FCC Shuts Down – Establishes Filing Procedures

Last week the FCC issued a Public Notice (click HERE), regarding the government shutdown.  Emergency functions relating to life and property will remain open, as will functions related to TV spectrum auctions.

Uploading to Public Inspection File: The FCC’s system is down, making it impossible to upload materials. Importantly, this does not eliminate your obligations. You are still required to prepare and maintain documents. The FCC is likely to require the documents to be uploaded within one day of the system going back on line.

  • Political File “Back Up”–  FCC rules require stations to keep a back-up of the political portion of its public inspection file.  This back-up must be kept at an “accessible location” in the station’s community of license during normal business hours.  An accessible location would include a station office, the local library, the office of another broadcaster, or any other business.  Broadcasters are not required to make any other portion of their Public Inspection File beyond the Political File available during the federal shutdown.
  • Quarterly Issues/Programs List or Children’s Commercial Television filings: These documents are due to be uploaded in the online Public Inspection File on January 10, 2019. If the government remains closed, stations will not be able to upload. Nonetheless, stations should prepare these documents and be ready to upload once the government re-opens. Again, the FCC may give stations only a day to upload the documents once the government reopens.

TV Spectrum Auction and Repacking Not Affected: Spectrum auction operations are NOT affected by the government shutdown. FCC staff will answer questions, grant requests for Special Temporary Authority and process requests for reimbursement from television broadcasters. Transitioning television stations CAN and MUST make filings related to their transition.  This includes the Quarterly Transition Progress Report due on January 10, which must still be filed by that date.

Bottom Line – Continue to prepare and be ready to file documents as if the FCC were still open. The FCC may give you only one day to upload files once the government re-opens. So be prepared.

For a more detailed explanation from our friends at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP click HERE.

If you have any questions, regarding specific filings consult your communications attorney.  If you have any questions, please contact us at ddonovan@nysbroadcasters.org


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