The FCC’s New Dates


The Commission has changed the date of its October Open Meeting to Tuesday, Oct. 24.

That moves up the meeting by two days, as it was originally scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 26.

Why the change? It’s likely due to a big schedule shift for the FCC’s September Open Meeting. The Commission late Friday announced that it has changed the date of its September Open Meeting by more than two weeks. The date revision came just after the FCC postponed the opening of the 2017 biennial filing window for the submission of broadcast ownership reports on FCC Forms 323 and 323-E.

Originally, the FCC’s September Open Meeting was scheduled for this Thursday.

That can’t happen, as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will be in Dallas, where he will tour a 911 Call Center as part of a week-long trip to Texas that begins today with a visit to a Houston television station that was undisclosed as of 8:30am Central on Sept. 5.

He will also stop at a Houston 911 Call Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center, where many displaced Houstonians are receiving temporary housing.

Pai will be in Austin tomorrow, as the Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Radio Show Luncheon. In addition to his appearance at the JW Marriott for the radio industry’s annual conference, he will visit the State Operations Center, which is managed and staffed by the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

As of Monday at 10am Central, the FCC counts at least 158,086 subscribers (down from at least 164,544 on Sunday) out of service in the affected area: Aransas, Calhoun, Chambers, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Matagorda, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton County, Texas. This includes users who get service from cable system or wireline providers.

Meanwhile, Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned FOX affiliate KBTV-4 and co-owned CBS affiliate KFDM-6, in the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex., market, are back on the air as of Monday afternoon.

Radio stations out of service include Gow Media‘s Class C 100kw KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5”, which serves the Houston DMA from Mont Belvieu, halfway between Houston and Beaumont.

Also off the air as of 10am Monday are Beaumont-licensed Family Stations’ KTXB-FM 89.7, and American Family Association’s KKWV-FM 88.1 in Aransas Pass and KAYK-FM 88.5 in Victoria.

Given Pai’s presence in the Lone Star State, the September Open Meeting will now be held on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10:30am, in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street SW in Washington.

The meeting items will be announced and publicly released on Thursday.

Meanwhile, there’s another new date that is of note to broadcast media worth noting.

The Media Bureau late Friday, on its own motion, postponed the opening of the 2017 biennial filing window for the submission of broadcast ownership reports on FCC Forms 323
and 323-E until December 1 and extended the filing deadline to March 2, 2018.

Licensees of commercial AM, FM, TV, Class A, and Low Power Television (LPTV) stations and entities with attributable interests in such stations are required to file biennial ownership reports on Form 323 in all odd-numbered years.

Additionally, as of January 2016, Form 323-E revisions require noncommercial stations to file biennial ownership reports by December 1 in all odd-numbered years and that such reports provide information that is current as of October 1 of the year in which the ownership report is filed—consistent with the filing obligations applicable to commercial stations.

Why is there a delay?

The Media Bureau explains, “We are postponing the start of the filing window to provide sufficient time to properly implement the electronic versions of the revised Forms 323 and 323-E in the Licensing and Management System (LMS). Furthermore, given the
intervening holidays, extending the window will ensure that filers have sufficient time to complete and submit their reports.”