In a Public Notice released today, the FCC has taken the next steps towards implementing the expanded online public inspection file, which is set to go live on June 24th. Specifically, the FCC announced that on June 13, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, it will hold an online demonstration on using the new online public file. In addition, the FCC publicized the Internet address for the new online public file, which licensees must use to create the required link from their websites to the online public file.
As we previously described in Neither Sleet Nor Snow Can Keep the Radio Public File from Going Online and All New Online Public File for TV, Radio, Cable and Satellite Coming June 24th, the FCC adopted a Report and Order in January 2016 extending the online public inspection file requirement to broadcast and satellite radio licensees and cable and satellite television operators. That requirement is currently applicable only to full power and Class A television stations. Pursuant to a phased-in schedule, commercial radio stations that have five or more employees and are located in the Top 50 Nielsen Audio markets, as well as satellite radio licensees, cable systems with 1000 or more subscribers, and DBS operators, must begin using the new system on June 24, 2016. While commercial radio stations not included in this group as well as all noncommercial radio stations are exempt from the new online public file requirement until March 1, 2018, they are allowed to voluntarily commence use of the new system sooner. Because these exempt stations are permitted to transition early, the demonstration should be of interest to all radio station licensees. The demonstration will take place in the Commission Meeting Room, but can be viewed live at https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2016/06/demonstration-expanded-online-public-inspection-file-interface.
Today’s Public Notice also notes that the website address where the new online public file will be hosted will be https://publicfiles.fcc.gov/. Once a station has transitioned to the online public file, it must provide a link to the new online public inspection file from the home page of the station’s website, if it has one. Full power and Class A television stations that already have such a link will need to update that link to reflect the new website address.