Early this year, we provided our look into the crystal ball to see what was on the FCC’s agenda for broadcasters in the coming year. Yesterday, the FCC published in the Federal Register its own list – its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda – listing an inventory of the matters at the FCC awaiting Commission action. The
The Indiana Broadcasters Association recently asked me five questions to highlight the requirements of the FCC’s EEO rules. As these questions are applicable to all broadcasters, we are posting my response here. My answers are below.
Beyond the general requirement that all broadcasters (and all other businesses) avoid discrimination in hiring, promotion, and all other…
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the last week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- A list of “ex parte” presentations made to the FCC (disclosures of presentations made to FCC decision makers outside of
As we enter the last quarter of the year, the broadcasters’ October calendar is full of important regulatory dates and deadlines. We share some of those dates below and urge you to stay in close touch with your lawyers, engineers, and consultants for the dates and deadlines applicable to your station’s operations.
On or before October 1, radio stations in Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Marianas Islands, Oregon, and Washington and TV stations in Iowa and Missouri must submit their license renewal applications. Pay close attention to the contents of your online public file and be sure that all required documents are complete and were uploaded on time. Stations filing their renewals (other than LPFMs) are also required to file a Broadcast EEO Program Report (FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396), submitting two years of EEO Public File reports for FCC review unless your employment unit employs fewer than 5 full-time employees. As you are putting the final touches on your applications, be sure to read the instructions for the license renewal application (radio, TV) and consult with counsel if you have questions.
Continue Reading October Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: License Renewals, Broadcast Ownership Filings, Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists, Rulemaking Comment Dates and More
Here are some of the regulatory developments from the last week of significance to broadcasters , with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- At the last minute, the deadline for broadcasters to pay their annual regulatory fees was extended to Monday, September
Comments are due on September 30 on the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to bring back some form of the old FCC Form 395B, the Annual Employment Report. That form required broadcasters to report on the racial and gender make-up of their workforce in various employment categories. The use of the form has been on hold for almost two decades after two rulings from the US Court of Appeals that found it was unconstitutional for the FCC to use the information collected from the Form 395B to determine if a broadcaster’s license renewal application deserved extra scrutiny. In effect, the court found using the reports in this way compelled broadcasters to make hiring decisions based on the race and gender of employment candidates, which was discriminatory and thus could not be compelled by the FCC.
This created a tension between a law requiring that the FCC gather information on the racial and gender make-up of the broadcast workforce to determine if affirmative action efforts should be made on an industry-wide basis, versus the prohibition on gathering this information on a station-specific basis where the temptation would always be to look at a specific station’s data and make assumptions about whether it had been in making employment decisions in color blind manner. While the FCC has over the last two decades repeatedly considered bringing back the form to collect information on an industry-wide basis, questions have always arisen as to how the accuracy and completeness of that information could be assured if the information gathered did not identify the station providing it. And, once that information was in hand, would it be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) obligations that could force its disclosure which could lead to it potentially being used in an enforcement context?
Continue Reading The Return of FCC Form 395B? – The FCC Looks at Reviving Reports on the Race and Gender of Broadcast Employees