Just a few months ago, the FCC asked for comments about whether to extend the online public file requirement to radio broadcasters. Now the FCC looks poised to advance that regulatory effort as it is circulating a draft proposal among the FCC Commissioners. Such a proposed rulemaking would be voted on and likely put out for public comment before any final order is cemented.
Several NRB members sounded notes of concern to the FCC’s initial inquiry. For example, Blount Communications argued that an online public file is an unnecessary burden:
Transitioning the public file online, 24/7, opens the station to criticism, inquiries and complaints by individuals or groups anywhere in the world who never listen to the station, do not reside in and have no connection to the communities the station serves, but who may have or confect an axe to grind about station ownership, programming, affiliation, format or a slew of other issues. An online public file is simply not necessary for those within a station’s service area who already have convenient and ready access to a radio station public file.
In addition, the Educational Media Foundation reminded the Commission that it “needs to carefully assess the unique obligations for public file compliance for noncommercial stations, and if it decides to adopt obligations for an online public file for radio stations generally, it adopt rules that protect privacy rights of donors and others involved in the noncommercial broadcasting community.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: November 7, 2014