FCC Announces First EEO Audit of 2020

Posted on February 27th, 2020 by

On February 6, 2020, the FCC announced its first EEO Audit of the year, sending audit letters to over 300 radio and television stations.  If your station is on the list, the deadline to respond to the audit is March 23, 2020.  Consistent with last year’s audits, a station’s response is to be uploaded to the online public file instead of being mailed to the FCC.  If you received an audit letter, the letter should be uploaded to your online public file now in the EEO section (there is a folder for audits).

This is a good time to remind stations that these audits come from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, not the Media Bureau.  Enforcement of the EEO rules moved to the Enforcement Bureau last year.  While we’ve not seen an uptick in enforcement actions for EEO non-compliance, we do note that broadcasters recently entered into three consent decrees with the Enforcement Bureau, paying substantial fines for rule violations.  The Bureau’s review of your EEO program is an exacting one, so be prepared by precisely following the requirements.

The FCC audits about 5% of all broadcast stations each year for EEO compliance.  The second audit usually comes in the summer, so if your station lucked out and wasn’t on this list, there is always a chance that it will make the next one.