Broadcast Local Public Notice Rule Changes on the Horizon

Posted on April 30th, 2020 by

The FCC’s May meeting agenda includes an item that would substantially revise the existing rules requiring stations to locally announce when they file certain applications, both on the air and in local newspapers.  The draft Report & Order has its origins in a 2017 proceeding that included a 2019 further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on the rule changes.

If adopted as drafted, the FCC would require shorter and more uniform public notices for all broadcast station applicants, and mandate that online notices provide the public with a more meaningful opportunity to comment on these applications by providing links to the actual applications in existing Commission databases.  It would also replace costly newspaper publication requirements with written public notice posted online on an applicant-affiliated website or, if none exists, on a locally targeted, publicly accessible website, with a link to the application in the station’s online public file.  Finally, the proposed rule change would eliminate pre-filing on-air announcements currently required of broadcasters before filing license renewal applications.

If adopted at the FCC’s May 13th meeting, most of the rule changes would not become effective for a few months.