On Tuesday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to eliminate a decades-old requirement that broadcasters routinely file paper copies of station contracts and certain other documents with the Commission. The Rule is part of the Commission’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative launched in May 2017. The goal is to reduce unnecessary regulation that can impede competition and innovation in media markets.
Since the late 1930s, the Commission has required broadcasters to submit copies of certain contracts and documents relating to ownership and operation of broadcast stations. The documents are either mailed or hand delivered to the Commission. The documents are then made available to FCC staff and the public via the Commission’s public reference room.
In lieu of the paper filing, the Commission wants to rely on the FCC’s existing public file rules. The public file rules require licensees to make the documents available for public inspection by either retaining copies of the documents in the public files or maintaining an up-to-date list of the documents in their public files and providing copies to a requesting party within seven days.