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Advisory–2010 First Quarter Issues/Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations

March 2010
The next Quarterly Issues/Programs List (“Quarterly List”) must be placed in stations’ local public inspection files by April 10, 2010, reflecting information for the months of January, February and March, 2010.

Content of the Quarterly List
The FCC requires each broadcast station to air a reasonable amount of programming responsive to significant community needs, issues, and problems as determined by the station. The FCC gives each station the discretion to determine which issues facing the community served by the station are the most significant and how best to respond to them in the station’s overall programming.

To demonstrate a station’s compliance with this public interest obligation, the FCC requires a station to maintain, and place in the public inspection file, a Quarterly List reflecting the “station’s most significant programming treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.” By its use of the term “most significant,” the FCC has noted that stations are not required to list all responsive programming, but only that programming which provided the most significant treatment of the issues identified.

Given the fact that program logs are no longer officially mandated by the Commission, the Quarterly Lists may be the most important evidence of a station’s compliance with its public service obligations. The lists also provide important support for the certification of Class A station compliance that is discussed below and which must be produced by Class A applicants and licensees.

We therefore urge stations not to “skimp” on the Quarterly Lists, and to err on the side of over-inclusiveness. Otherwise, stations risk a determination by the FCC that they did not adequately serve the public interest during the license term. Stations should include in the Quarterly Lists as much issue responsive programming as they feel is necessary to demonstrate fully their responsiveness to community needs. Taking extra time now to provide a fully complete Quarterly List will help to reduce risk at license renewal time. Article continues — the full article can be found at Advisory–2010 First Quarter Issues/Programs List Advisory for Broadcast Stations.