In its late November meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order that expanded the obligations of television broadcasters to increase both public access and the amount of local programming information. The Commission has yet to release the text of its Order or to set a date when the new requirements are to take effect.
Preliminary indications were that the decision adopted a new standardized form to replace the informal "issues/programs" lists broadcasters currently are required to compile and place in their public files each calendar quarter. Among the categories of programming to be reported are local civic programming, local electoral affairs, public service announcements and independently produced programming. Information also would be required concerning closed captioning and ascertainment of programming needs of various segments of the community. To increase accessibility, the new form would not only be placed in the public file, but posted on the station's website and filed with the FCC. Also, each station would be responsible for informing their audience twice daily about the location of the public file.
We will advise you further once the final details and timetable become available.