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Concerns Over FCC Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists Continue

- Online public files make it easy for FCC to monitor for non-compliance

The FCC recently granted 39 radio stations another 60 days to complete their online Station Public Inspection File conversion.  Yes, the same conversion that was required to be complete March 1.  This group of stations, one of which is in Texas, has until June 23 to comply.  In its notice, the FCC “encouraged all of these stations to continue to work to complete the transition to the online file as expeditiously as possible.”     

Attorney David Oxenford of TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer notes “whether that suggests that the Commission might not strictly enforce the March 1 deadline is open to interpretation, but it is clear that, even if it has not reached that point already, at some point (likely soon) any station not in compliance with the requirements is looking at potential FCC penalties.”

Which brings up a serious point to all radio stations involved in the last wave of licensees required to move the Station Public Inspection File online – did you remember to upload the Quarterly Issues/Programs List last month?

April 10 was the deadline to upload the first such required list online since the conversion deadline.  The most recent list should detail programming aired from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2018, that was designed to serve the needs and interests of a station’s community.  It is important to timely file the lists and other required Public Inspection File documents as broadcasters are asked to certify that they have done so in their FCC license renewal applications.

“With the FCC’s public file database now logging the precise time a document is submitted, failing to properly disclose any late-filed documents is not only easy for the FCC to spot, but creates added risk for stations that falsely certify in their license renewal applications that the public file was complete at all times,” said Warren Kessler, an attorney with TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

“With license renewals occurring only once every eight years, even a few ‘oops’ moments each year can soon begin to look like a ‘pattern of noncompliance’ to the FCC.”

Word to the wise – if you forgot to upload the list, get it done as quickly as possible.

Need guidance on what the list should cover or how it should be formatted?  Kessler and Pillsbury law firm attorneys Scott R. Flick and Jessica T. Nyman have the details and suggestions in this Quarterly Issues/Programs List advisory

Questions?  Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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