At its regular monthly meeting, Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission eliminated the nearly 80-year-old requirement that broadcasters routinely file paper copies of station contracts and other documents with the Commission. Broadcasters have been required to submit these paper filings since the 1930s.
Now broadcasters have the option of either uploading these documents directly to their online public inspection file or maintaining an up-to-date list of these documents in their online file and providing copies of the documents to requesting parties within seven days. The FCC said, “Eliminating these paper filings, and instead relying on the online public file rules, will reduce burdens on broadcasters while preserving transparency and ease of access to station documents for both the Commission and the public.”
Chairman Pai said, “I’ll keep it simple. 1939: the FCC requires broadcasters to file paper copies of certain contracts with the Commission. 2018: There’s this thing called the Internet. Broadcasters now have the option of either posting these documents online in their public inspection file or maintaining an up-to-date list in their online file and providing copies to any requesting party within seven days. Therefore anyone who cares to access these documents (and virtually nobody does) can easily do so. This regulation is no longer necessary — in fact, it’s burdensome — so we’re repealing it.”
The Report and Order concludes the fifth rulemaking stemming from the Commission’s Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative.