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New Online Public File system goes active this week

The FCC’s new Online Public Inspection File (OPIF) will be operational this Friday, June 24.

Radio stations in the top 50 radio markets with five or more full-time employees will begin uploading public file materials to OPIF on that date.

TV stations will leave the current Broadcast Public Inspection File (BPIF) behind and will start uploading new station files to the OPIF.  

The FCC will automatically move materials previously uploaded by TV stations to the BPIF to the new OPIF.

Attorney David Oxenford of TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP said the mechanics of uploading documents won’t be too unfamiliar for those who have worked with FCC electronic filing systems in the past, but there is one detail that stations need to note to make the system work.

“There is an ON/OFF ‘switch’ on the webpage that stations get when they log into their public file,” said Oxenford.

“It is initially set to the OFF position and OFF is in red letters.” 

Before the public can see the documents in station’s online public file, station staff need to toggle that switch to ON (it will turn green) at which point the station’s online file is “live”. 

Oxenford advises stations not to forget to go and turn their file “on” for the June 24 effective date. 

And just as important, Oxenford cautions, staff should make sure that the FCC has uploaded all the documents that it is supposed to upload to a station’s file (e.g. applications and most other electronic FCC filings, and a coverage map for the station).

The first wave of radio stations required to post materials starting June 24 have six months to get all of their old public file documents online.  

All other radio stations can begin the process of moving materials online, although they are not required to make their online public file live until March 1, 2018. 

The only semblance of a physical public file remaining at stations are the files for letters from the public and old political file documents (post-transition political file documents need to be uploaded – the pre-effective date political documents are kept on paper for two years). 

It appears the FCC will do away with a physical public file at stations. 

Eventually, old political file documents will exceed their required two-year retention period.

The FCC has also recently proposed a rule-making to do away with the letters from public file that stations must keep on site.

For those wanting a look at the new system before Friday, there are several options.

The FCC conducted a webinar earlier this month which has been archived for viewing here.  

The commission has also posted background documents for download in Word and .pdf formats.

Stations can also experiment with the new system with a simulated file for practicing – available here.

The FCC’s helpdesk is available to answer any questions regarding the OPIF database. 

Contact information for the helpdesk is available at 1-877-480-3201 or 1-717-338-2824 (TTY) or stations may submit requests online via

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

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