NAB fights rear guard action on ownership reports


The National Association of Broadcasters failed to get favorable FCC action on the new ownership reports designed to provide information for study on minority and female stakes in broadcast licenses – but it did at least delay one requirement.

The NAB wondered why there is a need for a sole proprietor to file the report every two years, once a report is on file, if there are no changes in ownership – and pointed out that the FCC should be aware of any such changes since it would have to approve them. NAB argued that “demographic data on sole proprietors should be captured only at the licensing stage or when there is a change in ownership.”

The FCC disagreed, saying the new form was devised with database creation in mind, and that it wanted to make sure all data was coming in the necessary format. Further, it said that requiring sole proprietors to submit the report every two years would guarantee that they were verifying all data and making sure it’s current.

The FCC also wants to collect information on certain non-attributable interests for a number of reasons: “(a) the single majority shareholder exemption; and (b) the exemption for interests held in eligible entities that would be attributable but for the higher Equity/Debt Plus (“EDP”) thresholds adopted in the Diversity Order.”

The FCC agreed to delay this part of the reporting requirement, made it a fifth further notice of proposed rulemaking and will take comments on it.

The reports were to have been due 11/1/09; but the forms have not yet been approved by the Office of Management and Budget. They will be due no earlier than a month from OMB approval and should be current to 11/1/09.