[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 92 (Friday, May 11, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27631-27657]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11065]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 73

[MM Docket No. 00-168, 00-44; FCC 12-44]


Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television 
Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations; Extension of the Filing 
Requirement for Children's Television Programming Report (FCC Form 398)

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission revises its public file 
regulations to require that television station public inspection files 
be made available in an online public file to be hosted on the 
Commission's Web site.

DATES: The rules in this document contain information collection 
requirements that are not effective until approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB). These rules will become effective 30 days 
after the Commission publishes a document in the Federal Register 
announcing OMB approval of those information collection requirements.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information on this 
proceeding, contact Holly Saurer, Holly.Saurer@fcc.gov of the Media 
Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120. For additional information 
concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection 
requirements contained in this document, send an email to PRA@fcc.gov 
or contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Second 
Report and Order, FCC 12-44, adopted and released on April 27, 2012. 
The full text of this document is available for public inspection and 
copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, 
Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS 
(http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/). (Documents will be available 
electronically in ASCII, Word 97, and/or Adobe Acrobat.) The complete 
text may be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th 
Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. To request this 
document in accessible formats (computer diskettes, large print, audio 
recording, and Braille), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the 
Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 
(voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).
    The Commission will seek written comments on the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (PRA) modified information collection requirements in a 
separate notice that will be published in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    This document contains modified information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, will invite the general public to comment on 
the information collection requirements contained in this Second Report 
and Order as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public 
Law 104-13 in a separate notice to be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, the Commission notes that pursuant to the Small 
Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the 
Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for 
small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. We received one 
comment specifically addressing this issue. In the present document, we 
have assessed the effects of the new requirements on small businesses, 
including those with fewer than 25 employees, in the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (``FRFA'') below.

Summary of the Second Report and Order

I. Introduction

    1. In this Second Report and Order we modernize the procedures 
television broadcasters use to inform the public about how they are 
serving their

[[Page 27632]]

communities, by having stations post their public files online in a 
central, Commission-hosted database, rather than maintaining the files 
locally at their main studios. This updating of our rules harnesses 
current technology to make information concerning broadcast service 
more accessible to the public and, over time, reduce broadcasters' 
costs of compliance. This Order is another step in our modernization of 
the Commission's processes to transition from paper filings and 
recordkeeping to digital technology. Without imposing any new reporting 
obligation, it will help bring broadcast disclosure into the 21st 
century.
    2. Specifically, we adopt--with significant modifications--the 
proposal discussed in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(``FNPRM'') to replace the decades-old requirement that commercial and 
noncommercial television stations maintain a public file at their main 
studios with a requirement to post most of the documents in that file 
to an online public file to be hosted by the Commission. All permittees 
and licensees of a TV or Class A TV station in the commercial and 
noncommercial educational broadcast services must maintain a public 
inspection file. We have departed from the proposal in a number of 
respects to maximize public benefits while avoiding compliance costs 
that the record suggests would not be justified at this time. First, 
because many stations' existing political files are large, and the 
retention period for the political file is shorter than for other 
portions of the public file, we will not require stations to incur the 
cost of upload their existing political files to the online public 
file. Rather, stations may upload documents in that portion of the 
public file only prospectively. Second, broadcasters will be 
responsible for uploading only those items now required to be in the 
public file but not otherwise filed with the Commission or available on 
the Commission's Web site. In particular, the Commission will itself 
import to the online public file any document or information now 
required to be kept in the public file and that must already be filed 
with the Commission electronically in the Consolidated DataBase System 
(``CDBS''), so that stations do not need to post that information. 
Third, we do not adopt new disclosure obligations for sponsorship 
identifications and shared services agreements at this time, as had 
been proposed in the FNPRM. Rather, broadcasters will only be required 
to place in their online files material that is already required to be 
placed in their local files. Fourth, we do not impose specific 
formatting requirements on broadcasters at this time, although stations 
should upload relevant documents either in their existing electronic 
format or in a simple, easily created electronic format such as .pdf. 
Finally, we will provide an organized file system for uploading 
documents so that the resulting public file for each station is 
orderly, and organizationally similar for all stations, thus promoting 
ease of use by stations and the public.
    3. To better ensure that the Commission can accommodate television 
broadcasters' online filings and to limit any unforeseen start-up 
difficulties to those stations that are best able to address them, we 
will phase in the new posting requirements. For the next two years we 
will only require stations that are affiliated with the top four 
national networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) and that are licensed to 
serve communities in the top 50 Designated Market Areas (``DMAs'') to 
post political file documents online. We exempt all other stations from 
posting their political file documents to their online public file 
until July 1, 2014. The Media Bureau will issue a Public Notice no 
later than July 1, 2013 to seek comment on the impact of this posting 
requirement, to enable us to consider whether any changes should be 
made before it takes effect for the other stations. We also defer 
considering whether to adopt online posting for radio licensees and 
multichannel video programming distributors until we have gained 
experience with online posting of public files of television 
broadcasters.

II. Background

    4. One of a television broadcaster's fundamental public interest 
obligations is to air programming responsive to the needs and interests 
of its community of license. Rather than dictating how broadcasters 
must meet that obligation, the Commission affords broadcasters broad 
latitude, subject to a reporting requirement under which broadcasters 
must maintain a public inspection file that gives the public access to 
information about the station's operations.
    5. Almost seventy-five years ago--in 1938--the Commission 
promulgated its first political file rule. That initial rule was 
essentially identical to our current political file regulation in its 
requirements that the file be available for ``public inspection'' and 
include both candidate requests for time and the disposition of those 
requests, including the ``charges made'' for the broadcast time. More 
than 45 years ago--in 1965--the Commission additionally adopted a 
broader public inspection file rule. The public file requirement grew 
out of Congress' 1960 amendment of Sections 309 and 311 of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (the ``Act''), which allowed greater public 
participation in broadcast licensing. Finding that Congress, in 
enacting these provisions, was guarding ``the right of the general 
public to be informed, not merely the rights of those who have special 
interests,'' the Commission adopted the public inspection file 
requirement to ``make information to which the public already has a 
right more readily available, so that the public will be encouraged to 
play a more active part in dialogue with broadcast licensees.''
    6. In October 2000, in the first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
issued in this proceeding, the Commission concluded that ``making 
information regarding how a television broadcast station serves the 
public interest easier to understand and more accessible will not only 
promote discussion between the licensee and its community, but will 
lessen the need for government involvement in ensuring that a station 
is meeting its public interest obligation.'' The Commission tentatively 
concluded that it should require television licensees to make the 
contents of their public inspection files, including a standardized 
form reflecting the stations' public interest programming, available on 
their stations' Web sites or, alternatively, on the Web site of their 
state broadcasters association. In 2007, the Commission adopted a 
Report and Order implementing these proposals.
    7. Following the release of the 2007 Report and Order, the 
Commission received petitions for reconsideration from several industry 
petitioners and public interest advocates. The industry petitioners 
raised a number of issues, generally contending that the requirements 
were overly complex and burdensome. Public interest advocates argued 
that the political file should be included in the online public file 
requirement rather than exempted as provided in the 2007 Report and 
Order. In addition, five parties appealed the 2007 Report and Order, 
and the cases were consolidated in the United States Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court granted a petition to 
hold the proceeding in abeyance while the Commission reviewed the 
petitions for reconsideration. Challenging the rules in a third forum, 
several parties opposed the 2007 Report and Order's ``information 
collection'' under the Paperwork Reduction Act.\1\
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    \1\ The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Pub. L. 104-13, 
requires that the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') approve 
any information collections. As required, the Commission published a 
notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on the projected 
burdens of the rules. See 73 FR 13462 (Mar. 13, 2008); 73 FR 30316 
(May 27, 2008). Because of pending petitions for reconsideration 
requesting substantial revisions to the 2007 Report and Order that 
would affect the projected burdens, the Commission did not formally 
transmit the information collection to OMB for its approval, 
choosing instead to address the petitions for reconsideration, and 
therefore the rules adopted in the 2007 Report and Order never went 
into effect.

