The proposal, part of the commission’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, says the FCC should eliminate the paper filing requirement for some documents, relying instead on the FCC’s existing public file rules.
The FCC today adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that tentatively concludes that the commission should eliminate the decades-old requirement that broadcasters routinely file paper copies of station contracts and certain other documents with the commission.
Since the late 1930s, the FCC has required broadcasters to submit copies of certain contracts and documents relating to ownership and operation of broadcast stations. Typically, stations either mail or hand deliver paper copies of these documents to the commission. The documents are then made available to FCC staff and the public via the commission’s public reference room.
Today’s notice tentatively concludes that the commission should eliminate the paper filing requirement for these documents, relying instead on the FCC’s existing public file rules. The public file rules require licensees and permittees to make these documents available for public inspection by either:
- Retaining copies of these documents in their public files or
- Maintaining an up-to-date list of such documents in their public files and providing copies to a requesting party within seven days.
For international broadcast stations, which do not have public file obligations, the notice proposes to eliminate the paper filing requirement but retain the commission’s ability to obtain the documents upon request.
This is the fifth rulemaking stemming from the FCC’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative launched in May 2017. The initiative’s goal is to reduce unnecessary regulation that can impede competition and innovation in media markets.