FCC Adopts Online Public File for Radio

At its open meeting on January 28, the FCC adopted rules requiring radio to have an online public file.  The new rule will:

  • Require entities to upload to the online file only public file documents that are not already on file with the FCC or maintained by the Commission in its own database. The Commission will include in the online file documents already on file with the FCC;
  • Exempt existing political file material from the online file requirement and require that political file documents be uploaded only on a going-forward basis, consistent with the approach taken in the TV transition;
  • With respect to radio broadcasters, impose the online file requirement initially only on commercial stations in the top 50 Nielsen Audio markets with five (5) or more full-time employees, while delaying for two (2) years all mandatory online public file requirements for other radio stations;
  • Permit entities that are temporarily exempt from part or all online public file requirements to upload material to the online file voluntarily before the delayed effective date of their online file requirement;
  • Permit entities that have fully transitioned to the online public file to cease maintaining a local public file, as long as they provide online access to back-up political file material via the entity’s own website if the FCC’s online file database becomes temporarily unavailable.