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[[Page 27633]]

    8. In June 2011, Commission staff released ``The Information Needs 
of Communities'' Report (``INC Report''), a comprehensive report on the 
current state of the media landscape created by a working group 
including Commission staff, scholars, and consultants. The INC Report 
discussed both the need to empower citizens to ensure that broadcasters 
serve their communities in exchange for the use of public spectrum, and 
the need to remove unnecessary burdens on broadcasters who aim to serve 
their communities. The INC Report recommended an online system for 
public inspection files in order to ensure greater public access. It 
also recommended that stations be required to disclose online shared 
services agreements and ``pay-for-play'' arrangements. The INC Report 
further suggested that governments at all levels collect and publish 
data in forms that make it easy for citizens, entrepreneurs, software 
developers, and reporters to access and analyze information to enable 
them to present the data in more useful formats, and noted that greater 
transparency by government and media companies can help reduce the cost 
of reporting, empower consumers, and foster innovation.
    9. In October 2011, the Commission vacated the 2007 Report and 
Order, determining that technological and marketplace changes since 
2007 may be pertinent to our consideration of television broadcasters' 
public disclosure obligations, and that the best course of action would 
be to take a fresh look at the policy issues raised in this proceeding. 
The Commission also adopted an FNPRM to refresh the record in this 
proceeding. It solicited comment on various proposals, including some 
of the proposals parties raised on reconsideration, to improve public 
access to information about how broadcasters are serving their 
communities while minimizing the burdens placed upon broadcasters.

III. Discussion

    10. The updated rules we adopt today modernize disclosure 
procedures to improve access to station files that, for decades, have 
been public more in theory than in practice. Today, reviewing a 
television station's public file typically involves the substantial 
expense and inconvenience of traveling to the station and paying for 
paper copies. Under our rules, review will involve a quick and 
essentially costless Internet search. This modernization is plain 
common sense. The evolution of the Internet and the spread of broadband 
Internet access has made it easy for stations to post material online 
and for many consumers to find information online. The television 
broadcast industry should not be left out of the online revolution that 
has improved the delivery of products and services across our economy, 
as well as the availability of government services and government 
information to the public.
    11. At the same time, we are committed to updating the outdated 
procedures for public access to television stations' public files in a 
manner that avoids unnecessary burdens on broadcasters. We have 
significantly departed from the proposals in the FNPRM to achieve this 
goal. Based on this balance of considerations, the online public file 
requirements we adopt today will replace the existing in-station 
retention requirements as follows:
     Each station's entire public file will be hosted online, 
by the Commission.
     Television broadcasters will be responsible for uploading 
only those items now required to be in the public file but not 
otherwise filed with the Commission or available on the Commission's 
Web site. These items include citizen agreements, certain EEO 
materials, issues/programs lists, children's television commercial 
limits records, donor lists for NCEs, local public notice 
announcements, time brokerage agreements, must-carry or retransmission 
consent elections, joint sales agreements, Class A continuing 
eligibility documentation, materials related to FCC investigations 
(other than investigative information requests from the Commission), 
and any new political file materials.
     Any document or information now required to be kept in a 
television station's public file and that must already be filed with 
the Commission electronically in the Consolidated DataBase System 
(``CDBS'') will be imported to the online public file and updated by 
the Commission. This includes authorizations, applications and related 
materials, contour maps, ownership reports and related materials, EEO 
materials, The Public and Broadcasting manual, children's television 
programming reports, and Letters of Inquiry and other investigative 
information requests from the Commission, unless otherwise directed by 
the inquiry itself.
     Television stations will not be required to upload their 
existing political files to the online file; rather, they will be 
permitted to maintain at the station those documents placed in their 
political file before the effective date of our rules, and only upload 
documents to the online political file on a going-forward basis.
     To smooth the transition for both stations and the 
Commission and to allow smaller broadcasters additional time to begin 
posting their political files online, we will exempt all stations that 
are not in the top 50 DMAs and all stations not affiliated with the top 
four national television broadcast networks, regardless of the size of 
the market they serve, from having to post new political file materials 
online until July 1, 2014.
     Stations will not be required to upload letters and emails 
from the public to their online public file; rather, they will continue 
to maintain them in a correspondence file at the main studio.
     Stations will not be required to include in their online 
public file any documents not already required to be included in their 
local file.
    We believe these procedures will substantially advance the original 
goals of the public file requirements and better enable the public to 
engage with their local broadcasters. Further, while broadcasters will 
incur a modest, one-time transitional cost to upload some portions of 
their existing public file to the Commission's online database, that 
initial expense will be offset by the public benefits of online 
disclosure. Over time, moreover, broadcasters will benefit from the 
lower costs of sending documents electronically to the Commission, as 
opposed to creating and maintaining a paper file at the station.

A. A Commission-Hosted Online Public File Will Serve the Public 
Interest

    12. We agree with commenters who maintain that placing the public 
file online will improve the public's access to information and 
facilitate dialogue between broadcast stations and the communities they 
serve. As the Commission noted in the FNPRM, making public file 
information available through the Internet should facilitate public 
access and foster increased public participation in the licensing 
process. The information provided in the public file is beneficial to 
persons who wish to participate in a station's license renewal 
proceeding. For example, as the Public Interest, Public

[[Page 27634]]

