EEO Mid-Term Reviews Beginning June 1st

Posted on May 30th, 2023 by

As we previewed in last month’s newsletter, the FCC will begin conducting EEO reviews at the mid-point of station license terms, starting with radio stations in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia on or about June 1, 2023.  The FCC issued a public notice marking the start of the process, which will continue cyclically for the next four years.

Mid-term EEO reviews are required by the Communications Act and Section 73.2080(f)(2) of the FCC’s rules.  These reviews are mandated for TV station employment units with five or more full time employees, and for radio station employment units with eleven or more full time employees.  Reviews are matched to the date four years after the deadline for stations to file their license renewal applications.

EEO mid-term reviews are much like the reviews that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau conducts during the license renewal process, where they review a station employment unit’s last two EEO public file reports (the current one and the one prior), and can request additional information from licensees as necessary.  The public notice indicates that FCC Enforcement Bureau staff will “inform licensees of any necessary improvements in recruitment practices to ensure that they are in compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules, and take other enforcement action as appropriate.”

Stations will not know when the staff is conducting the review so being sure that the required EEO public file reports are uploaded timely is important.  If all is well, a station will not hear anything from the staff.  If there are issues, and the staff reaches out, responding completely and timely is critical.

For TV station employment units with five or more full-timers, completing and uploading the regular EEO public file report by the required deadline is all that will be necessary.  TV mid-term reviews won’t begin until June 1, 2024.  TV stations with fewer than five full-timers do not prepare or upload an annual EEO public file report, and will not be subject to mid-term review.

For radio station employment units with five or more full-timers, the station online public file will contain a “yes/no” question under a “Mid-Term Review” tab to disclose whether the employment unit has 11 or more full-timers.  That question should be answered when the annual EEO public file report is uploaded at the license mid-term point (i.e., fourth anniversary of the license renewal application filing deadline).  Those who answer yes will be subject to review. Those who answer no will not be.