Arizona Broadcasters Association


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  • 17 Oct 2018 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Due  to  a “large influx of earth station applications filed near the deadline,” which lead to some technical difficulties, the FCC has extended the filing deadline for C-Band earth station registration.

    The already-extended deadline of Oct. 17 saw a lot of late entries into the filing portal which “experienced intermittent difficulties that have prevented some applicants from filing for licenses or registrations.”

    View the full release here. 

  • 17 Sep 2018 9:48 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON –FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) until Oct. 3 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.


    The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.


    Oct. 3 was the previously scheduled back-up date for the test, which was originally set up for this Thursday, Sept. 20. A backup date is always planned in case of widespread severe weather or other significant events on the primary test date. FEMA and the nation’s emergency management community remain committed to the life-saving activities occuring through parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.


    For further information on the test, go to

  • 20 Aug 2018 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Here are some notes that may help stations registering all C-band earth station dishes and are wondering about reimbursement from SES.

    Remember: radio and television stations must register their C-Band earth stations with the FCC by October 17th, or they may not receive interference protection from new 5-G broadband services that will be sharing the band.

     FROM SES:

    The FCC may reassign some C-band spectrum for terrestrial use.


    Earth Station registration is crucial in order to be considered by the FCC for protection from future operations.  Let the FCC know where your earth station is located by either:


    1. Certifying that any registrations made prior to April 19, 2018 are accurate, OR

    2. Registering all unregistered C-band earth stations with the FCC before October 17, 2018.



    SES is here to help!
    1. Email us anytime with any questions:   
    2. Website with instructions and forms:  

    3. Twitter: @SES_NAMP and @SES_Satellites
    4. Phone line that reaches directly to an SES Regulatory contact for any questions a member may have about registration: 609-987-4300


    5. Reimbursement by SES may be available to U.S. C-band Earth Station operators that submit new registrations for C-band antennas operating in the contiguous United States (i.e., cable systems, radio broadcasters, video broadcasters, DTH providers, video programmers, MVPDs, etc.; not in Hawaii and Alaska), subject to the following conditions: (i) proof of submission of the FCC registration fee must be submitted to by October 31, 2018; (ii) only new registrations submitted between July 25, 2018 and October 17, 2018 are eligible for reimbursement; (iii) reimbursement is limited to the registration fee of $435 per Earth Station; and (iv) reimbursement is at all times subject to the availability of appropriate funds by SES. No other charges or costs will be reimbursed by SES.  Operators' eligibility is not dependent on the size of their operations, but our goal is to assist those for whom the cost of the fee is a barrier to registration.  


    6.   In order to be considered eligible for reimbursement, according to the information in bullet #5 above, please attach and send your confirmation of payment from the FCC to Once received, it will be checked to determine eligibility status.  If eligible, it will be reimbursed.  We are currently working on the method of reimbursement and will keep you updated.  Please note that SES may request a W-9 from your company in order to process the reimbursement. We thank you in advance for your patience.  If you are not eligible for reimbursement for any reason, we will notify you.


    7.  For operators with, or entities serving, large numbers of earth stations at geographically diverse sites (more than 25 sites), please contact to discuss a method for doing so using a batch filing approach.

  • 25 Jun 2018 9:43 AM | Anonymous
    The FCC just released a public notice regarding C Band earth stations allowing for some relief with 3-month payment and time extension. Read the full notice below:

    PUBLIC NOTICE Federal Communications Commission

    445 12th Street, S.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20554

    News Media Information 202 / 418-0500


    TTY: 1-888-835-5322

    DA 18-639

    June 21, 2018






    GN Docket Nos. 17-183, 18-122

    By this Public Notice, the International Bureau (Bureau) announces a 90-day extension, to

    October 17, 2018, to the filing window for fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations currently operating

    in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band announced in the Public Notice DA 18-398 (April 19, 2018) (Freeze

    PN).1 The Bureau also clarifies that applications to register multiple FSS antennas operating in this band

    that are located at the same address or geographic location may be filed in the International Bureau Filing

    System (IBFS) by using a single registration form and paying a single fee (fee code CMO, currently

    $435). Finally, the Bureau announces the availability of an additional option to facilitate the registration

    of large numbers of geographically diverse earth stations by filing an application for a single “network”

    license and paying a single fee in IBFS (fee code BGV, currently $10,620).


