FCC Votes to Move EEO Enforcement from Media to Enforcement Bureau

Posted on July 31st, 2018 by

Acting on a request from civil rights organizations and staff recommendations, the FCC relocated enforcement of its equal employment opportunity rules from the Media Bureau, where it had been for 50 years, to the Enforcement Bureau. Once the effective date of the rule change is announced, EEO audits and other EEO oversight will originate from the Enforcement Bureau.

Practically speaking, this change won’t change how the FCC scrutinizes the employment practices of broadcasters. Regular audits of 5% of all broadcasters will continue. EEO plans for newly acquired stations will still have to be filed. Admonishments and notices of apparent liability will still be issued when compliance is lacking. Finally, at license renewal time, certifying EEO compliance and providing a station’s last two years of EEO public file inspection reports will still be required.

We do note that in the past, if there was an issue at license renewal time over which the Enforcement Bureau had jurisdiction, it often took some time for Enforcement Bureau personnel to respond to the Media Bureau staff as it tried to act on renewal applications. We’re hoping that any EEO scrutiny by the Enforcement Bureau during license renewal won’t delay license renewal processing times. The first radio stations start the license renewal process in 2019.

So, what if your station was part of the most recent Media Bureau EEO audit for which responses are due August 6th? Respond to the Media Bureau per the directions in the EEO audit letter you received.