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FCC Gives Broadcasters Even More Time to File Some Documents

New schedule dependent on original filing date; OPIF deadline for some is now Feb. 11

The Federal Communications Commission has shaken up the calendar when it comes to new deadlines for filing certain broadcast documentation.

After parts of the U.S. government, including the FCC for the most part, went into shutdown mode in late December, the agency gave broadcasters until the day after the government reopened to submit filings that were due anytime from Jan. 3 through Jan. 29, 2019. Then that deadline was changed to Wednesday Jan 30, 2019.

Now, however, the commission issued a new public notice alerting broadcasters of revised deadlines for specific documents.

[Read: Post Government Shut Down, FCC Pushes Back Filing Deadline One Day]

These new deadlines shake things up a bit. In a newly released public notice, the commission extended the deadlines for most filings according to the following schedule:

• Filings that were due between January 3 and January 7 will be due, today, Jan. 30, 2019;

• Filings that would otherwise be required to be filed between January 8 and February 7 will be due for filing on Feb. 8, 2019.

There are some exceptions. The FCC set different filing deadlines for certain proceedings, including the Universal Licensing System database, the Information Consumer Complaint database, comments to the Carriage Election Notice Modernization proceeding and the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF).

Of particular note is the OPIF. The FCC clarified that all online public inspection quarterly filings that were supposed to be filed by January 10 (as well as all non-quarterly filings that were required to be placed in a station’s online public inspection file between January 3 and January 28) will be due by February 11.

It’s also important to note that any filings made during the shutdown will need to be resubmitted to the proper Online Public Inspection File site, available at https://publicfiles.fcc.gov/.

A number of state organizations are advising its members to take heed of the new FCC notice. The New York State Broadcasters Association noted that during the shut-down, some stations may have mistakenly uploaded materials on to the FCC’s “Demo On-Line” web page. Uploads like these did not go into a station’s public file, the NYSBA said on its website.

The commission also noted that any STAs that would have expired from January 3 through January 29 are extended until Feb. 8 2019 (except those related to the post-incentive auction transition).

The FCC said commission staff will consider requests for further extensions in individual matters as warranted.

“While we recognize that the [revised] schedule does not afford an extension of time equal to the length of the shutdown in all cases, we believe these extension periods are reasonable under the circumstances, including the fact that many electronic systems remained available to the public during the suspension of operations,” the commission said.

The public notice offers additional information on fee payment due dates and timelines for filings related to tower construction and environmental assessments.

The complete notice can be found here.

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