MAB Files with the FCC to Drop Paper Letter Requirement

The Michigan Association of Broadcasers has joined other state broadcast associations in a FCC filling to support a proposal that commercial radio and television operators should no longer be required to keep hard copies of letters and emails from listeners and viewers in public files housed at the station. In the past, the FCC cited privacy concerns for requiring such communication be kept out of the online database, but, it now believes the legacy requirement does little to ensure broadcasters are serving the public interest.

State broadcast associations argue in the filing that eliminating the hard copy requirements will reduce the regulatory burdens on commercial broadcasters. And, that the use of social media platforms make stations “immediately and publicly responsible for their programming decisions,” thereby making a requirement to keep letters and email printouts “anachronistic, antiquated and fundamentally meaningless.” The state associations also say that eliminating the requirement will incentivize stations outside the top 50 markets, with fewer that five employees, to voluntarily make the jump to posting their public inspection online ahead of the March 2018 deadline.

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