Airwaves Coalition (``PIPAC'') notes, when broadcasters fall short of 
their obligations or violate Commission rules, the public's ability to 
alert the Commission by filing complaints or petitions to deny the 
renewal of a station's broadcast license is essential, and the public 
file provides information necessary to file such complaints or 
petitions.
    13. We also agree with commenters that access to the public files 
has been inconveniently (and unnecessarily) limited by current 
procedures. Currently, the public can access a station's public files 
only by visiting the main studio during regular business hours. Several 
commenters discussed the inconvenience of this limited access and 
identified problems they experienced in attempting to access stations' 
public files. Making the information available online will permit 24-
hour access from any location, without requiring a visit to the 
station, thereby greatly increasing public access to information on how 
a station is meeting its public interest obligations. The Internet is 
an effective and low-cost method of maintaining contact with, and 
distributing information to, broadcast viewers. Indeed, given the 
considerable flexibility that stations have in locating their main 
studios and the fact that many members of a station's audience may be 
working during ``normal business hours''--the only time stations are 
obliged to make the file available--there seems little doubt that 24-
hour Internet access would greatly improve the accessibility of these 
files. The public benefits of posting this information online, while 
difficult to quantify with exactitude, are unquestionably substantial.
    14. We further conclude that it will be efficient for the public 
and ultimately less burdensome for stations to have their public files 
available in a centralized location. The Commission will, therefore, 
host the online public file. A Commission-hosted online public file 
will allow consumers to easily find the public files of all stations in 
their viewing area, making the Commission's Web site a one-stop shop 
for information about all broadcast television stations in a viewer's 
market and eliminating the need to access multiple stations' Web sites. 
As we further discuss below, a uniform organizational structure among 
all files will allow consumers to more easily navigate the public files 
of all stations of interest. The public will be able to review the 
online public file of any station, and quickly navigate to where each 
category of documents is found, because each station's online public 
file will be organized in the same format.
    15. The Commission's hosting of the public file also addresses 
concerns expressed by many broadcasters about the burden of hosting 
files online themselves. The rules adopted in 2007 would have required 
stations to host their public files on their own Web sites. In 
petitions for reconsideration, two broadcast trade associations 
proposed that the Commission host the files instead, suggesting that 
such a solution would be less burdensome to licensees, who would not 
have to devote resources to creating and maintaining an online public 
file. They also contended this approach would be more efficient, since 
many public file items are already filed with the Commission. For 
instance, the Named State Broadcasters Associations estimated that the 
Commission's hosting of the files would save broadcasters more than $24 
million in first-year costs, and almost $14 million in annual costs 
thereafter. We agree that having the Commission host stations' public 
file information will ultimately reduce costs for stations--compared to 
the existing local file requirements.
    16. We agree with commenters who reject the argument that there is 
no public need that can be met by placing online the political file 
portion of the station's public inspection file. As noted by 
commenters, placing the political file online will enable candidates, 
as well as the public, journalists, educators, and the research 
community, to identify and investigate those sponsoring political 
advertisements. Under current rules, the political file must contain, 
among other things, all specific requests for broadcast time made by or 
on behalf of a candidate and the disposition of those requests. It must 
also contain information regarding other appearances by candidates 
(excluding those in certain news programming exempt from the equal 
opportunities provision), and information about issue advertising that 
``communicates a message relating to any political matter of national 
importance.'' As noted by some commenters, political ad spending is 
rapidly increasing, and often the only way to track such expenditures 
is through stations' political files. We also agree with PIPAC's 
assertion that the disclosures included in the political file further 
the First Amendment's goal of an informed electorate that is able to 
evaluate the validity of messages and hold accountable the interests 
that disseminate political advocacy. As the Supreme Court stated in 
Citizens United v. FEC, ``transparency enables the electorate to make 
informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and 
messages'' and that, ``[w]ith the advent of the Internet, prompt 
disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with 
the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials 
accountable for their positions and supporters.'' We are also persuaded 
by commenters claiming that ``the public must have access to 
information about the messenger as well as the message to fully 
understand an ad's content.''
    17. Campaigns and candidates will be among those who benefit from 
being able to obtain political file information online. Some industry 
comments argue that candidates will obtain only limited benefits and 
possibly experience detrimental effects from moving the political file 
online. Broadcasters argue that the existing process serves the 
candidates and the stations well, and there is no reason to believe 
that changing the process will benefit candidates or campaigns. Other 
broadcasters argue that it is more meaningful and efficient for a 
candidate's representatives to speak with a station's sales department 
on the phone or in person. According to these broadcasters, personal 
interactions would be lost if the political file were to be placed 
online, which would be frustrating and create inefficiencies for 
advertising buyers and station staff. We fail to see how the online 
availability of past political time purchases will discourage buyers 
from having contact with the station concerning current and future time 
buys or how this information's availability will interfere with ongoing 
relationships between the stations and buyers. The fact that buyers and 
candidates will have increased ease of access to relevant information 
should not preclude or hinder candidates or buyers from a continuing 
dialogue with stations as they purchase time. Although some stations 
may elect to continue to make information routinely available to 
candidates through personal interaction at the station during business 
hours, which we do not intend to discourage, we expect that candidates 
and their representatives will use the online political file to obtain 
information from source documents without filtering by station 
personnel and at any time of day. LUC Media, a candidate media buyer, 
argues that ``the only way that candidates can make sure that they 
receive the availabilities and prices that the law requires is to have 
access to stations' and cable television systems' political files.'' 
LUC Media claims that the political file is necessary because 
``stations and cable television

[[Page 27635]]

systems have learned over the years that, if they can limit the 
information that candidates have about availabilities and rates, they 
can get candidates to overpay for the airtime that they buy.'' While 
LUC Media notes that this is not the practice of all stations, LUC 
Media routinely reviews stations' political files to ensure that they 
are providing candidates with equal opportunities, which is why ``the 
Commission requires that this information be available for public 
inspection.'' LUC argues that ``Internet access to those files will 
enable more candidates to become better informed about availabilities 
and pricing and, thus, demand that they receive the lowest unit charge 
for the time that they buy.'' Internet access will also eliminate the 
need for such buyers to travel to every station in a market to verify 
the contents of the public file, and to ask for help from station 
employees who have to take time away from their normal duties to 
accommodate such requests. We agree with LUC Media that placing the 
political file online will enhance the underlying purpose of the 
political file.
    18. Some broadcasters argue that the Commission's focus in this 
proceeding has inappropriately changed from increasing broadcast 
dialogue with the public to enabling access to information about the 
stations for research and public advocacy groups with no ties to the 
broadcast stations' communities. We do not perceive the dichotomy these 
broadcasters suggest. While the public file is first and foremost a 
tool for community members, it is also a tool for the larger media 
policy community. Public advocacy groups, journalists, and researchers 
act in part as surrogates for the viewing public in evaluating and 
reporting on broadcast stations' performance. And as we stated in the 
FNPRM, easy access to public file information will assist the 
Commission, Congress, and researchers as they fashion public policy and 
recommendations relating to broadcasting and other media issues. For 
example, the Commission has said that ``the quarterly issues/programs 
lists will provide the public and the Commission with the information 
needed to monitor licensees' performance under this new regulatory 
scheme and thus permit us to evaluate the impact of our decision. 
Existing procedures such as citizen complaints and petitions to deny 
will continue to function as important tools in this regard.'' Academic 
analysis of such lists help the Commission monitor whether stations are 
meeting their responsibilities to their local community, and can 
provide information relevant to citizen complaints and petitions to 
deny. We recognize the efforts of public interest groups and academics 
to analyze publicly available information and educate the public about 
how their local stations are serving their communities, and believe 
that this work is an important aspect of educating viewers about their 
local television broadcast stations.

B. Broadcasters' Initial Costs To Comply Will Be Minimized and the 
Online Public File Will Ultimately Lead to Cost Savings

