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FCC Preps for Possible Shutdown

Broadcasters could be affected in myriad of ways

The FCC, like all federal agencies, is making preparations for a possible government shutdown come Oct. 1.

That could affect broadcasters in several ways.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn confirmed yesterday the agency has been working with the Office of Management and Budget on a shutdown plan. That would be necessary should there be no authorized funds from a “continuing resolution” to run the government when its new fiscal year begins.

Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford says even if next Tuesday’s deadline is averted, “the government faces another potential shut-down of some of its functions in the middle of the month (apparently by Oct. 17) unless there is a vote to raise the federal debt ceiling.”

Based on the FCC’s shut-down plan issued in 2011, most of the agency’s workers would need to go home. They could not even answer email or take work-related phone calls from home. Thus, there would be no construction permits issued for new or improved stations, and no grants of other pending applications, according to Oxenford, meaning that station sales would be left in limbo for whoever long the shutdown lasts.

And as we reported yesterday, depending on how long a shutdown lasts, a federal work-stoppage of all but the most essential tasks could leave the start of the pending LPFM filing window in question.