New FCC Public Notice Rules Become Effective

For years, the FCC has required stations to issue notices in local newspapers as part of the application process for a variety of actions such as the sale of the station or license renewal.  Frankly the notice rules have been a source of confusion.

Last May, the FCC voted to revise these regulations. The new rules became effective on October 30th. Last week the FCC issued a Public Notice implementing its decision.  A key question is whether you must continue to use the old rules or does your application fall under the new regulations.  The key date is the date on which the FCC accepts your application (not necessarily the date you filed the application).

Pending Applications Accepted on or Before October 29, 2020 – The old notice rules still apply if you had an application accepted by the FCC on or before October 29, 2020.  Thus, any applicant whose application was accepted for filing on or before October 29, 2020, shall give notice under the old version of section 73.3580 that was effective at that time.  For example, an applicant whose application was accepted for filing before the new rule’s effective date, who was required to give notice by newspaper publication, must complete that notice by newspaper publication.

Applications Accepted on or After October 30, 2020  Any applicant whose application was accepted for filing on October 30, 2020, or thereafter, shall give public notice under the new regulations (amended version of section 73.3580), including the revised on-air announcement texts and schedules and the new online notice provisions.

Applications Link on Webpage – Under the new regulations, stations must include “a conspicuous link or tab labeled ‘FCC Applications’” on the station’s website or an applicant-affiliated website to the extent that such a website exists.  Licensees and permittees should act expeditiously to include the required link or tab, and the landing page to which it is linked, in a timely manner, but in no event later than when the licensee or applicant files an application requiring it to provide online notice.

Thus, if you are filing an application that requires notice on or after October 30th, such as an application to transfer the license, you should place this link on your website.  At the very least, you will need to place a link on your website before your license renewal applications are due, (February 1, 2022 for radio and February 1, 2023 for television.)

To see the FCC’s Public Notice click HERE.


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