    On April 19, 2018, the International, Public Safety and Homeland Security, and Wireless

    Telecommunications Bureaus issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze effective on April

    19, 2018, on the filing of new or modification applications for FSS earth station licenses,2 FSS receiveonly

    earth station registrations,3 and fixed microwave licenses4 in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band.5 The

    purpose of this freeze is to preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz

    band pending Commission action as part of its ongoing inquiry into the possibility of permitting terrestrial

    1 The freeze on filing new or modification applications for fixed microwave licenses in the band continues to apply

    to fixed microwave licenses, for which no 90-day filing window was adopted. See Temporary Freeze on

    Applications for New or Modified Fixed Satellite Service Earth Stations and Fixed Microwave Stations in the 3.7-

    4.2 GHz Band; 90-Day Window to File Applications for Earth Stations Currently Operating in 3.7-4.2 GHz Band,

    GN Docket Nos. 17-183, 18-122, Public Notice, DA 18-398 at 1, 3 (IB, PSHSB, WTB Apr. 19, 2018), 2018 WL

    1898716 (Freeze PN).

    2 47 CFR § 25.115(a), (b), (c)(2).

    3 47 CFR § 25.115(b).

    4 47 CFR Part 101, subparts H and I.

    5 See Freeze PN.


    broadband use and more intensive fixed use of the band (Mid-band Proceeding).6

    90-day Extension of Filing Window

    As a limited exception to the filing freeze, the International Bureau concurrently opened a 90-day

    window during which entities that own or operate existing FSS earth stations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band

    may voluntarily file an application to register or license their earth stations if they are not currently

    registered or licensed in the IBFS, or may file an application to modify a current registration or license.7

    To encourage operators to file during the window, the Bureau also waived the coordination report

    requirement for the duration of the freeze.8 This 90-day window was also designed to provide the

    Commission and commenters with more accurate information about existing earth stations, which will

    inform the Commission’s pending inquiry addressing new opportunities for use of this band.9

    Since the beginning of the freeze, many parties have submitted to the record their concerns about

    the volume of unregistered earth stations and the difficulties that many of these operators have faced in

    preparing the information for filing.10 These parties indicate that without some relief many operators will

    be unable to satisfy the filing deadline and the Commission will be without accurate information for its

    deliberations in the Mid-band Proceeding.11 To address these concerns, the International Bureau now

    extends the 90-day filing date for an additional 90 days, until October 17, 2018, in order to provide

    operators with more time to file applications, should they choose to do so. This action does not impact

    the cut-off date for operations eligible for the exception, i.e., only earth stations constructed and

    operational as of April 19, 2018 are eligible for filing during this window.

    Filing Options for Operators with Multiple Earth Station Antennas

    Several commenters in the Mid-band Proceeding have raised concerns about the practical and

    financial burden that registration would place on operators with large numbers of earth stations and have

    encouraged us to consider permitting a “batch” filing option for earth station registrations.12 In particular,

    6 Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz, Notice of Inquiry, 32 FCC Rcd 6373

    (2017) (NOI). We note that as part of the MOBILE NOW Act Congress has required the Commission to assess the

    feasibility of Federal and non-Federal sharing the 3.7-4.2 GHz band and submit a report to the Secretary of

    Commerce and to Congress within 18 months. See Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, P.L. 115-141, which

    includes the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services (RAY BAUM’S) Act. Title VI

    of the RAY BAUM’S Act enacted provisions from the Senate-approved MOBILE NOW Act, which directly

    addresses the 3 GHz band and multiple other spectrum related policies. See MOBILE NOW Act, Sec. 603

    (Identifying 255 Megahertz), Sec. 605 (3 Gigahertz Spectrum).

    7 Freeze PN at 3-5.

    8 Id. at 4-5.

    9 The 90-day window is inapplicable to fixed microwave service because, unlike receive-only earth stations, license

    applications were mandatory for these operations prior to the freeze.

