The FCC today adopted rules to require that the public inspection files of radio stations (and of cable television systems and operators of satellite radio and television companies) to put their public inspection files online. While, thus far, the FCC has only released a public notice summarizing its decision and not the full text explaining its reasoning, what is clear is that the new rule will go in to effect later this year for commercial radio stations with 5 or more full-time employees which are located in the Top 50 markets. Other radio stations will have two years to come into compliance with the new requirements.
The rules, like the TV rules adopted several years ago (see our Q and A about the TV online file requirements, here), require that stations upload their files into an FCC-maintained database that will display the contents of each station’s file to the public. According to today’s public notice, political broadcasting material only needs to be uploaded on a going forward basis upon the effective date of the new rules (i.e. only new documents created after the effective date of the new rules needs to be uploaded – existing documents would be maintained in the station’s paper file until the two-year retention period for political documents has expired). It appears that all other documents not already in FCC databases will need to be fully uploaded by licensees within 6 months of the effective date of the new rules. The documents that will need to be uploaded within that 6 months would include Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and the Annual EEO Public Inspection file report back to the beginning of the station’s current license term – documents not normally filed with the FCC. Ownership Reports, FCC applications and similar documents filed with the FCC will be automatically uploaded to the station’s public file by the FCC’s own systems.
Continue Reading FCC Adopts Online Public File Requirements for Radio, Satellite and Cable – To be Effective for Large Market Radio Later This Year