Texas Television Station License Renewals Due April 1posted on 1.22.2022
The New Year heralds an important event in the lives of Texas television stations – filing the TV station license renewal application with the FCC by April 1.
To help Texas television stations prepare for this all-important filing, TAB will present a free, 90-minute TAB member station webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 1 pm CT.
Attorneys Scott Flick and Lauren Lynch Flick of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, TAB’s FCC legal counsel, will brief TAB member TV station staff on what will be required to renew the station’s license this year.
The session will review the forms that will be used such as the FCC’s license renewal Form 303-S, the FCC’s Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report Form 396, and the steps broadcasters must undertake to ensure compliance with the FCC’s rules.
Changes from Previous Renewals
There have been a few changes to the license renewal process since the last cycle in 2014.
For example, stations used to be required to broadcast public notice of a license renewal application both before and after the filing of that application.
In recent years, the FCC eliminated the pre-filing broadcast public notices (which in Texas used to occur in February and March prior to the license filing) 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.
While it is not new, broadcasters, in most cases, must have and maintain a station Online Public Inspection File (OPIF).
TAB publicized several FCC consent decrees involving Texas radio stations in 2021 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.
Television stations should also take care to file the FCC’s Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (FCC Form 396), before the license renewal application.
There are questions related to it on the license renewal application.
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.
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