kansas radio stations that had not fully met their EEO obligations (see our article here), it is important to review your EEO compliance even if your stations are not subject to this audit. The FCC has promised to randomly audit approximately 5% of all broadcast stations each year. As the response (and the audit letter itself) must be uploaded to the public file, it can be reviewed not only by the FCC, but also by anyone else with an internet connection anywhere, at any time. The recent proposed fine, a fine imposed on Cumulus Media for a late upload of a single EEO Annual Public File Report last year (see our article here), and the FCC’s pending consideration of the return of the EEO Form 395 reporting on the race and gender of all station employees (see our article here), shows how seriously the FCC takes EEO obligations.Continue Reading FCC Announces Second EEO Audit of 2023 – 150 Radio and TV Stations Must Report on Their EEO Compliance