TV broadcasters have had to comply with an online public inspection file requirement since 2012. This past January, the FCC said it would expand the online requirement to broadcast radio, satellite radio, cable system and DBS operators. Thursday, the FCC announced the effective date of that new obligation. It also announced that it has established a new filing system, the Online Public Inspection File, for use by these newly-covered entities, as well as by television broadcasters who until now have been using the existing online Broadcast Public Inspection File.
As we roll into the New Year, it’s important that full-power TV and Class A TV licensees keep their eyes on Feb. 4. That’s the date by which all TV licensees must have uploaded their public inspection files to the FCC-maintained online site. If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to inventory your public file, determine what documents have to be uploaded and start the upload process.
On Thursday, the much anticipated Online Public Inspection File for television stations launched more or less successfully. To its credit, the FCC clearly listened to the many voicemails and emails sent to FCC staff, as well as the comments and questions raised during the FCC’s online demonstrations prior to launch. Some potentially nasty pitfalls for stations were ironed out via the FAQs, and the system will hopefully continue to be refined in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, here is what stations need to do now that the system is operational.
Tuesday was the day that the FCC was to debut its new online public file system for TV stations. You know, the system that the TV industry, en masse, will be expected to be tapping into as of Aug. 2. We dropped by the FCC to take a first-hand look at what the Feds have cooked up. We were favorably impressed.
According to a notice in today’s Federal Register, the Office of Management and Budget has approved the FCC’s revised public file rule. Thanks to that notice, the rule — which now requires full service TV and Class A TV stations to post their public files on an FCC-maintained, cloud-based, online system — will become effective 30 days hence.
The Office of Management and Budget has once again rubber-stamped and approved an FCC information collection request in apparent defiance of its statutory obligation to take a hard look at the burdens imposed under the Paperwork Reduction Act. What is a bit of a surprise, and frankly disappointing, is that the OMB took less than two weeks to approve the FCC’s request even though the proposed rules appear to clearly violate the standards of the PRA, and lengthy comments were filed by multiple parties informing the OMB of that fact.