Items of Note in 2010
- Biennial Ownership Report Filing Requirements for Commercial Stations: The biennial ownership filing requirement for commercial stations has been stayed indefinitely as of the date of this publication. This stay arose out of difficulties implementing a new version of FCC Form 323 for use by commercial stations, including Class A television stations. The stay does not affect the biennial ownership reporting requirements of noncommercial stations, the due dates for which are still tied to the anniversary date of the station’s license renewal application deadline (and which are noted in this calendar). When the FCC resolves its difficulties surrounding use of the new Form 323, commercial broadcast stations will be required to file a biennial ownership report on the new form with information that is current as of November 1, 2009. Broadcasters should be alert to the announcement by the FCC of the new due date.
- DTV Quarterly Activity Station Report on FCC Form 388: This filing, which reports on a television station’s efforts to educate consumers as to issues surrounding the station’s transition to digital television, is no longer required to be filed by the majority of television stations because they have completed the transition to their full and final digital facilities and therefore ceased public information activities. However, for those stations that have not completed the transition, the consumer education requirements continue to apply, as does the requirement to file FCC Form 388 quarterly. Accordingly, due dates for that filing are noted for each quarter for the benefit of any stations still subject to this obligation.
- Television Station Quarterly Issues/Programs Lists: The FCC previously adopted a new form, FCC Form 355, to replace the Quarterly Issues/Programs List filings by television stations. Use of the form has not commenced as of the date of this publication. Broadcasters should be alert to an announcement by the FCC of the form’s implementation.
- Television Station Online Public File: The FCC previously adopted a requirement that television stations place the contents of their Public Inspection Files on the Internet, if they have a website. As of the date of this publication, this requirement has not been implemented. Broadcasters should be alert to an announcement by the FCC of the implementation of this online obligation.
- Annual EEO Report on FCC Form 395-B: The FCC suspended use of this form in 2001 in connection with the revision of its EEO Rule. In 2004, the Commission announced that it would resume use of the form and would advise the broadcast industry of the due date for the first filing of the newly re-imposed form. As of the date of this publication, no such announcement has been made. The Form 395-B requires stations to provide a “snapshot” in time of the racial and gender makeup of its workforce based on a two-week payroll period during the months of July, August or September. Broadcasters should be alert to a future announcement regarding the form’s due date. While the Form 395-B is currently suspended, other EEO reporting obligations remain in effect, and their due dates are noted in this Calendar.
The following deadlines are based on information known by us as of the date hereof. These deadlines may or may not apply to any particular broadcaster. These deadlines are provided for general informational purposes only and should be double-checked for currency close to each pertinent date/deadline. Actions by the FCC, Congress, or the courts could affect any of these deadlines by, for example, eliminating a particular reporting/filing obligation altogether or modifying the form used, content, deadline, fee, or manner of reporting/filing. It should also be noted that, as a general rule, when a deadline for filing a document with the FCC falls on a weekend or a federal holiday, the filing deadline will shift to the next business day. The listing of deadlines below is not intended to be complete or exhaustive of all regulatory and non-regulatory deadlines that may apply to a given broadcaster year-to-year. Accordingly, broadcasters should seek the advice of communications counsel in each instance to assure timely and proper filing. This edition of our annual “Broadcasters’ Calendar” supersedes all prior editions and accordingly any prior editions should no longer be used.
A PDF version of this article can be found at 2010 Broadcasters’ Calendar..