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Public File Letters: Tell the FCC What You Think

Do you like its plan to spike the rule about keeping public letters in the inspection file?

We told you earlier that the FCC intends to do away with the requirement that commercial broadcast stations keep copies of the public’s letters and emails in their public inspection files.

Now the comment deadlines on that are set. If you wish to weigh in on this notice of proposed rulemaking, do so by July 22. Reply comments by Aug. 22. It is MB Docket No. 16-161

Broadcasters support this change, saying it will reduce security risks at radio and TV facilities and ease their paperwork burdens.

At the commission, Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote recently, “As consumers change the way they communicate with the world, it has become less common for them to write a letter or send an email to their local station. Instead, like most of us, consumers interact with their favorite stations via social media. And for those who would like to share information with the commission about a station, that option remains available. Hence, the item tentatively concluded this requirement is no longer needed to serve its intended purpose.”

Combined with separate initiatives by the FCC to move the entire public file process to an online database, these changes portend a day when stations will no longer need to open their doors to anyone demanding to look at a physical public file.

The current proposal also would eliminate a requirement that cable operators maintain for public inspection the designation and location of a cable system’s principal headend.

Read the NPRM.