    10 See, e.g., Ex Parte of LinkUp Communications, Society of Broadcast Engineers, Intelsat Corporation, and SES

    Americom, Inc. (May 24, 2018) (Linkup et al.); Ex Parte of SES Americom, Inc. and Intelsat License LLC at 6

    (June 18, 2018) (SES and Intelsat).

    11 See, e.g., Linkup et al. Ex Parte.

    12 See, e.g., LinkUp et al. Ex Parte at 2 (suggesting a batch filing process for earth stations); Ex Parte of National

    Association of Broadcasters (May 22, 2018) (NAB Ex Parte) (requesting a process whereby applicants could

    register multiple earth stations and pay only one filing fee); Comment of the Satellite Industry Association at 7-8

    (May 31, 2018) (suggesting a streamlined process for earth station registrations); Ex Partes of the American Cable


    these parties urge the Commission to permit multiple earth stations to be registered under a single

    application, with a single application fee. These parties have noted that it may be financially or

    technically difficult for operators with large numbers of earth stations to complete their applications

    within the filing window.13 These parties note that if operators are discouraged from filing then the

    Commission and commenters on the Mid-band Proceeding will lack accurate information on the scope of

    FSS earth station operations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band.14 We address these concerns with two “batch”

    filing options below.

    First, consistent with current policy and process, we clarify that operators with multiple receiveonly

    antennas at a single geographic location or address may apply to register these antennas under a

    single earth station application and pay a single application fee of $435. This filing option provides

    financial relief from application fees for operators with multiple co-located antennas at a single site.

    Second, we announce that we will waive certain sections of the Commission’s rules to permit

    operators of multiple geographically diverse receive-only earth stations to register those stations under

    Section 25.115(c)(2), which permits applications for “Networks of earth station operating in the 3700-

    4200 MHz and 5925-6425 MHz bands.”15 Specifically, we waive certain portions of Section

    25.115(c)(2), as discussed further below. Waiver of the Commission’s rules is appropriate where

    particular facts make strict compliance with a rule inconsistent with the public interest, special

    circumstances warrant a deviation from the general rule, and the waiver does not undermine the validity

    of the general rule.16 In the present case, we note that the Section 25.115(c)(2) rules were developed

    initially to facilitate the licensing under a single application of large numbers of transmit-receive earth

    stations.17 As such, much of Section 25.115(c)(2), such as those rules defining applicable transmit power

    limits, would plainly not apply to a network of receive-only earth stations and the purpose of these rules

    would not be undermined. Furthermore, the parts of Section 25.115(c)(2) that would apply to receiveonly

    earth stations were primarily intended to facilitate coordination with terrestrial operators,18 but given

    the current freeze on new fixed microwave licenses in the band and the concurrent waiver of the

    coordination requirement for earth stations filing registration or license applications in the 3.7-4.2 GHz

    band, the purpose of these requirements will not be undermined by a waiver. Furthermore, we find that

    facilitating the registration of additional earth stations will aid the Commission’s pending inquiry into

    operations in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band. We thus announce here that we will accept for filing applications

    under Section 25.115(c)(2) for networks of receive-only earth stations and waive those requirements that

    are inapplicable to receive-only stations.

    We explain below how these rules will apply during the filing window, as extended by this Public


    • Applicants must complete a “Lead Application” on Form 312, Main Form and Schedule B. The

    Association (Feb. 2, 2018; Jan. 12, 2018) (suggesting a streamlined process for earth station registrations); SES and

    Intelsat Ex Parte at 4-6 (requesting a streamlined “batch-filing” approach to registration of earth stations).

    13 See NAB Ex Parte at 3.

    14 See id.

    15 47 CFR § 25.115(c)(2).

    16 NetworkIP, LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 125-28 (D.C. Cir. 2008); WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153, 1159 (D.C.

    Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1027 (1972); Northeast Cellular Tel Co. v. FCC, 897 F.2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir.


