Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > FCC Catching Up…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

FCC Catching Up Post-Shutdown

- EEO Mid-Term Report, Online Public File

The FCC held their statutorily required monthly meeting last month, albeit in a somewhat abbreviated manner due to the federal government shutdown. Rather than working through its published tentative agenda, the commission made various announcements and delayed its anticipated elimination of the EEO Mid-Term Report on Form 397. Streamlining the FCC’s onerous and duplicative EEO obligations imposed on broadcasters is one of TAB’s continuing priorities.

The FCC was prepared to vote on eliminating this reporting requirement, but the impact of the delay to the February 14 meeting will be fairly limited as the substantive changes would not have gone into effect until May 1.

“Given that the last round of EEO Mid-Term Reports for this license renewal cycle are due on April 1, 2019, and the cycle does not resume until 2023, the delay in voting on the item will have no practical impact on stations unless the delay drags on for years,” says Warren Kessler, associate with TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

In addition to eliminating the mid-term reporting requirement, the FCC plans to modify the Online Public Inspection File to require covered Radio stations to self-identify by answering a question about staffing size before permitting them to upload their required annual EEO public file report.

Feb. 11 Online Public Inspection File Deadline
Once back to work, the FCC issued a slew of new deadlines, including one for the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF).  All such filings due by January 10, as well as all non-quarterly filings that were required to be placed in a station’s OPIF between January 3 and January 28, are now due by February 11. Any filings that were made during the shutdown will need to be resubmitted to the proper OPIF site.

There are several other new deadlines licensees should note, all outlined in this Public Notice which also indicates that the FCC will “consider requests for further extensions in individual matters as appropriate.”

Changes Afoot for NCE, LPFM Licensing
Also postponed until the February meeting was a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking several changes in the way the FCC currently processes competing (also known as “mutually exclusive”) license applications for noncommercial educational (“NCE”) FM and television stations and low power FM (“LPFM”) stations. 

The FCC wants to improve its review process by eliminating certain requirements for NCE applicants and amending its rules governing the “holding period” during which licensees must maintain certain station characteristics. It also has identified rules that merit updating after being deemed confusing or unnecessarily time-consuming. 

Until then, Kessler notes, broadcasters should work on meeting their accrued regulatory obligations that couldn’t be fulfilled during the shutdown and even consider expediting any planned future filings as talk about another federal government shutdown continues. 

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News