FCC Field Office Reductions Announced

Posted on July 30th, 2015 by

After some significant pushback from members of Congress and many broadcasters, the FCC recently announced a reduced number of field office closures than it had initially proposed.

According to a July 16th FCC news release, it will continue to operate field offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbia (Md.), Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Ore.), and San Francisco. Field offices in Anchorage, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Juan, Seattle, and Tampa will be closed. No timeline for the closures was given.

The Enforcement Bureau will still maintain a field presence (not defined) in Alaska and Puerto Rico and field agents will also rotate periodically through Kansas City. To add flexibility, rapid deployment teams will be stationed in Columbia (Md.) and Denver to supplement the enforcement efforts of other field offices when necessary and to support high-priority enforcement actions nationwide.

The FCC also announced that going forward, all field agents will have to be electrical engineers.

FCC Field Offices perform a number of different functions, many of which are not directly related to broadcasters (i.e., assistance to Homeland Security on frequency use/monitoring). But one important role they do perform for broadcasters is policing pirates that use frequencies unlawfully and cause interference to properly licensed broadcast stations, a problem that is increasing in some cities. Of course, field office personnel are also frequently dispatched to monitor things like tower lighting and fencing, station studio availability and staffing, and other station operations.