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Texas Radio Station License Renewals Less Than Six Months Away

As if 2020 hasn’t been sobering enough, the next Texas broadcast station license renewal cycle begins on April 1, 2021. That’s the date that Texas radio broadcasters must have their station license renewals filed. Texas television stations will follow in April 2022.

TAB will offer a license renewal webinar in early 2021 to brief Texas radio stations on what to expect and answer staff questions about the license renewal process and application.

There have been two significant changes since Texas broadcast stations last went through license renewals.

In prior license renewal cycles, stations were required to broadcast public notice of a license renewal application both before and after the filing of that application. The FCC recently eliminated the pre-filing broadcast public notices and modified the procedures for post-filing notices. These changes modify the timing and number of on-air announcements required and revise the text of the announcements themselves.

“These changes are subject to Office of Management and Budget approval and publication in the Federal Register, so they have not yet gone into effect, but Texas stations should expect the change to be official in time for next year’s radio station license renewals,” said Scott Flick, TAB’s FCC legal counsel with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. “Therefore, stations should remain alert for the announcement that the new rules have gone into effect.”

And the other change? While it’s not new, broadcasters, in most cases, must have and maintain a station Online Public Inspection File (OPIF).

Over the past year, TAB has publicized several FCC consent decrees related to the maintenance of the Political File component of the station OPIF. These have arisen from certifications made in the license renewal application. Other areas of potential concern are the station Quarterly Issues Programs reports, EEO reports including EEO outreach documentation, and station technical operations.

TAB-FCC Inspection Program
Stations can ensure FCC compliance by participating in the TAB Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program. TAB’s ABIP inspectors review station technical operations and the station OPIF using the FCC’s self-inspection checklist. The station is issued a report at the conclusion of the inspection which details any deficiencies found and the steps needed to achieve compliance.

Despite the pandemic’s effect on station operations, TAB’s ABIP continues to inspect stations that sign up for the service. TAB inspectors adhere to the accepted CDC COVID-19 safety protocols for in-person interaction.

More information about TAB’s ABIP is available here.

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

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