1. We Are Tailoring the Requirements To Minimize Costs of Moving the 
Public Files Online
    19. We have adopted a variety of measures to minimize the efforts 
broadcasters must undertake to move their public files online. In 
addition, we have declined to adopt certain proposals in the FNPRM at 
this time, to further ensure that the costs of compliance with the new 
posting procedures are outweighed by the benefits of online disclosure.
    20. First, we are minimizing burdens on stations by not requiring 
them to upload documents that are currently part of the public file but 
which are also filed in the Consolidated DataBase System (``CDBS'') or 
that the Commission already maintains on its own Web site. The 
Commission will import these documents into the online public file. 
Documents that fall in this category include station authorizations, 
applications and related materials, contour maps, ownership reports and 
related materials, EEO materials, The Public and Broadcasting manual, 
children's television programming reports, and Letters of Inquiry and 
other investigative information requests from the Commission, unless 
otherwise directed by the inquiry itself. Broadcasters will be 
responsible for uploading only those items not otherwise filed with the 
Commission or available on the Commission's Web site.
    21. We recognize that stations' need to upload other items in the 
public file--including citizen agreements, certain EEO materials, 
issues/programs lists, children's television commercial limits records, 
donor lists for NCEs, local public notice announcements, time brokerage 
agreements, must-carry or retransmission consent elections, joint sales 
agreements, Class A continuing eligibility documentation, materials 
related to FCC investigations (other than investigative information 
requests from the Commission), and new political file materials--will 
entail some burden initially, inasmuch as stations will have to upload 
electronic versions or scan and upload paper versions of existing 
public files to the online public file. But not all stations will have 
all of these documents. For example, a station may not have time 
brokerage agreements, joint sales agreements, or citizen agreements, 
and may not be a Class A station. In that situation, there will be 
nothing in these categories for the station to upload. Moreover, many 
of the items in the public file will not require frequent updating. An 
LMA, for example, may have a term of 5 or more years and would not 
require any further action on the part of the station unless the 
agreement was amended or replaced. Joint sales agreements, citizen 
agreements, retransmission and must-carry consent elections similarly 
involve extended periods of time. In addition, as discussed below, 
stations will not be required to upload any of their existing political 
file documents. Rather, stations may upload documents to the political 
file component of the online public file only prospectively. We 
conclude that, for those public file items that stations do have to 
post, the transitional costs would involve only a one-time burden on 
broadcasters that, as further explained below, we find is outweighed by 
the significant benefits of transitioning the public file online.
    22. Second, we minimize burdens on broadcasters by declining to 
adopt any new recordkeeping requirements. As discussed below, we are 
not adopting the proposal in the FNPRM to require stations to include 
sponsorship identification information in the online public files or to 
include shared services agreements that are not already required to be 
included in the local file. Instead, only information already required 
to be included in the local file will need to be posted online.
    23. Third, we are not requiring stations to post files online in a 
particular format at this time. Thus, they will not need to undertake 
the costs of developing new electronic forms or of conforming their 
current recordkeeping practices to accommodate a Commission-designed 
form.
2. Broadcast Commenters Greatly Overstate the Costs Involved
    24. Based upon the actions we are taking to minimize burdens, 
discussed above, and our analysis of some television stations' public 
files, we conclude that the broadcast commenters vastly overstate the 
burdens of moving their public files online.
    25. The Commission is taking steps to ensure that the process of 
uploading

[[Page 27636]]

files to the online public file--both initially and prospectively--will 
be simple and efficient. We are developing the online public file 
system to permit broadcasters simply to drag and drop documents into 
the relevant folders of their online public file. As a result, although 
the initial upload of existing documents--that is, those documents 
maintained in the paper file before the effective date of our new 
rules--will impose some costs on stations, we do not believe these 
costs will be unduly burdensome, particularly compared to the resulting 
benefits.
    26. Some broadcasters argue that uploading the existing public file 
will be unduly burdensome. They argue that we should implement the 
online public file requirement solely on a forward-looking basis, 
encompassing either all documents created after a certain date or all 
documents created after a station's next renewal. Joint TV Broadcasters 
notes that many materials must be retained until final action is taken 
on a station's next license renewal application, and a decision 
requiring all existing local files to be scanned and uploaded would 
require stations to upload eight years of information that may soon be 
obsolete. It argues that some of the materials, like the issues/
programs lists, commercial limit certifications, and the political 
file, should be required to be uploaded to the online public file only 
on a going-forward basis.
    27. We find that the one-time electronic upload or scanning and 
upload of existing documents is not unduly burdensome and that adoption 
of a grandfathering approach would be confusing to those seeking access 
to the information. Such an approach would necessitate the continued 
maintenance of a robust local file, which could diminish the benefits 
to the public of the online file with respect to improved public access 
to information, and would diminish the benefits to the stations of 
moving their files online. We agree with Common Frequency that scanning 
existing paper documents does not constitute an extraordinary burden, 
as it is a rote process that can be affordably outsourced if necessary. 
In addition, if the documents are currently maintained in electronic 
form, as some are likely to be, the one-time burden will be de minimis.
    28. Our determination that the transition process will not be 
unduly burdensome is based in part on a review, in March 2012, of the 
public files of stations in the Baltimore DMA. Commenters provided 
little data based on actual station records. The Commission therefore 
determined that it was advisable to supplement the record with 
empirical data from a sample market. Baltimore was selected because its 
proximity to Commission headquarters in Washington, DC, and the 
relatively compact size of the Baltimore DMA allowed staff to visit 
stations there without great difficulty. Our review of the Baltimore 
DMA public files indicates that most stations will only need to upload 
a fraction of their existing public file to the online public file--or 
approximately 250 to 2200 pages, as reflected in the second column of 
the chart below. Columns three and four reflect what we believe the 
costs are likely to be for stations to upload this information. We 
estimate that stations that choose to scan and upload this information 
in-house can do so for $.10 per page,\2\ while stations can outsource 
such work for approximately $.50 per page. Based on this assumed cost 
of $.10 to $.50 per page, we calculate a range of the average cost for 
a station to upload their existing public file in accordance with this 
Order, with the average cost per station ranging from approximately 
$80-$400 per station. We believe that this modest one-time expenditure 
(even if it were not offset by later costs savings as we believe it 
will be) is worth the benefits of providing the public with access to a 
station's existing public file.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Commission is 
allowed to charge for our research and reproduction services under 
certain conditions. See http://www.fcc.gov/guides/how-file-foia-request. We have determined those costs to be $.10 per page. See 
Modification of the Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule, D.A. 
10-97 (Jan. 19, 2010). We believe this to be an accurate reflection 
of actual reproduction costs, and we expect that scanning costs 
would be equal to this or lower, because paper, ink, and fasteners 
are not required.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Public file
                                         pages to   In-house cost    Outsourced     In-house
                                       upload w/in    per page 1   cost per page     total     Outsourced  total
                                        6 months 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WBAL-TV..............................          998            0.1            0.5       $99.80            $499.00
WMAR-TV..............................          987            0              0           0.00               0.00
WJZ-TV...............................          844            0.1            0.5        84.40             422.00
WNUV.................................          251            0.1            0.5        25.10             125.50
WBFF.................................         2094            0.1            0.5       209.40           1,047
WUTB.................................         2126            0.1            0.5       212.60           1,063.00
WMPT.................................         2180            0              0           0.00               0.00
WMPB.................................         2180            0              0           0.00               0.00
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............................        11660  .............  .............       631.30           3,156.50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    29. We agree with commenters that, once they incur these modest 
costs, stations will realize savings by no longer having to keep a 
local file on a going-forward basis. We recognize that stations will be 
required to maintain and make publicly available a correspondence file 
with letters and emails from the public, but we agree with commenters 
that stations will nonetheless realize significant reductions in 
burdens by not having to maintain a more robust local file. Placing the 
information online will minimize disruptions in the daily operation of 
a station, and reduce the burdens placed on station staff that 
currently field phone calls and chaperone in-person requests to inspect 
the files.\3\ When Commission staff sought to obtain the public files 
of the Baltimore stations, as well as those of five other stations 
around the country, stations dedicated staff resources to

