Now’s the chance for broadcasters to tell the FCC what they think of the requirement to post their public inspection files online to an agency-hosted system.
It’s been almost a year since the commission began requiring the top four television network affiliates in the top 50 Designated Market Areas to post the files that used to be located in a station’s main studio — including their political files.
The commission would like to eventually require radio stations to comply, though at the NAB Show Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake told Radio World that cuts to the agency’s IT budget as a result of sequestration mean the commission doesn’t have the technical capability to adapt the system for radio anytime soon.
Beginning last August, the initial 240 television stations were required to upload new public file documents to the online database. The 240 stations initially affected were given six more months to upload files that were already in their public files.
To date, more than 361,000 documents have been uploaded, including 66,000 documents in political files, according to the commission. Even 200 TV stations not currently subject to the rule have uploaded at least one file online.
In 2012, the agency said it would solicit opinions on how the system is working, and take those comments into consideration before requiring the rest of its licensed television stations to post before July 1, 2014.
The commission would like to know if stations are encountering obstacles to uploading their files and how improvements the FCC has made to its online database have affected stations. Are the files easier for station employees or the public easier to find? That’s what the FCC wants to find out.
Comments to MB Docket 00-168 are due by Aug. 26 and replies by Sept. 23. Federal Register publication triggered the comment deadlines.