October has come and gone, and now the season is upon us—filing season, that is! Though winter is coming, December will be a hot month for radio and television FCC filings. Failure to meet any of these filing deadlines could result in fines or lost opportunities, putting a real damper on the holidays. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a summary of some of the major upcoming filing obligations and deadlines.
- December 1: Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Reports (FCC Form 2100 Schedule G)
Commercial television, digital Class A television, and digital LPTV stations must electronically file by December 1, 2015 FCC Form 2100 Schedule G, the Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report for Commercial Digital Television Stations, regardless of whether they have received any income from transmitting ancillary or supplementary services. If a digital station provided ancillary or supplementary services during the 12-month time period ending September 30, 2015, and received compensation for doing so, that station is required to pay to the FCC five percent of the gross revenue from such services concurrently with the filing of Form 2100 Schedule G.
Note that this Report was formerly known as FCC Form 317. With the introduction of the FCC’s new Licensing and Management System, it is now FCC Form 2100 Schedule G.
For a more detailed summery of this filing requirement, you can review our Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report Client Advisory.
- December 1: Annual EEO Public File Reports for AL, CO, CT, GA, MA, ME, MN, MT, ND, NH, RI, SD, and VT
Station Employment Units (“SEUs”) that have five or more full-time employees and are comprised of radio and/or television stations licensed to communities in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, or Vermont must by this date place in their public inspection file and post on their station website a report regarding station compliance with the FCC’s EEO Rule during the period December 1, 2014 through November 30, 2015.
December 1 is also the mid-point in the license renewal term of radio stations licensed to communities in Alabama and Georgia; therefore, by this date radio SEUs with 11 or more full-time employees in these states must electronically file the FCC Form 397 Broadcast Mid-Term Report along with copies of the SEU’s two most recent Annual EEO Public File Reports.
We’ve prepared an Annual EEO Public File Report Client Advisory with more information regarding these obligations.
- December 1: Biennial Ownership Reports for Noncommercial Stations in AL, CO, CT, GA, MA, ME, MN, MT, ND, NH, RI, SD, and VT (FCC Form 323-E)
In addition to their Annual EEO Public File Reports, noncommercial television stations licensed to communities in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, or South Dakota, and noncommercial radio stations licensed to communities in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont (other than sole proprietorships or partnerships composed entirely of natural persons) must electronically file by December 1, 2015 their biennial ownership reports on FCC Form 323-E, unless they have consolidated this filing date with that of other commonly owned stations licensed to communities in other states. The FCC Form 323-E does not require a filing fee.
Note that the Commission’s August 6, 2015 Order extending the biennial ownership report filing deadline for commercial television and radio stations to December 2 does not apply to these Form 323-E filings for noncommercial stations.
Our Noncommercial Station Biennial Ownership Report Client Advisory has more information on this filing requirement.
- December 2: Biennial Ownership Reports for Commercial Stations (FCC Form 323)
All commercial radio, full-power television, low-power television, and Class A television stations must electronically file by December 2, 2015 their biennial ownership reports on FCC Form 323 and pay the required FCC filing fee. This year, the fee is $65.00 per station. As a reminder, the FCC extended the usual November filing deadline to December through an Order released this summer, giving commercial licensees an additional month to prepare their reports while maintaining the “as of” reporting date of October 1, 2015.
For a more detailed summary of this filing requirement, check out our Commercial Station Biennial Ownership Report Client Advisory.
- December 18: Spectrum Auction Applications (FCC Form 177)
As we posted last month, the FCC released its Auction Application Procedures Public Notice, announcing the filing window and application procedures to be used for broadcast stations wishing to participate in the spectrum auction. The auction application form, FCC Form 177, must be filed by each licensee interested in participating in the auction. The application filing window opens at 12 p.m. Eastern Time on December 1, 2015 and runs until 6 p.m. Eastern Time on December 18, 2015.
After the December 18 deadline for filing Form 177, (1) no major changes may be made to the application (e.g., changing the bid options or licenses offered in the auction, or, except in certain circumstances, making major ownership changes), and (2) the Form 177 must be updated within five days of the applicant learning that information in the form is no longer accurate.
FCC staff will send letters to individual applicants indicating that the applicant’s form is (1) complete, (2) rejected, or (3) incomplete or deficient in a minor way that may be corrected. In the case of the third option, the letter will specify a deadline for submitting a corrected application, and applications that are not corrected by that time will be dismissed with no opportunity to refile.
With so many FCC deadlines stacking up in December, we recommend broadcasters start preparing their reports and applications sooner rather than later. As Dr. Seuss reminded us:
How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before its afternoon.
December is here before its June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?