FCC suggests exempting public radio from new online public file requirements

The FCC is considering giving public radio stations at least two additional years — and maybe even a complete exemption — from a proposed agency regulation that could soon require other radio stations to start publishing public file records online, the agency said in a recent notice. “We recognize that some radio stations may face financial or other obstacles that could make the transition to an online public file more difficult,” said the FCC, in a notice of proposed rulemaking released December 18. “Accordingly, we believe that it is reasonable to commence the transition to an online public file for radio with stations with more resources while delaying, for some period of time, all mandatory online public file requirements for other stations.”

The online proposal is part of an agency effort to make key station records more easily accessible to the public. Under existing FCC rules, all broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial alike, are required to maintain publicly available files that disclose a variety of information about their operations, including details about their ownership. Commercial stations must also include information about political advertising sales in the public files.