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FCC Clarifies Ownership Form Exceptions

Just who needs to file Form 323 is spelled out

The FCC has set July 8 as the deadline for every station to file ownership reports, Form 323.

The clarification comes this week after three delays for this form. The commission had wanted the data to be accurate as of Nov. 1, 2009 but said it received “numerous inquiries” from stations that had been sold since that date. “The current licensees have raised concerns that they may be unable to acquire the ownership information from the previous licensees necessary to file Form 323, and/or that they will be unable to certify as to the accuracy of the reported information,” the Media Bureau noted it its notice.

The FCC will consider requests to waive the filing requirements for stations that have changed hands between the so-called “snapshot” date of Nov. 1, 2009, and June 23 of this year. The agency is also requiring licensees with pending assignment and transfer of control applications and licensees of applications filed between June 23 and July 8 to file Form 323 on or before July 8, as a condition to getting a grant of the pending application.

The reason the new form’s debut has been delayed is because of controversy over the FCC’s new requirement that those with an “attributable” interest in a station provide a Social Security Number in order to obtain a FCC Registration Number for each Form 323. We’ve reported that several broadcasters and Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth has been fighting the commission on this because of privacy concerns.