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Last vestige of paper public file could be dropped

 - FCC’s May 25 agenda item would boost station security

The FCC is slated to discuss at its May 25 meeting dropping the last requirement that stations maintain any part of its public file in physical form at the studio. Only letters and emails from the public are left in the hard-copy public file at a station, with all other required documents now posted online as mandated by the Commission in a separate proceeding last January.

If approved, the measure will greatly enhance the security of stations which currently are obligated by the FCC to admit anyone who knocks on the door and asks to review the station’s public file. Dropping the requirement also would eliminate identity theft concerns for those writing and emailing a station and avoid imposing further costs on stations by requiring them to redact names and addresses from the documents.

Stations are increasingly viewed as “soft targets” by law enforcement for criminal actors.  A recent bomb hoax on a Baltimore TV station is just the most recent threat publicized.

The anticipated change was proposed by TAB and 49 other state broadcast associations in a filing on the rulemaking proceeding that resulted in expanding the online public file requirement from radio to TV.

TAB’s DC legal counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, outlines the details of the proposed change.

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

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