[[Page 27637]]

copying the files, and were in no case able to provide the copies on 
the same day as the request. Further, once broadcasters have completed 
the initial upload of documents in the existing public files, as 
specified herein, we do not believe that uploading public file 
documents on a going-forward basis to an online public file is likely 
to be any more burdensome than placing such documents into a paper 
file. Indeed, in many instances, using the online public file will be 
less burdensome, because uploading (or even scanning, then uploading) a 
file may be easier and more efficient than photocopying it, walking it 
to the local paper file, finding the appropriate folder and inserting 
it in the proper order.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Our current rules do not require stations to accommodate 
political file requests over the phone, because such a requirement 
could disrupt station operations. We expect that requiring stations 
to place the public files online will have a similar beneficial 
effect; reducing rather than expanding, disruptions to operations at 
the station as station personnel would no longer have to process 
requests for access to this information in person, as they are 
currently required to do. Instead of accommodating each candidate or 
their campaign representatives personally on a frequent basis, an 
online requirement will allow a station to upload the most up-to-
date information periodically for all interested parties. As 
discussed below, however, we are requiring stations to maintain a 
back-up of the political file for use in the event the Commission's 
database becomes unavailable or disabled.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    30. The industry's arguments regarding the costs involved with 
uploading documents to the online public file focus on the political 
file, which they identify as the most active element of the public 
file. NAB states that two stations have estimated that the time 
involved in completing political ad buys will ``essentially double'' in 
an online environment, at a cost of $80,000 per station. Joint 
Broadcasters estimates that ``creating electronic versions of all 
political time requests'' and uploading such documents will take one 
half hour per record, which would amount to almost 16 hours per week 
per station during the political season, compared to the 2.5 hours a 
week that stations spend under the current paper filing system. We find 
unpersuasive the argument that the time required to assemble the online 
political file will double or quadruple. Instead of photocopying 
documents and placing them in a paper public file, stations will upload 
to the online public file documents already stored in electronic format 
or scan paper documents (a process akin to photocopying) and upload the 
electronic versions. One commenter notes that not all stations own a 
scanner, or a scanner of sufficient quality to make copies of documents 
adequate for uploading to the Commission's online public file. For 
stations that do not wish to make this minor investment, other business 
solutions are available, including creating documents electronically or 
outsourcing the scanning functions. Scanning costs may be higher on a 
per-page basis if outsourced, just as it would be more expensive per 
page to outsource the copying and filing of paper copies. Given that 
stations will be uploading fewer documents into the online public file 
than they currently place in their paper files, we expect that station 
costs going forward will be lower than under the existing requirements. 
Given that the requirement to drag and drop the files into our online 
public file will replace the requirement to photocopy and walk the 
documents to the local file, we expect that fulfilling this requirement 
will not take substantially more time and may take less time to 
accomplish. Broadcasters provide no specific support for their facially 
implausible assertion that creating electronic versions of political 
file requests and uploading them would take a half hour. Moreover, they 
fail to acknowledge that the time involved in uploading documents 
electronically should decrease substantially with time as station 
personnel become more accustomed to this process.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ As discussed further in Section III.C.1 below, stations are 
required to ``keep and permit public inspection of a complete and 
orderly record (political file) of all requests for broadcast time 
made by or on behalf of a candidate for public office, together with 
an appropriate notation showing the disposition made by the licensee 
of such requests, and the charges made, if any, if the request is 
granted.'' 47 CFR 73.1943. We note that political files that 
Commission staff reviewed frequently contained more information than 
is required by our rules. Stations that are concerned about the 
burdensomeness of placing their political file online on a going-
forward basis may wish to review their political file retention 
practices.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. We also disagree with the commenter who projects that the 
proposed online public file, and specifically the political file and 
sponsorship identification requirements, will require each station to 
hire one to three employees at an average cost of $30,000 to $140,000 
per station per year. On the contrary, given that the requirement to 
upload the files will replace rather than add to the existing file 
requirements, we expect that stations will be able to assign these 
responsibilities to existing staff, rather than hire additional staff. 
We fail to see how this requirement could legitimately result in the 
need to hire three additional staff members, even in the heat of an 
election. Moreover, the commenters' estimated figures include the costs 
of complying with the FNPRM's proposed new public file requirement for 
sponsorship identification, which, as we discuss below, we are not 
adopting. Further, to the extent these figures include costs associated 
with the initial upload of the existing political file, they 
overestimate the burden on broadcasters because we do not require the 
existing political file to be uploaded.
    32. We note that because the size of the political file appears to 
roughly correlate with a station's political advertising revenues, 
stations with little or no revenue will have little to no obligations 
under these rules, and stations with larger numbers of pages to upload 
will tend to have similarly large income associated with those pages. 
In addition, although candidate advertising must be sold at the lowest 
unit charge, issue advertisers are not entitled to reduced rates and 
therefore pay market rates for advertising on broadcast stations. When 
balanced against the revenues earned from political advertising--which 
brought broadcasters an estimated $2.29 billion in 2010 and are 
expected to bring in even more in 2012--the costs of complying with the 
online posting requirement seem even less significant. Indeed, 
political files reviewed by Commission staff, from markets across the 
country, generally reflect that stations receive political advertising 
revenues of thousands of dollars per page of political file that must 
be uploaded. We also agree with commenters who note that ad buyers, 
candidates, and the public must today undertake burdens to obtain 
information about the political file, including traveling from station 
to station to obtain political file information. Our collection of the 
Baltimore DMA public files required, in total, dozens of person-hours, 
driving back and forth to stations (first to request the copies and 
then to collect them), and copying costs that were estimated at close 
to $1,700 by the stations themselves. Our action today will 
substantially reduce or eliminate each of those burdens.

C. Application of Online Posting Rule to Specific Public File 
Components

1. Political File
    33. We consider public access to stations' political files 
particularly important. Therefore, we will adopt the proposal in the 
FNPRM that political files be included in the online public file, but 
will exempt all stations not in the top 50 DMAs, and all stations in 
the top 50 DMAs that are not affiliated with the top four national 
television broadcast networks, from posting their political file 
documents online until July 1, 2014. Prior to this exemption expiring--
by July 1, 2013--the Media Bureau will issue a Public Notice seeking 
comment on the impact of moving online the political files for these 
200 stations, to enable us to consider whether any changes should be 
made before the requirement takes effect for the other stations. In 
addition, as discussed above, we will not require any stations to 
upload their existing political file; rather, they will be required to 
upload new political file content on a going-forward basis.

[[Page 27638]]

