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Attn. Radio: Get Ready to File Those Biennial Ownership Reports

Due every odd-numbered year, reports can be submitted starting Oct. 2

The time has come for broadcasters to get ready to file their biennial ownership reports with the Federal Communications Commission.

A public notice from the Media Bureau reminded broadcast licensees that they are obligated to file biennial ownership reports in odd-numbered years. According to the commission’s rules, licensees of AM and FM radio stations (as well as their television brethren) must file these reports using FCC Form 323 or 323-E, depending on whether they are a commercial or noncommercial entity. FCC Form 323 is for licensees of commercial AM and FM stations; Form 323-E is for noncommercial stations. 

The filing window for these reports is set to open on Oct. 2, 2023. All forms must be filed by Dec. 1, 2023.

According to the bureau, filing these reports is a fundamental obligation. “The accurate and timely filing of ownership information is critical to ensuring that the public knows who owns, operates and controls broadcast stations,” the bureau said in a notice released on July 17. “Additionally, accurate and timely ownership information is crucial to an understanding of the broadcast industry as a whole, including an understanding of the diversity and multiplicity of owners.”

The data gathered from these biennial reports help not only to inform the commission and the public as to a station’s ownership, but also support the commission’s policy-making efforts with data that reflects the race, gender and ethnicity of interest holders at a broadcast station. 

The commission also reminds licensees that even though this deadline looms, stations must still maintain current ownership reports in the station’s Online Public Inspection File.

Forms 323 and 323-E must be filed electronically in the commission’s Licensing and Management System or LMS. The FCC emphasized that it will not accept an ownership report that is mailed or emailed to the commission; all forms must be filed through the LMS.

In situations that include parent companies or other forms of indirect ownership, a separate form must be filed for each entity in the organization that has an attributable interest in the licensee.  The FCC hosted a public information session to review the filing process back in 2017. That recorded session can be found online.

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