FCC's Online Public File Expands to Radio, Cable and Satellite TV Providers

FCC's Online Public File Expands to Radio, Cable and Satellite TV Providers
February 1, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules that will now require cable operators, satellite television (DBS) providers, and broadcast radio and satellite radio licensees to post their public and political files to the FCC's online public inspection file database.

The Commission adopted online public file rules for broadcast television licensees in 2012, moving television public files online to a central, FCC-hosted database rather than maintaining files locally at their main studios.

TV broadcasters completed their transition to the online file in July 2014. Modernizing the filing process made it easier for consumers to access information about their broadcast services without having to travel to the station's main studio and reduced the cost of broadcaster compliance.

The newest rules extend the online file requirements to cable operators, satellite television (DBS) providers, and broadcast radio and satellite radio licensees, and include a number of measures to minimize the effort and cost associated with moving the public files online.

The FCC says that the new rules further its effort to modernize the way consumers are able to access information about a station's or other video program provider's programming, operations, and compliance with the FCC's rules—including candidate requests for political advertising time.

Public inspection files have been maintained for decades at the local stations and offices. The Commission says that its online database makes these files easier to access, reducing consumer time and expense as well as the long-term costs for government and the private sector.