Federal Communications Commission
Among other things, the public inspection file must contain an issues/programs list, whichdescribes the “programs that have provided the station’s most significant treatment of community issuesduring the preceding three month period.”
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
in this proceeding grew out of a prior
Notice of Inquiry
, which explored the public interest obligations of broadcast television stations as they transitioned to digital.
In the 2000
,the Commissionconcluded that “making information regarding how a television broadcast station serves thepublicinterest easier to understand and more accessible will not only promote discussion between the licenseeand its community, but will lessen the need for government involvement in ensuring that a station ismeeting its public interest obligation.”
The Commission tentatively concluded to require televisionstations to use a standardized form to report on how they serve the public interest.
The Commission alsotentatively concluded to require television licensees to make the contents of their publicinspection files,including the standardized form, available on their stations’Internet websites or, alternatively, on thewebsite of their state broadcasters association.
In 2007, the Commission adopted a
Report and Order
implementing these proposals.
4.Following the release of the
Report and Order
, the Commission received petitions for reconsideration from several industry petitioners and public interest advocates. The industry petitionersraised a number of issues regarding the standardized form andthe online posting requirement, generallycontending that the requirements were overly complex and burdensome.
Public interest advocates arguedthat the political file
should be included in the online public file requirement rather than exempted as provided in the
Report and Order
, and that the standardized form should be designed to facilitate thedownloading and aggregation of data for researchers.
In addition, five parties appealed the
Review of the Commission's Rules regarding the Main Studio Rule and Local Public Inspection Files of Broadcast Television and Radio Stations
, Report and Order, 13 FCC Rcd 15691, ¶ 18 (1998),
recon. granted in part
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 14 FCC Rcd 11113 (1999).
47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(12).
Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations
, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
15 FCC Rcd 19816 (2000) (“
In the Matter of Public Interest Obligations of TV Broadcast Licensees
, Notice of Inquiry, 14 FCC Rcd 21633 (1999)(“
at ¶ 10.
at ¶ 31.
In the Matter ofStandardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations,
Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 1274 (2007).
Petitions for reconsideration are listed in Appendix A.
Association of Public Television Stations andPBS Petition for Reconsideration (“APTS & PBS Petition”) at 3-5; Broadcasting Licenses Limited PartnershipPetition for Reconsideration at 3,7; Joint Broadcasters Petition for Reconsideration at 18-22; Joint Public TelevisionLicensees Petition for Reconsideration at 9-10.
Sections 73.3526(e)(6), 73.3527(e)(5) and 73.1943 of the Commission’s rules require that stations keep as part of the public inspection files a “political file.” 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.3526(e)(6), 73.3527(e)(5), 73.1943. The political filechiefly consists of “a complete and orderly record … of all requests for broadcast time made by or on behalf of acandidate for public office, together with an appropriate notation showing the disposition made by the licensee of such requests, and the charges made, if any, if the request is granted.” 47 C.F.R. §73.1943(a).
Petition for Reconsideration at 3-7.