Comments Sought on TV Ancillary Reporting and Local Notice Rules

Posted on October 31st, 2017 by

The FCC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to lessen broadcaster reporting and notice burdens.

The reporting obligation at issue is Form 2100, Schedule G, an annual requirement for all digital television stations to report to the FCC whether they had any ancillary/supplemental uses of their spectrum in the past 12 months. If revenue was received from such uses, stations had to remit 5% of it to the FCC. Only 15 stations nationwide were reporting such revenue in the past few years, so the FCC proposes to make this a required filing each year only for stations having such uses/revenue.

The notice rule at issue is found at 73.3580, a rambling four-page recitation of the kinds of notice that are required for the filing of various broadcast applications, some of which require that notice be given in local newspapers. This twisted amalgamation of regulatory mayhem is a favorite of broadcast attorneys, who often use it to train law clerks or new attorneys how to read FCC regulations. So we’ll be sorry (at least a little bit) to see it changed or eliminated.

The local newspaper portion of the rule has become nearly meaningless, as newspapers have become sparse and any “ad” is never cheap. Given the FCC’s transition to all things online (i.e., EEO vacancy recruiting, the public file, etc.), we tend to think that a website notice is sufficient (or perhaps just relying on the FCC’s public notice, which is available to anyone). We encourage stations to chime in with comments on how to improve and lessen burdens associated with local notice requirements. Comments are due 30 days after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.