FCC March Open Meeting Goes Virtual


If TV news anchors, reporters and producers can do it, so can the federal agency that oversees it.

The FCC will conduct, for the first time, an Open Meeting in a fully virtual, digital manner in lieu of a session held at its Southwest D.C. office building.

The March Open Meeting is scheduled for March 31 at 10:30am Eastern, and due to the continued threat of the novel coronavirus, the meeting will be conducted in a wholly electronic format.

For those wishing to view the meeting from the comfort of their home, it’s no different: access continues at www.fcc.gov/live and on the FCC’s YouTube channel.

As far as Chairman Ajit Pai and the four Commissioners go, there is one big change in addition to appearing on video from their respective abodes: Because of these special circumstances, several items on the meeting agenda are expected to be voted on circulation prior to the meeting.

These items include three Media Bureau matters, each with high importance to the TV industry:

  • The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would seek comment on whether to modify the Commission’s rules governing the use of distributed transmission systems by broadcast television stations.
  • The Commission will then consider a NPRM that would seek comment on whether to update the methodology for determining whether a television broadcast station is “significantly viewed” in a community outside of its local market.
  • Rounding out the media bureau items, the commissioners will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would seek comment on whether to modify FCC rules governing the resolution of program carriage disputes between video programming vendors and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).