The Federal Communications Commission has announced the addition of several new features to its online public inspection file system for TV broadcasters. The new features allow stations to upload documents such as Annual EEO Public File Reports, lists of ownership-related contracts and agreements, and supplemental materials related to applications, authorizations, and EEO investigations.
The FCC’s rules require TV stations to maintain these documents in their public files, but when the online public file system launched on August 2, stations weren’t able to upload these documents. That is because several sections of the online public file system — including the Application, Authorization, Ownership and EEO pages of each station’s file — were designed so that they could only draw documents from the FCC’s electronic CDBS filing system. Previously, there was no way for stations to place any documents in these sections that were not filed through CDBS.
The FCC also has added a “Terms and Disclosures” folder to the political file section of each station’s online public file. Stations that have switched to using the online political file may use this folder to present documents that are generally applicable to their political files, such as an explanation of codes or abbreviations stations use on their advertising order forms. (Only stations that are both located in one of the top 50 DMAs and affiliated with ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox were required to switch to the online political file on August 2, although all stations were required to start using the online system for most other public-file items.)
Wednesday’s Public Notice noted several additional items that are still on the FCC’s “to-do” list, including allowing broadcasters to manage their public files through file-synchronization services such as Dropbox.