    34. We believe circumstances have changed to warrant reaching a 
different conclusion about posting the political file online than we 
reached in the 2007 Report and Order. In the 2007 Report and Order, the 
Commission excluded the political file from the requirement that 
stations post their public files on their Web sites. The Commission 
determined that the frequent requests for access by campaigns and the 
need for stations to update the file frequently during an election 
season made an online posting requirement inappropriate. The Commission 
also reasoned that political campaigns generally have greater resources 
than individual viewers and, therefore, access to the in-station 
political file would tend to be less burdensome for campaign 
organizations. Petitioners for reconsideration argued that such a 
decision focused exclusively on the interests of the candidates and 
broadcasters, and not on the public. In addition, as the Commission 
noted in the FNPRM, television stations now handle many political 
advertising transactions electronically, through emails and a variety 
of software applications. As a result, requiring stations to make this 
information publicly available online will impose far less of a burden 
under current circumstances than under previous conditions. We thus 
disagree with arguments that the Commission does not have a sufficient 
basis to reverse the decision of the 2007 Report and Order to exclude 
the political file from the online requirement. Our understanding of 
how stations manage their political transactions and their traffic 
systems, technological advances that have occurred since the 2007 
Report and Order, and our decision to host and centralize the online 
public file support our revised approach. Below, moreover, we respond 
to specific arguments that we should exclude the political file from 
the online public file.
    35. Electronic Processes. Some industry commenters argue that our 
understanding that stations now conduct political advertising 
transactions electronically is incorrect. They argue that for some 
candidates the purchasing process is not electronic, but done through a 
variety of means, including phone, fax, and in person. For political ad 
buys, the process can be multi-staged. They state that negotiations may 
result in many entries into the political file before an agreement to 
provide time is reached. After an agreement is reached, the actual 
times the advertisement is aired can still change if the spot is 
purchased on a preemptible basis. Advertising time sold on a 
preemptible basis means that the advertising spot may be preempted by 
another advertiser and re-scheduled for another time. In addition, NAB 
states that national advertising sales representatives communicate with 
the stations they represent using proprietary software that varies 
among companies and may not include information about classes of time 
or rates in the documents they generate, and therefore do not provide 
sufficient information to fulfill the political file documentation 
requirements. Thus, these parties argue, stations do not collect 
information in a uniform manner, and the Commission cannot assume that 
all of the information that must be in the public file will be included 
on one form. NAB goes on to explain that billing systems commonly used 
by stations generate a separate series of reports for each order. 
During the political season, advertisers generally order time on a 
weekly basis. A typical billing system will generate three documents 
for the political file relating to each order--one report showing the 
original order placed into the station's traffic system, another 
showing the exact times that spots ran, and a third showing the final 
charges paid by candidates for those spots. For each order, these 
reports occupy three to ten printed pages, and for very active 
advertisers, a weekly report may be much longer. Further, commenters 
argue that computerized traffic management systems used to sell and 
schedule television advertising time will not in any way facilitate 
compliance with an online political file requirement, as there are many 
different types of automated systems that collect, track, and process 
information in different ways.
    36. Notwithstanding these arguments, broadcasters' record 
descriptions of how stations actually track advertising purchases and 
manage the scheduling of such transactions confirms our understanding 
that stations are capable of, and often do, include electronic 
processes in their assembly of the political file. While we recognize 
that there are still some portions of the sales process and political 
file assembly that are not fully automated, and that some stations use 
electronic means to a larger extent than others, our review of 
Baltimore political files confirms that many of the records that would 
be required to be in the public file originate as or are reduced to 
electronic files and would thus be relatively easy to upload in a 
universally readable format, such as .pdf. To the extent that a 
required document is not automatically converted to electronic form by 
the sales or invoice and reconciliation process, they can be easily 
scanned and uploaded instead of photocopied and placed in the paper 
file, as is the current practice.
    37. Furthermore, we reject broadcasters' burden arguments that are 
based on the fact that existing electronic traffic management systems 
may not be programmed to allow stations to upload documents directly to 
a database. According to some broadcasters, each traffic management 
software system provider would have to program, test, and finalize an 
export function tailored to the Commission's servers, consuming 
``hundreds of thousands of man hours,'' after which broadcasters would 
have to install this new software on their existing systems, and 
[t]aken together, these steps would stretch into years, and the costs 
would be significant.'' Under the rules we are adopting, broadcasters 
will not need to change the software in their traffic systems to post 
documents to our online public file, though they are free to do so if 
that is the approach they wish to take. Rather, stations will either 
need to save such files to widely available formats such as Microsoft 
Word (.doc) or rich text format (.rtf), or convert the files to 
portable document format (.pdf) , and then drag and drop those files to 
the Commission's online public file. We do not believe that either of 
these alternatives will impose appreciable increased costs on 
broadcasters as compared to current requirements.
    38. Increased Access to Lowest Unit Charge Information. NAB 
expresses concern about the ``unintended but potentially very real 
marketplace distortions and consequences that could occur if market 
sensitive information is readily accessible'' to its competitors. It 
notes that, in addition to broadcasters, cable operators and DBS 
providers must also keep a political file, and requiring only 
broadcasters to place their political file online would ``place 
broadcasters at a disadvantage vis-[agrave]-vis their competitors.'' 
NAB argues that ``[b]roadcasters could see advertising revenues drop if 
competitors attempt to use the data in the file to undercut their 
rates. This disadvantage would directly harm the public,'' NAB 
continues, ``because, if advertising revenue drops due to disparate 
regulation, stations would not be able to expand service offerings, and 
may have to cut back on current offerings.'' Network Station Owners 
also express concern about making ``[t]his proprietary information * * 
* available to commercial as well as political advertisers, to other 
local stations, and to competing advertising

[[Page 27639]]

media such as cable operators, newspapers and web sites.'' It argues 
that because the political file contains ``information on the station's 
lowest rates on particular programs and rotations,'' placing the 
political file online will ``afford a significant intelligence 
advantage to one side in private commercial negotiations. Armed with 
political file information, the shrewd time buyer's ability to drive 
the hardest possible bargain would be greatly enhanced by data allowing 
him to estimate the station's bottom line. One poker player would, in 
effect, have had at least a partial glance at the other's hand.'' \5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ One party also claims that online disclosure of a station's 
political file will result in an uncompensated government taking in 
violation of the Fifth Amendment. We disagree. Target Enterprises is 
a media buyer that claims to have ``buil[t] a proprietary computer 
statistical model and database'' to enable ``its clients to achieve 
the most effective media purchases during an election cycle.'' 
Target claims that an uncompensated taking will result if the 
details of political ad spending become available online in real-
time because Target's ``protected business model and proprietary 
approach'' will be disclosed to the public and its competitors and 
thus ``cause the value of the company to be lost.'' We reject 
Target's takings claim on several grounds. The regulation at issue 
does not result in a ``physical taking'' because it does not deprive 
Target of any property right, much less result in a direct 
appropriation or physical invasion of private property; rather, it 
requires television broadcast stations to post online information 
that they already make publicly available at their stations. Indeed, 
television broadcast stations--not media buyers such as Target--are 
subject to the online requirement, and thus no direct appropriation 
or physical taking of Target's property can be shown. See Loretto v. 
Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419 (1982) (to establish 
a physical taking requiring just compensation, a party must show a 
direct government appropriation or physical invasion of private 
property). We note that no broadcast station has raised a takings 
argument. Similarly, Target has failed to establish the factors 
required for demonstrating a regulatory taking. See Penn Central 
Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978) 
(identifying several factors for determining what constitutes a 
``regulatory taking,'' including the economic impact of the 
regulation, the extent to which the regulation has interfered with 
distinct investment-backed expectations, and the character of the 
government action). Nothing in the Commission's regulations 
restricts Target's ability to use or keep confidential its computer 
models, database, or any other alleged ``trade secrets.'' Moreover, 
Target's claim involves the general health of its business rather 
than specific property or estimates as to the property's likely 
diminution of value. As the Supreme Court has explained, unilateral 
expectations and abstract needs are not sufficient to raise takings 
concerns. Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., 467 U.S. 986, 1005-1006 
(1984). Further, the broadcasters subject to the online posting 
requirement operate in an industry that has long been regulated and 
thus this regulatory context undercuts the reasonableness of 
Target's purported expectations. Concrete Pipe and Products of 
California, Inc. v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern 
California, 508 U.S. 602, 645-646 (1993) (noting, in rejecting the 
claim of interference with reasonable investment backed 
expectations, that ``those who do business in the regulated field 
cannot object if the legislative scheme is buttressed by subsequent 
amendments to achieve the legislative end'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    39. We find that placing this already-public information online 
will not cause significant market distortions. Furthermore, the 
benefits of placing the political file online are substantial, and we 
will not exclude it on the basis of unsubstantiated burden arguments. 
Broadcasters have failed to provide any evidence to support their 
claims of commercial harm. We note that several parties raised the 
claim of ``commercial harm'' in the final weeks prior to adoption of 
this item, but the filings contain little more than generalized and 
vague assertions. Most important, we are not requiring broadcasters to 
make any information publicly available that stations are not already 
required to make public. Broadcasters have been required to make 
political file information including rates charged for political 
advertising, available in some form since 1938, and anyone, including 
broadcasters' competitors and customers can currently access these data 
in the paper files. In addition, since 2002, Section 315(e) of the Act 
has specifically required that the political file include ``the rate 
charged for the broadcast time.'' Moreover, the public files of 
broadcasters' competitors have been available in paper form to 
television broadcasters and the public for years. Given the mutual, 
long-standing public availability of such documentation and the likely 
knowledge of this availability among major commercial and political 
buyers, we do not believe that the increased ease of access to 
broadcasters' public files will lead to significant distortions in the 
marketplace. Although we do not know the exact percentage of 
advertisers and competitors that seek review of information in 
stations' political files, we are aware they do so on a regular basis, 
as Commission staff frequently receives calls from stations asking 
whether or not they must provide such entities access to the political 
file. As staff has previously instructed in these situations, all 
members of the public--including advertisers and competitors--are 
entitled to access a stations' political files. To the extent it is 
economically beneficial for competitors, potential advertisers, or 
buyers who seek to represent advertisers, to access this data, they 
already have the ability to review the material at the stations. Buyers 
do, in fact, review the political file. We recognize that, because of 
their economic incentive, competitors and potential advertisers may be 
more likely to undertake the expense of visiting stations to review the 
current political files. We expect that having the files accessible 
online will encourage other members of the public to make use of the 
political files. Commenters have failed to show that an online posting 
requirement would alter in any meaningful way the economic incentive of 
these entities. Moreover, even if it had not been publicly available 
for decades, online posting of lowest unit charge information would not 
necessarily lead to marketplace distortions. While the political file 
lists the lowest unit charge that a candidate receives, it does not 
reveal significant information about the commercial transaction that 
established that lowest unit charge. Various factors unknown to another 
commercial buyer--including that the advertiser establishing the lowest 
unit charge bought a higher volume of ads, committed to a long-term 
advertising relationship, or other variables--can justify denying the 
lowest unit charge rate to a different commercial buyer under different 
circumstances. In addition, the fact that there are many variables 
(lengths, classes of time, and time periods) for any given lowest unit 
charge makes it harder for any potential purchaser to find a lowest 
unit charge that is comparable to the ad purchase it is seeking to 
make. These variables also make it difficult to compare the lowest unit 
charges of competing stations, as the stations may not sell the same 
classes of time. In the end, stations are in control of setting lowest 
unit rates, and have final determination of how low they are willing to 
set their commercial rates. Further, given that the statute expressly 
requires such information to be placed in the public file, exempting 
such rate information would be contrary to the statutory directive to 
make the political file publicly available.
    40. Effect on How Stations Sell Time. NAB argues that online filing 
would necessitate changes in how stations sell political advertising 
time, because ``the variances in the ways in which stations manage 
political advertising sales and the political file'' would not be 
compatible with a ``standardization of stations' political file 
processes.'' These arguments seem to be based on a misunderstanding of 
our proposal in the FNPRM. As the Commission emphasized in the FNPRM, 
the online political file is meant to serve as a source of information 
to candidates, buyers, viewers, and others, but the actual purchase of 
advertising time and the receipt of equal time requests will continue 
to be handled by the station. We reiterate that we are merely

