According to the Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC released a tentative agenda for the agency’s open meeting scheduled for January 31. This will be the first meeting without Chairman Wheeler, who is set to step down on January 20. The only item on the Republican-controlled FCC meeting agenda is the elimination of the requirement that broadcasters maintain a paper public file, open for public inspection, containing letters and emails from the public about station operations.
The FCC in the past had cited privacy concerns for requiring such communication be kept out of the online public file database, but the agency now says it believes the legacy paper requirement does little to ensure broadcasters are serving the public interest. This meeting may serve as an initial indication of how the regulatory treatment of broadcasters may change under the new Administration. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) supports the idea, saying it will “reduce the regulatory burdens” on commercial broadcasters while keeping up with 21st century communications.