The attorneys at Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth have put together a great update on broadcast deadlines for July through September that every radio and TV station licensee should read.
We’ve condensed it for you, courtesy of the D.C. communications law firm.
July 3, 2019:
Emergency Alert System National Test – Participants’ EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One Due – In preparation for this year’s national EAS test on August 7 at 2:20 p.m. EDT, all EAS participants must file ETRS Form One, which sets forth the EAS equipment that the participant has and other details of its operation, by July 3.
July 10, 2019:
Repack Transition Progress Report – All full-power and Class A television stations repacked as a result of the incentive auction, other than those in Phases 1-3 that have completed the repack process, including filing reports of completion, must file a report in the LMS to detail their progress toward completion of the transition.
Children’s Television Programming Reports – For all commercial television and Class A television stations, the second quarter 2019 children’s television programming reports must be filed electronically with the Commission. These reports then should be automatically included in the OPIF, but we would recommend checking, as the FCC bases its initial judgments of filing compliance on the contents and dates shown in the online public file. Please note that the required use of the LMS for the children’s reports means that you should have the licensee FCC registration number and password at hand before you start the process.
Commercial Compliance Certifications – For all commercial television and Class A television stations, a certification of compliance with the limits on commercials during programming for children ages 12 and under, or other evidence to substantiate compliance with those limits, must be uploaded to the OPIF.
Website Compliance Information – Television and Class A television station licensees must upload and retain in their OPIF record sufficient to substantiate at license renewal time a certification of compliance with the restrictions on display of website addresses during programming directed to children ages 12 and under.
Issues/Programs Lists – For all commercial and noncommercial radio, television, and Class A television stations, a listing of each station’s most significant treatment of community issues during the last quarter must be placed in the station’s OPIF. The list should include a brief narrative describing the issues covered and the programs which provided the coverage, with information concerning the time, date, duration, and title of each program.
Class A Television Continuing Eligibility Documentation – The Commission requires that all Class A Television maintains in their OPIF documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the station is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements of broadcasting at least 18 hours per day and broadcasting an average of at least three hours per week of locally produced programming. While the Commission has given no guidance as to what this documentation must include or when it must be added to the public file, we believe that a quarterly certification which states that the station continues to broadcast at least 18 hours per day, that it broadcasts on average at least three hours per week of locally produced programming, and lists the titles of such locally produced programs should be sufficient.
August 1, 2019:
License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on August 16, September 1, and September 16.
Radio Post-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in North Carolina and South Carolina must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements with regard to their license renewal applications on August 1. These announcements then must continue on August 16, September 1, September 16, October 1, and October 16. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the online public file within seven days.
License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for stations located in North Carolina and South Carolina must be filed in the Commission’s LMS. These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast EEO Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Public File Reports – All radio and television station employment units with five (5) or more full-time employees located in California, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin must place EEO Public File Reports in their online public inspection files. For all stations with websites, the report must be posted there as well. Per announced FCC policy, the reporting period may end ten days before the report is due, and the reporting period for the next year will begin on the following day.
August 7, 2019:
EAS National Test – Participants’ ETRS Form Two Due – All EAS participants must be prepared for the national EAS test on August 7 at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Additionally, all participants must prepare and file in the ETRS a Form Two for each station by 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 7. This form is scheduled to become available at 2:20 p.m. EDT, immediately following the EAS test, and will provide information as to results of the test.
September ??, 2019:
Annual Regulatory Fees – On a date not yet determined but certainly before September 30, 2019, annual regulatory fees will be due. These will be due and payable for Fiscal Year 2019, and will be based upon a licensee’s/permittee’s holdings on October 1, 2018, plus anything that might have been purchased since then and less anything that might have been sold since then. The fees must be paid through the FCC’s online Fee Filer, and once again this year, the FCC will not accept checks as payment of the fees but will require some form of electronic payment (credit card, ACH transfer, wire transfer, and the like). Please keep in mind that timely payment is critical, as late payment results in a 25 percent penalty, plus potential additional interest charges.