[[Page 27640]]

changing the form of disclosure to the public of information already 
required to be in the public file. We are making no change in the 
political advertising sales process. Rather, we expect stations to 
continue handling political ad sales in whatever way is most convenient 
to them.
    41. Substantive Political File Requirements. We likewise are not 
persuaded by arguments that the rules regarding what material must be 
included in the political file are vague and that, therefore, the 
Commission should not adopt an online posting requirement. As discussed 
above, this proceeding simply modernizes the procedures television 
broadcasters use to inform the public about information they are 
already required to disclose. If any licensee is unsure about any 
aspect of our political file requirements, it may request clarification 
of our existing substantive disclosure rules. To respond to specific 
questions raised in this record, however, we offer the following 
guidance. The political file rule requires that licensees ``keep and 
permit public inspection of a complete and orderly record (political 
file) of all requests for broadcast time made by or on behalf of a 
candidate for public office, together with an appropriate notation 
showing the disposition made by the licensee of such requests, and the 
charges made, if any, if the request is granted.'' The same 
information, among other things, must be included with respect to issue 
advertising containing a message relating to a ``political matter of 
national importance.'' These issue ads will also need to be included in 
the online political file, just as they currently need to be included 
in the local political file. One commenter argues that it is unclear 
what ``requests'' includes. Although we do not think that term is 
unclear, we clarify that licensees are required to place in their 
political files any final orders by candidates for specific schedules 
of time or availabilities within a specific schedule of time--in other 
words, orders to buy particular schedules (including programs or 
dayparts), amounts of time (including spot or program lengths), and 
classes of time for particular days (such as preemptible spots, Monday-
Friday rotations, runs of schedule or specific placements). We note 
that ``any final orders'' mean orders that station representatives 
reasonably believe to be a final, agreed-upon order. If the final order 
is later amended after being included in the on-line political file, a 
station can replace the previously final order with the amended final 
order, or may simply upload the amended final order. Licensees are not 
required to place in their political files general requests by 
candidates for advertising time stations have available to purchase, or 
rates for a general array of time.
    42. In response to concerns that the term ``disposition'' is 
unclear, we note our rules define it as ``the schedule of time 
purchased, when spots actually aired, the rates charged, and the 
classes of time purchased.'' We clarify that the ``disposition'' of the 
request does not include a record of the negotiations or back-and-forth 
discussions between the licensee and the candidate after the request is 
made. It does include the final, mutually agreed upon order of time, 
including: classes of time purchased; charges made; as well as any 
subsequent, relevant reconciliation information about the order, 
including the times spots actually aired and details such as any ``make 
goods'' provided for preempted time, and rebates or credits issued.
    43. Existing Political File. Commenters argue that if we require 
stations to upload the existing political file, it will be unduly 
burdensome. Some broadcasters provide projected costs and burdens of 
placing the political file online. NAB estimates that just uploading 
the existing political files could take hundreds of hours per station. 
NAB supported its assertions about the burdens of uploading the 
existing political file by providing the estimated size of the 
political file in inches for six stations in six different television 
markets, ranging in size from 3,150 pages to 8,100 pages. For example, 
NAB noted that a political file in Burlington, Vermont measured 19.5 
inches, which they estimated as equaling 4,388 pages. Free Press argues 
that such estimates are exaggerated. Free Press states that it visited 
all of the television stations in Burlington, Vermont, and was unable 
to find any political file that was as large as the files discussed by 
NAB. Further, their review found that each political file reviewed 
contained documents beyond the required two year retention period, 
illustrating the possibility that ``broadcasters may be mistakenly (and 
vastly) inflating the size of the political files they actually are 
required to maintain.'' NAB bases its projections on the largest 
political file it reported. While we believe that this burden 
projection is overstated, we recognize that the existing political file 
may contain the greatest number of pages for broadcasters to upload as 
they transition to an online public file. Our review of the public 
files in the Baltimore DMA indicates that the commercial stations' 
political files were made up, on average, of 1568 pages, and accounted 
for, on average, 30% of the stations' public files. This excludes 
letters and emails from the public, which will be retained in the local 
file. One station's political file was made up of 4079 pages, or almost 
70% of its public file.
    44. Departing from the proposal in the FNPRM, we do not require 
stations to post the contents of their existing political files to the 
Commission's online public file. Given the two-year retention period 
for the political file, broadcasters' investment in uploading existing 
political files would have a limited return for the public. Likewise, 
exempting the existing political file will only require broadcasters to 
continue to maintain a robust local file for a relatively short period. 
Because of the two-year retention period for the public file and the 
relatively large size of existing files, we conclude that exempting the 
existing political file from online posting is a reasonable means of 
reducing the initial burden of moving public files online.
    45. Small Market and Non-Affiliate Exemption. Finally, we adopt in 
part a broadcaster request that we delay online posting of the 
political file for smaller stations. These commenters argue that we 
should allow all broadcasters to gain experience working with the 
online public file system before requiring that they maintain their 
political file online. As noted above, this proceeding is over a decade 
old, and we believe it is time to bring the accessibility of the entire 
public file into the 21st century in as expeditious a manner as is 
possible.
    46. We are persuaded, however, that it is appropriate to allow 
certain stations additional time to begin uploading the political file. 
As discussed further below, because the contents of the political file 
are time-sensitive, stations must place records in the political file 
``immediately absent unusual circumstances.'' We believe it is 
appropriate to require stations with a greater market reach to 
undertake this time-sensitive transition first, as they will be more 
likely to have dedicated resources to address any implementation issues 
that arise, if necessary. Therefore, we will temporarily exempt 
stations that are not affiliated with the top four national television 
broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) in the top 50 DMAs and all 
stations that serve markets below the top 50 DMAs, regardless of 
affiliation, from including their political file in their online public 
file for two years. We note that this exemption is permissive, not 
mandatory. If any station that falls within this exemption prefers 
instead to immediately

