Earlier today, we wrote about the FCC’s reminder that TV broadcasters must, by February 4, complete the upload to their FCC-mandated online public inspection file all materials from the current renewal term that were created prior to the August 2 effective date of the online public inspection file requirement. We noted that the FCC had not addressed the question of stations that had outstanding renewals from the last renewal term – which could potentially mandate that some stations upload as much as 16 years worth of material to their online files. Well, today, the FCC issued another decision waiving its rules so that stations only need to post Quarterly Issues Programs lists from the current license term on their online public files – subject to some caveats.
There are certain limits on this waiver. If the limits are not met, then all Quarterly Issues Programs lists, back to the last granted renewal, have to be posted to the online public file. The limits include the following:
- The last renewal cannot have been opposed by a member of the public.
- The delay in the renewal cannot have been caused by issues relating to the public interest service of the station to its local service area
- The station must continue to keep the Quarterly Issues Programs lists from the last renewal cycle at the station in a paper public file.
This decision does not relieve stations from all obligations to post materials from prior renewal terms, as described below.