At the end of April, we noted in our weekly summary of regulatory actions for broadcasters that the FCC had issued its first EEO audit notice for 2023 (available here), this time targeting over 200 radio and TV stations.  Those stations, and the station employment units (commonly owned stations serving the same area) with which they are associated, must provide to the FCC (by uploading the information to their online public inspection file) their last two years of EEO Annual Public File reports, as well as backing data to show that the station in fact did everything that was required under the FCC rules.  The response to the April audit is due to be uploaded to the public file of affected stations by June 8, 2023. 

While we noted the release of the audit notice, we thought that we should post our customary article describing the audit requirements and the basics of the FCC EEO rules as a reminder to all stations as to their general FCC EEO obligations.  The FCC has promised to randomly audit approximately 5% of all broadcast stations each year. As the response (and the audit letter itself) must be uploaded to the public file, it can be reviewed not only by the FCC, but also by anyone else with an internet connection anywhere, at any time.  The recent fine imposed on Cumulus Media for a late upload of a single EEO Annual Public File Report (see our article here) and the FCC’s pending consideration of the return of the EEO Form 395 reporting on the race and gender of all station employees (see our article here), shows how seriously the FCC takes EEO obligations. So, whether you are on the list or not, this is a good time for broadcasters to review what is generally required by the FCC’s EEO rules.Continue Reading Reminder About Broadcasters’ FCC EEO Obligations After the April’s First 2023 Audit of Station Performance

May is relatively light on scheduled regulatory deadlines for broadcasters, but the following dates are worthy of note.  In addition, always remember to keep in touch with your legal and regulatory advisors to make sure that you don’t overlook any regulatory deadlines that are specific to your station.

Comments are due on May 15, with reply comments due on June 13, on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) requesting comment on a variety of proposed rules implementing the Low Power Protection Act (LPPA).  The LPPA provides certain low power television stations in small markets with a “limited window of opportunity” to apply to become Class A television stations with primary status, protecting them from interference from new or improved full-power stations.  The FCC is seeking comment on interpreting the eligibility requirements for stations seeking this status.Continue Reading May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Rulemaking Comments on Various TV Issues and More