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Client Alert: Effective Immediately, FCC Requires FRN and Password to File Form 398, the Quarterly Children’s Programming Report

After we published our Advisory reminding licensees of the deadline to electronically file the Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Report on FCC Form 398 for the Third Quarter of 2010, the FCC disclosed that it has modified its electronic filing system to require the entry of a Federal Registration Number (“FRN”) and password as the final step before the report can be filed. The FCC issued no advance public notice of this requirement, but instead placed the following notice on its webpage dedicated to the Children’s Television Act of 1990, although NOT on the page that licensees visit to prepare and file the report itself:

To enhance the security and integrity of the KidVid database, we now require authentication with an FRN and password associated with the broadcast facility for each Form 398 filing. After you have completed Form 398, you will be prompted to enter this information. You must enter your FRN and password to complete the form. If you have forgotten your FRN password, please contact the CORES helpdesk at 877-480-3201.

Because of the potential for surprises associated with the implementation of this new requirement, we recommend that, if possible, licensees complete their Form 398 filings in advance of the filing deadline. The filing deadline for this quarter falls on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 due to the Columbus Day holiday, so Friday, October 8, 2010 is a good target date for completing the Form 398. This will allow additional time for station personnel to address any issues that arise, such as determining which FRN and password combination(s) will be accepted by the filing system, and, if necessary, to locate the correct information.

Should you have any questions regarding this Alert or the FCC’s children’s programming requirements in general, please contact any of the attorneys in the Communications practice section.