    17 See 16 FCC Rcd 11511, 11515-16 (May 25, 2001).

    18 See 16 FCC Rcd at 11518-20.


    Schedule B should include a site ID for each geographic location where the applicant has receiveonly

    earth stations and should provide the technical details required by the Form for each antenna

    at each site19;

    • The coordination report required by Section 25.115(c)(2) is waived as described in DA 18-39820;

    • The requirements of paragraphs (i) and (v) of Section 25.115(c)(2) are waived for networks of

    receive-only earth stations;

    • Pursuant to DA 18-398, only earth stations constructed and operational as of April 19, 2018 may

    file during the window, so the one-year construction period of Section 25.115(c)(2)(vii) is


    Application Fees. Applicants filing as a network of earth stations as described above must pay

    the fee for a “Fixed Satellite VSAT System,” which is currently $10,620.21 Although this fee is higher

    than the current fee of $435 for registration of a single receive-only earth station, operators who wish to

    register a large number of earth stations may benefit from filing under this fee category rather than

    applying to register each of their earth stations individually.22

    Regulatory fees. We note that operators of networks of earth stations authorized under Section

    25.115(c)(2) must generally pay annual regulatory fees.23 However, receive-only earth stations currently

    are not subject to regulatory fees.24 We note that the filing process outlined in this notice does not apply

    to any network of earth stations that includes Transmit/Receive or Transmit-Only earth station antennas.

    Action by the Chief, International Bureau.

    – FCC –

    19 We note that under the standard Section 25.115(c)(2) process operators would be able to file subsequent

    applications to add additional earth stations to the network. See 47 CFR § 25.115(c)(2)(ii)-(iv), (vi). For the

    purposes of filing under the modified process described in this Notice, we will not accept future applications to add

    earth stations to the network. All antennas at each site must be filed on the Schedule B with the “Lead Application”

    to be considered part of the network and to qualify for the waivers described in this Notice.

    20 See Freeze PN at 4-5.

    21 See 47 CFR § 1.1107. See also International Bureau Application Fee Filing Guide, (Aug. 30. 2016). The current

    application fee for a VSAT systems is $10,620, with fee code BGV. Id.

    22 We estimate that an operator with more than 24 unique sites to register would incur lower fees when applying as a

    network than registering each site individually, and thus benefit economically from this filing process.

    23 See Earth Stations, FY 2017 International Services Fact Sheet (Sept. 6, 2017),


    24 See id.

  • 17 May 2018 2:55 PM | Anonymous

    Today, your Association, along with the State Broadcasters Associations for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, filed Joint Reply Comments in the FCC’s proceeding reassessing FCC Form 397, the EEO Mid-Term Report, and other actions relating to enforcement of the FCC’s EEO Rule.  A copy of the Joint Reply Comments can be found here. 

         The Joint Reply Comments urged the FCC to: (1) promptly eliminate the current requirement that TV stations with five or more full-time employees, and radio stations with 11 or more full-time employees, file FCC Form 397, the EEO Mid-Term Report, since it is now redundant to information already publicly available in stations’ online public files; (2) reject calls by some commenters to reinstate Form 395, the Annual Employment Report, which requires a numeric breakdown of a station’s staff by race, ethnicity, and gender categorized by job position; and (3) reject any suggestion that the FCC seek to alter its enforcement of the EEO Rule based upon the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of a particular station’s staff.  

        The filing of Annual Employment Reports was suspended by the FCC in 2001 after a coalition of State Broadcasters Associations successfully challenged the FCC’s previous EEO Rule in court.  The court held that the EEO Rule was unconstitutional in that it judged stations’ EEO performance based not upon their individual hiring practices, but upon whether those practices led to a work force that matched the demographics of a station’s market.  The Joint Reply Comments noted that the proposals made by some commenters in this proceeding would run afoul of these same constitutional restrictions.

  • 26 Mar 2018 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    upcoming fcc deadlines

    2018 First Quarter Children’s Television Programming Documentation

    The next Children’s Television Programming Report must be filed with the FCC and placed in stations’ public inspection files by April 10, 2018, reflecting programming aired during the months of January, February, and March 2018.


    2018 First Quarter Transition Progress Report Due on April 10 for Stations Being Repacked

    Each full power and Class A TV station being repacked must file its next Transition Progress Report with the FCC by April 10, 2018. The Report must detail the progress a station has made in constructing facilities on its newly-assigned channel and in terminating operations on its current channel during the months of January, February, and March 2018.


