FCC Proposes Online Public Notice Requirements
The FCC today adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes a modernized and standardized set of rules for local public notice given by broadcast applicants.
When filing certain applications, television and radio broadcast applicants are required by the Communications Act to give public notice to the local communities they serve to ensure that members of the public can participate in the broadcast licensing process.
The current rule requires certain applicants to provide written notice in a local newspaper, other applicants must broadcast on-air messages that announce the filing of an application, and some applicants must do both.
According to the commission, because the notice requirements differ based on the type of applicant, station and application, “the rules have become needlessly complex. Moreover, given the changes in public use of online information sources instead of newspapers, the elimination of the main studio rule, and the transition from physical to online public inspection files, the current rules have become anachronistic.”
Today’s notice proposes to modernize and simplify the public notice requirements, reduce the costs and burdens of the existing procedures and make it easier for the public to participate in the licensing process. It would replace the current newspaper publication requirement with a written public notice posted online on a publicly accessible website that includes a direct link to the broadcast application in question. Additionally, it proposes to:
- Simplify and standardize the public notice requirements for on-air announcements.
- Clarify the local public notice obligations of international broadcast stations and low-power FM stations.
- Update the commission’s rules concerning public notice for stations designated for evidentiary hearings.