FCC Moves Forward On NPRM For Form 397’s End


The FCC has moved forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to eliminate a broadcast filing requirement and instead rely on publicly available information in its periodic reviews of broadcaster employment practices.

Specifically, the NPRM unanimously approved by the Commission at its February Open Meeting the requirement in Section 73.2080(f)(2) of the Commission’s rules that certain broadcast television and radio stations file the Broadcast Mid-Term Report (Form 397).

At present, Form 397 requires certain television and radio stations to submit information to the FCC about their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) practices which they largely already provide in their FCC-maintained online public files.

The information is used to conduct the statutorily-required review of the broadcast stations’ employment practices at the mid-point of their eight-year license term. Because most of the information collected in Form 397 is now otherwise available to the Commission and the public via the online public file, the FCC has tentatively concluded that the requirement to file Form 397 is outdated and unnecessary for the Commission to conduct its mid-term EEO reviews.

This is the fifth rulemaking stemming from the Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative that the FCC launched in May 2017 to reduce unnecessary regulation that can stand in the way of competition and innovation in media markets.

This is MB Docket No. 18-23 and MB Docket No. 17-105.

Comment period dates are forthcoming from the Commission.