Just before Christmas the FCC approved a proposed rulemaking that would extend the online public file requirement beyond just TV broadcasters to radio broadcasters, as well as cable and satellite providers. This process is moving fairly swiftly as only in the latter half of 2014 did the FCC raise the subject in a public notice. A number of organizations responded at that time, including several NRB members. Among them, 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 made sure to highlight, “[T]he FCC 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.”
Find this FCC proposed rulemaking here.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: January 9, 2015