Broadcast Station Local Public Notice Rule Changes Adopted

Posted on May 29th, 2020 by

he FCC recently adopted an Order substantially revising its broadcast local public notice rule.  One significant change is the permanent elimination of requirements to publish any newspaper notices about filed applications, which were costly and more difficult to accomplish as newspapers folded.  Instead, stations will publish such notices online, using a station or substitute website with a conspicuous link and text that includes a hyperlink to the filed application.

To facilitate the new rule, commercial broadcast stations will need to establish and maintain a permanent website link dedicated to online public notices.  When a station must post an application online notice, the notice must appear at the link.  When there are no pending applications for which online public notice is required, the link must state so and include the date the page was last updated.

The FCC also changed the requirements for any application requiring an on-air announcement, but they standardized the days, times, and text of those announcements.  Under the new rules, any application requiring an on-air announcement )i) must begin within five (5) business days after the FCC’s public notice that the application has been accepted for filing, (ii) air between 7 AM and 11 PM, Monday-Friday, and at least six (6) times over a four (4) week period, with at least one, but no more than two (2), announcements per week, and (iii) in the weeks with two (2) announcements, the announcement must be aired on different days.

The effective date of these rule changes has not yet been announced because certain approvals from the Office of Management & Budget must first be obtained.  Our best guess on an effectiveness date is sometime this fall.  The FCC will publish a notice when that occurs.  Double check with counsel when filing any application in coming months to be sure that your station follows the procedures that are in effect at that time.