Friday afternoon, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing an extension of broadcasters’ deadlines for certain filings in light of the disruptions being caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Before TV station licenses come up for renewal in just two years, station should make sure their Quarterly Issues Programs lists are in order. The lists, which detail broadcasters’ public affairs content, are the only officially mandated document showing how a broadcaster served the needs of its community.
In an FCC decision fining a TV station $10,000 for failing to include 15 Quarterly Issues Programs lists in its public inspection file, the FCC refused to reduce the proposed liability based on an intervening “long-form” transfer of control followed by a short-form assignment of license of the station. Thus, even though the station was no longer controlled by the same individuals who controlled the station at the time of the violation, and even though the licensee company was different, the fine still applied.
On or before Jan. 10, all radio, full power TV, and Class A TV stations are required to place in (or, in the case of TV, upload to) their public inspection file a copy of an Issues/Programs Report covering the station’s treatment of local community issues in programs broadcast between Oct. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2015. Public service announcements may be listed as a supplement to the report, if desired, but should not form the basis for the entire report. Similarly, the report should not consist solely of descriptions of breaking news.