    2018 First Quarter Issues/Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations

    The next Quarterly Issues/Programs List (“Quarterly List”) must be placed in stations’ public inspection files by April 10, 2018, reflecting information for the months of January, February, and March 2018.

    All info courtesy of:

    Scott R. Flick

    Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

  • 1 Mar 2018 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    The ABA group with Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

    It's been quite a week for the ABA on Capitol Hill! President & CEO Art Brooks was at the NASBA (National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations) meetings Sunday and Monday, meeting with all 51 state association CEO’s sharing ideas and receiving briefings on all current & upcoming issues in Congress and at FCC. 

    Then the ABA delegation of Chairwoman, Anita Helt (KNXV-TV, Phoenix), Immediate Past Chairman, Michael Mallace (Sierra H Broadcasting, Phoenix), board member Ed Munson (KPHO-TV/KTVK-TV, Phoenix) and board member Rich Howe (KAZT-TV, Prescott/Phoenix) came to DC Monday for the NAB State Leadership Conference. There, the group heard from top Congressional members such as Greg Walden (R-OR) who is going to introduce an appropriations bill to add an addition $1.25 billion to the TV repack budget from spectrum auction funds so stations can be fully reimbursed for the move. 

    Finally, on Wednesday and Thursday the ABA delegation visited all of the Arizona Congressional delegation in the House and Senate. They met with either the representative and/or critical staff. Issues discussed were the TV spectrum repack and protection of TV translator frequencies in rural and tribal communities and protection from a Radio performance tax. 

    The ABA group with Rep. Tom O'Halleran

  • 22 Feb 2018 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    Members of the ABA Board of directors are headed to Washington, DC next week for the annual NAB State Leadership Conference. 

    ABA President & CEO. Art Brooks will represent the ABA at the NASBA meetings for two days sharing ideas and hearing from colleagues for all state broadcasters associations. 

    Then the AZ delegation arrives for the NAB State Leadership Conference. This is a full day of hearing from key policy makers in the House and Senate covering current and future issues facing the broadcast industry. The four station representatives will be Anita Helt (KNXV-TV), Ed Munson (KPHO-TV), Michael Mallace (Sierra H. Broadcasting), and Rich Howe (KAZT-TV).

    After the conference, the AZ delegation will head to Capitol Hill for meetings with the AZ members of Congress to discuss pressing issues such as the Radio Performance Tax, TV Repack issues and Retransmission consent. There will be a full report after the conference from your ABA.

  • 14 Feb 2018 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    March 1 is your deadline to have your public file online at the FCC web site. If by chance you’ve been waiting or aren’t sure how to do this, here is a notice for you: David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP has outlined the five steps you need to take. Click the link below to check them out.

    With the March 1 Deadline Looming, What Should Radio Stations Be Doing to Prepare Their Online Public File? – Five Questions About Station Obligations

  • 4 Jan 2018 10:29 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a memo from Dawn M. Sciarrino, the ABA’s legal counsel:

    TO: All Broadcasting Clients and Friends of the Firm
    FROM: Dawn M. Sciarrino and Christine McLaughlin
    DATE: January 3, 2018
    RE: Upcoming FCC Deadlines and Rule Changes

    The New Year is off to a busy start for broadcasters. In 2017, the FCC adopted a number of changes to its rules, with effective dates and deadlines set for early 2018.

    Online Public File – March 1st Deadline
    Among the most significant changes for radio broadcasters is the transition of the local public inspection file to an online system accessed via the FCC’s website. TV broadcasters moved to online public files in 2014, and radio is now in the midst of a similar transition. Radio stations with more than 5 full time employees in the top 50 markets were required implement their online public files by December 24, 2017. The deadline for all other radio broadcasters to complete the transition is March 1, 2018.

    Stations may log onto the online public file at using their facility ID and an FCC-assigned passcode. To obtain the passcode for a station, the licensee should login to an “Owner Dashboard” from, using its FRN and its associated password. The FCC has indicated that documents should be uploaded in their “native format” wherever possible; consequently, if the document in question is prepared in Word or Excel, licensees should upload the document in its existing form unless it is technically unable to do so. If all of your stations are not populating or if you have other problems with the system, please call us.

