Last week brought a number of Washington developments that we’ll write about in more detail soon, including the FCC’s decision to relax the limitations on foreign ownership of broadcast stations. But there were also a number of other actions that bear mention – including the decision released late Friday to extend the deadline for the filing of Biennial Ownership reports that are to be filed by all commercial broadcasters – including AM, FM, TV. LPTV and Class A TV station owners. These more complicated versions of FCC Form 323 are filed every other year to assess diversity in the ownership of broadcast stations. These reports were originally to be filed on November 1, but the filing date was extended to December 2 earlier this year (see our article here), due to the recognized complexity of the completion and electronic filing of these forms. Now, after the FCC shutdown deprived broadcasters of several weeks’ preparation time in which the electronic forms were available for use, the deadline has been extended to December 20. The FCC Public Notice warns filers to try to submit their reports before the deadline to avoid potential slowdowns in the electronic system due to an expected heavy volume of users as the deadline approaches.
In fact, the effect that heavy demands on FCC’s electronic filing system was made evident by the FCC’s last-minute decision to extend by one day the last day for filing LPFM applications. That extended deadline passed on Friday, after being extended from the originally announced extended deadline (due to the government shutdown) of Thursday, because glitches in the FCC’s electronic filing system delayed last-minute filings before that Thursday deadline. There has not yet been any announcement of the number of LPFM applications filed in the window, but many think that the number will rival if not exceed the thousands of applications filed in the 2003 FM translator window – applications that the FCC is still processing over 10 years after their filing.
Continue Reading Odds and Ends: Extension of Biennial Ownership Report Deadline, $110,000 Penalty for Indecency, Deadline for UHF Discount Comments, and Closing of the LPFM Window