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. 

Continue Reading FCC Clarifies Requirement for Antidiscrimination Clause in Advertising Contracts – And Sets Out Other License Renewal Changes

In the FCC’s recent Report and Order on Diversity, released earlier this year, the Commission announced new requirements for all broadcast station’s advertising sales contracts. The new FCC rule requires that all advertising contracts contain clauses ensuring that there is no discrimination based on race or gender in the sale of advertising time. This new requirement, which took effect in July, not only requires broadcasters to have these non-discrimination clauses in their advertising sales contracts, but will also require that broadcasters certify as to the existence of such clauses in their next license renewal application. Thus, to be sure that you can make such certifications, you must revise your advertising contracts to include a nondiscrimination provision, such as the one set out below, if you have not done so already. 

These new measures are intended to increase participation in the broadcast industry by businesses owned by women and minorities. The Commission was concerned that some advertising contracts include either explicit or implicit “no urban/no Spanish” dictates. Such contractual limitations, the Commission explained, may violate U.S. anti-discrimination laws by either presuming that certain minority groups cannot be persuaded to buy the advertiser’s product or service, or worse, intentionally minimizing the number African Americans or Hispanics patronizing advertisers’ businesses. 

Continue Reading FCC Rules Require Non-Discrimination Clauses in All Advertising Sales Contracts – Act Now to Avoid Trouble Later

UPDATE  5-29-2008-  Please note, the Commission has revised the dates for submitting comments in this rule making proceeding.  Comments in the proceeding are now due on or before June 30, 2008, and Reply Comments are due on or before July 14, 2008.  This means that interested parties have a couple of weeks less than