Radio Station Online Public File Noncompliance Emails

Posted on January 4th, 2019 by

Last month, we reported that the FCC issued a general reminder to some radio stations that had not yet launched or populated their online public file. That was followed up by the FCC automatically activating missing public files by November 15. But that wasn’t all. A few weeks later, the FCC employed the “nuclear” option for stations that were still noncompliant. Yes, the FCC sent an email to every individual that had ever appeared on an FCC application for the station in question. Oh, what fun.

The emails noted the specific noncompliance – i.e., no quarterly issues/programs lists uploaded – and flatly stated that the station had violated the FCC’s requirements. Recipients were required to respond and provide reasons/updates. Let’s just say that those were pretty uncomfortable email responses. We don’t know whether the FCC plans to fine those stations now, or wait until renewal time and see if the station admits (as it must) its error because it cannot then certify that it always timely placed items in its public file for the entire 8-year renewal period.

Failure to place documents in and properly maintain a public inspection file is perhaps the most significant source of fines for stations at license renewal time. With all stations now having online public files, the coming renewal cycle will likely ring the FCC’s cash registers with fine payments. Don’t let your station be one of them.