    Please also note that, at the top of the screen in the system, you will see a statement as to whether your station’s profile is “Off” or “On” for public viewing. If that statement indicates that public view is “Off” (which is the default), you will need to click on the word “Off” to change it to enable the public to view your file.

    As of March 1st, all existing documents that are required to be kept in the local public inspection file must be uploaded to the online system, with one exception. Political documents that pre-date the effective date of the rule are exempt from the requirement that they be uploaded. Licensees may upload those pre-existing political documents if they like; otherwise, they are be retained for their two year retention period in a paper file. New political documents, however, must be uploaded “immediately.”

    The FCC will automatically upload most documents filed with it electronically or generated by it (e.g. ownership reports, assignment or transfer applications, construction permit applications, licenses, etc.). However, licensees must upload documents that not filed at the FCC and which must be maintained in the public file (e.g., Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Annual EEO Public Inspection File Reports, copies of Time Brokerage or Joint Sales Agreements, a list of any “citizens agreements”, compliance certifications for local public notice of applications, and information regarding FCC investigations). Similarly, items that are required to be placed in the public file but are filed manually (e.g., AM license applications on Form 302-AM) must be uploaded by the licensee. Stations that have a website must include a link to the first page of the station’s online public file on the website home page.

    Early last year, the FCC eliminated the requirement that stations maintain copies of correspondence from the public in their public files. Therefore, licensees need not retain a paper public file for that correspondence; if a licensee chooses to move its pre-existing political file to the online system, there will no longer be any need to maintain a physical file at all.

    Ownership Reports – March 2nd Deadline
    Biennial Ownership Reports are due to be filed on or before March 2, 2018. The FCC postponed the deadline from December 1, 2017, opening the LMS system for the filing of the Reports on that date. The FCC form 323 and 323-E can be accessed at While the Ownership Reports are available for completion in LMS, the system has not previously been used for radio filings, and it is possible that some information that should prefill (for example, licenses associated with an FRN) may not do so accurately. Licensees are advised to login in well in advance of the March 2nd deadline.

    Both commercial and non-commercial licensees must file their Ownership Reports during the current window. Noncommercial broadcasters previously filed on the anniversary date of their license renewal filing, a system that was put on hold last year in anticipation of this year’s filing deadline.

    Despite the extension, filers must still provide data on the ownership of their stations as of October 1, 2017. The FCC has indicated that owners who sell their station between October 1st and the new deadline will need to file their own biennial reports, even if they no longer own any stations.
    EEO – Annual EEO Public File Report

    In April 2017, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling that a broadcaster can rely solely on online sources in its recruiting “where doing so meets the ‘widely disseminate’ requirement of the rules.” Broadcasters are free to select the number and type of recruitment sources that they use, and may even choose rely on a single online job posting, as long as doing so meets the requirement for “wide dissemination.” FCC does not require all online job postings to be accompanied by on-air information about the vacancy.

    FCC encourages broadcasters to consider three factors in deciding whether their online recruiting meets the standard: (1) whether the online job posting is easy to find; (2) job openings should be posted online for an adequate period of time with auditable interview records maintained; and (3) broadcasters should “continue to cultivate job referral relationships with resources that are likely to include diverse candidates.”

    Licensees should note that no EEO requirement was changed by the declaratory ruling. For example, even though broadcasters no longer need to reach out to community groups to meet the requirement of wide dissemination of job openings, a separate “prong” of the FCC’s EEO policy requires that broadcasters notify community groups that have specifically asks to be notified of job openings. All of the EEO rule’s non-vacancy specific outreach requirements remain in effect; consequently, all licensees must still engage in two or four (depending on the size of the station’s market and number of employees) of the outreach activities detailed in the rule for every two-year period of the license term.

