The FCC yesterday released two public notices about the procedures to be used in the upcoming radio license renewal cycle. These actions were previewed by the FCC at the NAB Convention last week (see our article here). As we wrote here and here, the license renewal cycle begins with the filing of license renewal applications by stations in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia that must be submitted by June 3 (as the June 1 deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next business day). Stations in these states should already be running their Pre-Filing Announcements on the 1st and 16th of the 2 months preceding the renewal filing (see our articles here and here).

The first of yesterday’s notices announces that the renewals will be filed in the FCC’s LMS database which was first used by radio broadcasters in connection with the filing of their last set of Biennial Ownership Reports. In addition to the license renewal form (now FCC Form 2100, Schedule 303-S), broadcasters will also have to submit a Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (LMS Form 2100, Schedule 396). The Public Notice says that the forms will be available by May 1. It also notes that, over time, other radio forms will migrate to the LMS database as the FCC leaves behind CDBS, the database that it has used for broadcasting for well over a decade.
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The FCC today released a Public Notice announcing new provisions in its license renewal Form 303S – the form that radio and television stations will be using to file license renewal applications, starting with license renewals for radio stations in DC, Virginia and West Virginia in June.  The Notice addressed several changes in the license renewal form – including the addition of certifications concerning whether a station was off the air at any point during the license term for a period of more than 30 days, whether principals of the licensee have interests in daily newspapers in the same area, and whether the station is in compliance with the RF radiation rules.  Two other issues of note were raised in the Public Notice – one dealing with stations that have not received a license renewal from the last license cycle, and one dealing with the newly required certification that stations must make – that their advertising contracts contain a nondiscrimination provision to assure that advertisers are not purchasing advertising on the station for a discriminatory purpose

We’ve written about the advertising anti-discrimination certification before, suggesting language that stations include in their contracts.  What is new in today’s notice is that the FCC has clarified that the certification only covers the period from today’s notice until the filing of the license renewal application.  So stations that do not have such certifications can still get them into their contracts now to avoid certification issues later.  In our previous articles on this subject, we’ve noted that this is a confusing requirement, and that even its supporters have urged the FCC to clarify it. Today’s Notice only says that stations must avoid advertising purchases made on the basis of "no urban, no Spanish" dictates, but does not go any further in interpreting the requirements of this policy. 


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