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O’Rielly to Stations: How Can FCC Can Make Your Life Easier?

Commissioner challenges state associations for ideas; also expects pirate radio document soon

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly says he’s been trying to reduce the regulatory burden on broadcasters but that not enough have taken advantage of the opportunity. So he wants state associations to step up with ideas.

He also said we can expect to see some more FCC activity on pirate radio soon.

Speaking to the National Association of Broadcasters’ State Leadership Conference in Washington, O’Rielly said the FCC needs to hear ways to reduce specific burdens imposed on the industry that are no longer necessary or relevant. “To argue that you should be weighed down by regulations that are past their prime, raise your costs, and keep you from adapting to the future is wrong and unwarranted,” he said, according to an FCC copy of his prepared remarks.

“I’ve asked this of broadcasters before but the response has been somewhat underwhelming,” he continued. “So today, I’m challenging the state associations to bring forward a top 10 list of small-to-medium range items to modernize commission regulations of your industry. Work collectively with other states or individually, but please don’t sweep this golden opportunity aside. How often do you have one of the five FCC commissioners ask how to make your life easier?”

O’Rielly, who holds one of the Republican seats on the commission, also reiterated his call to do away with the correspondence file requirements.

“The last remaining barrier to a true online public file for broadcasters is dealing with the correspondence file, which arguably can’t be put online due to the private, personal consumer information it may contain. A sticky problem to be sure, but at my request the chairman has agreed to open a new proceeding to consider eliminating the outdated correspondence file requirements completely. Your active participation would be very helpful in moving this final step of the online public file effort, swiftly and decisively.”

And he said to expect an advisory document soon on the problem of pirate radio, a frequent topic of his.

“Along with more NALs, a concurrent outreach and education effort could be a real game changer in the fight against pirate radio,” O’Rielly said. “I have been working with the chairman, my colleagues, and the Enforcement Bureau to clearly outline the commission’s pirate radio policies and enforcement goals in an advisory document that we will use to spread the word to building owners, advertisers, political campaigns, concert promoters, venue operators, and others that may be unknowingly enabling pirate operators. Be on the lookout for the results of this effort.”