    In particular, stations must still maintain all of the same documentation regarding their recruitment for job openings, as well as non-vacancy specific outreach, and must still place a report of their EEO efforts in the public file annually, on the anniversary of the filing of their renewal applications. The annual EEO Public File Report, due on the filing of your license renewal application, must both be placed in the local public file, uploaded to the online public file and posted on the station’s website, if it has one. The station may comply with its obligation to post the EEO Public File Report to its website by posting a link to the Report in the online public file, if the link connects directly to the actual report – it is not sufficient that the link connect to the home page of the public file. The EEO Public File Report must include information for the station’s employment unit (i.e., commonly owned stations in the same market that share at least one employee) for the preceding year, including a list of all full-time vacancies filled, by job title; information regarding the recruitment source(s) used to fill each such vacancy, including identifying any organizations that requested notice of vacancies; identification of the recruitment source that referred the successful candidate for each of the listed vacancies; the total number of interviewees for full time vacancies in the past year, and the total number referred by each recruitment source; and a description of the employment unit’s non-vacancy specific outreach initiatives. Supporting documentation for each of the vacancies need not be placed in the public file, but must be maintained until the station’s next renewal application is granted, and available if requested by the FCC.

    The chance of the FCC requesting that information is not negligible – the agency continues to conduct random audits of EEO compliance. As recently as mid-December 2017, it issued a Notice of Apparent Liability in the amount of $20,000 to a licensee whose audit response revealed a number of EEO violations, including failure to recruit for all full-time vacancies, failing to provide notice of vacancies to an organization who had requested notice, and failing to maintain sufficient records of number or sources of interviewees for various vacancies – a failure which, the FCC observed, prevented the licensee from preparing accurate annual reports, placing all of the required information in the stations’ public files, and effectively analyzing the its recruitment practices, all independent violations of the EEO rule. Licensees must remain mindful that the relaxation of the EEO rules with regard to the use of online job postings has not relaxed any of their other EEO obligations.

    Issues/Programs Lists – Quarterly
    Licensees must place their issues/programs lists for the fourth quarter of 2017 in their public files on or before January 10, 2018. As these lists are not filed with the FCC, the license must upload the list to its online public file. Issues/program lists for the first quarter of 2018 must be uploaded to the public file by April 10, 2018; second quarter lists must be uploaded by July 10, 2018; and third quarter lists must be uploaded by October 10, 2018. Under the electronic public file regime, the system will identify the date and time that documents are uploaded; therefore, it is critical that these items be timely uploaded to the public file.

    Elimination of the Main Studio Rule – Effective January 8th
    At its October 2017 meeting, the FCC adopted an order eliminating the requirement that a broadcast station maintain a main studio in close proximity to its city of license that is open to the public and staffed during normal business hours. The abolition of the main studio rule becomes effective on Monday, January 8, 2018.

    As of next Monday, the main studio rule, including the requirements of local programming capability and minimum studio staffing requirements, are eliminated. Licensees are be required to maintain a local or toll-free number accessible to residents of the station’s city of license, which must be answered during normal business hours of the station.

    Stations that have fully transitioned to the online public file (including by uploading existing political file materials) will no longer be required to keep any physical documents in their communities of license. However, stations that have not yet completed that transition, or that chose to maintain their pre-existing political file records in paper form, must maintain a paper file in their city of license until all of the documents required to be in the file are transitioned to the online public file. The file must be maintained at a location in the community of license that is open during normal business hours (e.g. a public library or an office of a local business).

    FM Translators – Last Call for AM Licensees
    Those AM licensees who have not filed for an FM translator in any of the filing windows opened in 2016 and 2017 will have one last opportunity to apply for a translator at the end of January. The new window will be open from January 25, 2018 to January 31, 2018 for participation in the cross-service Auction 100. Modification applications to existing translator licenses and construction permits will be frozen prior to and during the window; the filing freeze will be in place from January 18, 2018 through January 31, 2018.

    Radio Renewals
    Finally, radio station licensees should be advised that the renewal cycle starts next year. Licensees in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia must file their renewal applications by June 1, 2019. Licensees are reminded that the renewal application requires a number of certifications, including that all documentation required to be placed in the station’s public file has been so placed, at the appropriate time. Although documents filed electronically with the FCC, such as applications and Biennial Ownership Reports, will be automatically uploaded to a station’s online public file by the FCC, licensees must take care to ensure the timely uploading of all other materials required by the public file. Under the online system, the FCC and any possible protesters will know the date that information is placed into the public file, and any delay in uploading required materials will likely be subject to scrutiny.

    The foregoing are some of the more important deadlines facing licensees in the new year and beyond. If you have questions regarding these or any other FCC requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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