EEO Mid-Term Reviews Beginning Soon

Posted on March 30th, 2023 by

The Media Bureau used to require broadcasters that met certain employee thresholds to file the Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report.  In 2019, the FCC eliminated the filing requirement, but indicated that its staff would still conduct “reviews using publicly available information” for EEO compliance by those radio station employment units with 11 or more full-timers, and television station employment units with five or more full-timers.  In other words, the FCC will be reviewing station online public files to perform its reviews.

Some radio stations will cross the “mid-term” of their current 8-year license term later this year.  We believe the staff will most likely use the renewal application filing date – which is four months prior to license expiration – to conduct its reviews.  For radio stations in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, that date is June 1, 2023.  As a result, station employment units there should confirm that their EEO reporting is up to date and accurate as that date approaches.  Since annual EEO public file reports do not have to include the number of total employees in a station employment unit, how will the FCC staff know whether a radio station employment unit has 11 or more full-timers?  That remains a bit of a mystery at this point.  The 2019 Order indicated that the FCC would add a “simple mechanism” in the online public file to indicate station employee levels, but that has not yet been implemented.

Also not clear – whether the staff intends to review every station, or just a sampling, for mid-term EEO compliance.  Stand by for more on this issue, and in the meantime, be vigilant, accurate and timely in your EEO reporting and uploads.