With the federal government and the FCC under new management, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel may well take the Commission in a direction that aligns with the policies she supported during her time as a Commissioner.  It is notable that, no matter what policies she advances, the routine regulatory dates that fill up a broadcaster’s calendar are generally unchanged.  Some of the dates and deadlines which broadcasters should remember in February are discussed below.  Given the transition period that we have just been through, the number of February dates are somewhat lighter than in most months – but that is sure to pick up as everyone settles into their new roles at the FCC.

On or before February 1, radio stations in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma and television stations in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi must file their license renewal applications through the FCC’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).  Those stations must also file with the FCC a Broadcast EEO Program Report (Form 2100, Schedule 396) and, if they are part of a station employment unit (a station or a group of commonly owned stations in the same market that share at least one employee) with 5 or more full-time employees, upload to their public file and post a link on their station website to their Annual EEO Public Inspection File report covering their hiring and employment outreach activities for the twelve months from February 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.  TV and radio stations licensed to communities in New Jersey and New York which are part of an employment unit with 5 or more full-time employees also must upload to their public inspection file their Annual EEO Public Inspection File report by February 1.
Continue Reading February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: License Renewals, EEO Reporting, KidVid Reports, Zonecasting Comments, FCC Open Meeting, and More

Here are some of the regulatory developments of 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.

  • President Joe Biden named Jessica Rosenworcel as Acting Chair of the FCC, where she will set the agenda for the

The Senate on Monday approved, after months of delay, the nominations as new FCC Commissioners of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai.  Once they are sworn in and assume their new jobs in the next few days, this will bring the FCC up to full strength with 5 seated Commissioners for the first time in a year.  Rosenworcel comes from having worked for the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees FCC regulation.  She previously worked as a legal assistant to former Commissioner Copps at the FCC.  Pai has also worked on the Hill and at the FCC, so both have experience with issues before the Commission.

So what do these nominations mean for broadcasters?  Probably, not much in the immediate term.  With the two new Commissioners being added to the FCC, the balance of power remains in favor of the Democrats.  But, as we have seen over the years, most Commission decisions aren’t decided on a partisan basis – in fact most are unanimous.  In the recent past, there are a few decisions where the Commission has been somewhat divided, with Republican Robert McDowell tending to take a somewhat more deregulatory position, as in connection with the recent ruling on online public inspection files for TV stations.  But party affiliation is not necessarily a guide to a Commissioner’s positions, as many of the proposals for broadcast re-regulation first arose during the Republican administration of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (see, for instance, the proposals for localism regulation and the original proposal for an online public file adopted in 2007). 


Continue Reading Two New FCC Commissioners Approved by the Senate – What Does It Mean for Broadcasters?