More trouble possible for enhanced disclosure ownership form


The FCC’s long delayed Form 323’s, which seek to provide the Commission with accurate ethnic and minority broadcast ownership data, appear to still be hung up on concerns about the requirement that individuals with a stake in a license are required to provide their Social Security Number.

In a blog post entitled, “FCC Has Some ‘Splaining To Do,” Fletcher Heald Hildreth attorney Harry Cole says that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wants some answers from the FCC on the form, and in particular, answers about the SSN policy, just a couple of weeks ahead of the due date for return of the forms, which is 7/8/10.

Cole says the court is acting at the request of his firm and many state broadcast associations.

Cole says it looks like the Court is highly interested in this, particularly in view of the fact that it’s given the FCC only seven days to respond to its questions.

“By our reckoning,” concluded Cole, “the FCC’s response to the Court’s order will mark the first time that the Commission will have had to address, in a formal presentation, the unusual – and, in the view of a number of observers, unlawful – approach by which it has tried to force all “attributable” principals to give the FCC their SSNs.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This project has been hung up on the difficulty of responding, as well as on the SSN issue. The FCC made modifications designed to ease electronic responses, and tried to wriggle around the SSN issue, but without ever totally eliminating it. We’ll soon see if it will be sent back to the drawing board yet again.