[[Page 27641]]

transition to the online political file, it is permitted to do so. This 
exemption will ease implementation for broadcasters during the initial 
transition to the online public file, while also giving the Commission 
time to ensure that the online public file system is implemented 
effectively.
    47. We believe that exempting stations that are not affiliated with 
the top four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) in the top 50 DMAs, and 
those stations in markets below the top 50 DMAs, creates an exemption 
threshold that is clear, easy to establish and implement, and not often 
subject to significant change. Other options for identifying the class 
of stations to exempt do not provide the certainty that this clear 
definition provides. For example, an exemption for the top four ranked 
stations in each market would create a threshold that is often subject 
to change, would be difficult to measure and administer, and would 
provide uncertainty to broadcasters, as they are not as able to predict 
or control ratings. The Commission has used a DMA and affiliation-based 
standard in other contexts, and we believe it is appropriate to use in 
this instance.
    48. Moreover, while this exemption will ease the initial 
implementation for broadcasters, it will nonetheless provide the public 
with online access to the political files of stations garnering the 
vast majority of political advertising time and money. Stations 
affiliated with the top four broadcast networks often provide the 
highest-rated programming, and therefore the most-watched advertising, 
including a large proportion of political advertising. Based on numbers 
provided by Kantar Media, we find that these 11 percent of stations, 
which reach 65 percent of Americans, account for roughly 60 percent of 
the total television political advertising dollars spent in each major 
election cycle. Affiliated stations are also more likely to have 
dedicated IT resources to resolve issues that may arise with 
implementation of the online political file in the expeditious manner 
that will be necessary for the political file. Stations that will be 
exempt initially from the rule generally have smaller political files 
than the affiliates in the top 50 DMAs, and therefore the public will 
not be deprived of online access to substantial amounts of political 
file information during the limited exemption period. In our review of 
the political files of the Baltimore DMA, the political files of the 
stations that will be exempt averaged 247 pages, which is substantially 
smaller than the political files for the stations affiliated with the 
top four networks, which averaged 2104 pages. In addition, we believe 
that the approximately two years of experience that stations will gain 
by transitioning the rest of the online public file will help to ensure 
that they are prepared to upload the political file. We also believe 
that delayed implementation for stations with a smaller market reach 
will ensure that the Commission is able to target assistance to these 
stations, if necessary. Commission staff will gain experience with the 
process of assisting the smaller first wave of broadcasters 
transitioning to the online political file. This will enable staff to 
more efficiently assist the larger number of stations that will 
transition later, who may need enhanced support because of their more 
limited IT resources.
    49. As part of our efforts to evaluate the effect of this 
transition, the Media Bureau will issue a Public Notice by July 1, 2013 
seeking comment on the impact of these rules. This Public Notice will 
give commenters--including the initial group of stations to use the 
online political file, stations that have yet to transition, and 
members of the public that review the online political file--an 
opportunity to provide the Commission with information regarding the 
impact and utility of the online political file. The Public Notice will 
enable the Commission to consider whether any changes should be made 
before the requirement takes effect for the other stations.
    50. As discussed above, we do not believe online posting of the 
public file, including prospective posting of the political file, will 
impose an unreasonable burden on any television broadcaster. 
Nevertheless, if licensees not covered by the two-year exemption 
believe filing new political file materials online will impose an undue 
hardship, they may seek a waiver of this requirement. Stations seeking 
waivers should provide the Commission with information documenting the 
economic hardship the station would incur in complying with this 
requirement, its technical inability to do so or such other reasons as 
would warrant waiver under our general waiver standards.
    51. Authority. No commenter challenged the Commission's authority 
to require online posting of the public file generally, but NAB 
suggests that the Commission lacks authority to require the placement 
of station political files online, and that we therefore must carve out 
the political file from the rest of the public file. In supplemental 
comments, NAB argues that in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 
(``BCRA''), Congress expressly required that the IRS and FEC make 
certain election-related records available online, but did not do so 
for the items required to be placed in broadcasters' political files. 
They assert that ``the clear implication is that Congress did not 
intend for broadcasters to be subject to an obligation to place their 
political files online and thus, the FCC lacks authority to impose such 
a requirement absent further legislative action.'' NAB further argues 
that ``[w]here Congress includes particular language in one section of 
a statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it is 
generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in 
the disparate inclusion or exclusion.''
    52. We find NAB's argument unpersuasive. NAB overlooks relevant 
facts relating to the adoption of BCRA. First, in adopting the 
political file retention requirements of Section 315(e) of the 
Communications Act as part of BCRA, Congress explicitly required that 
``a licensee shall maintain, and make available for public inspection, 
a complete record of a request to purchase broadcast time'' and that 
``[t]he information required under this subsection shall be placed in a 
political file as soon as possible and shall be retained by the 
licensee for a period of not less than 2 years.'' In doing this, 
Congress essentially codified the existing political file regulations 
as reflected in Section 73.1943 of our rules at the time, and placed no 
new restriction on the Commission's discretion to implement the public-
access policy. That is particularly significant because, at the time of 
BCRA's passage, the Commission had tentatively concluded in this very 
proceeding that stations should place their public inspection files--
including their political files--online. Congress was presumably aware 
that moving the political file online was actively being considered by 
the Commission, and expressed no intent to prevent such updating of the 
rules. Congress instead placed no restriction in BCRA on how the 
Commission may direct stations to make the political file ``available 
for public inspection.'' Because the statute is silent on the question 
of how stations should make the political file ``available for public 
inspection,'' the Commission, as the expert agency required to 
implement the Communications Act's provisions, has discretion in 
determining how to do so, provided that the Commission's decision ``is 
based on a permissible construction of the statute.'' Given this 
context, we do not believe that ``available for public inspection'' 
equates to ``available only in paper format and not online,'' as NAB 
asserts. We instead believe that this

[[Page 27642]]

requirement of availability for public inspection allows us to require 
that such records be made available for public inspection online, 
particularly given the ubiquity and general expectation of electronic 
access to records today.
    53. NAB also argues that ``[i]t is apparent that Congress intended 
the FEC to be the central repository of campaign information.'' From 
this, they argue that requiring the political file to be placed online 
would constitute ``duplicative disclosure.'' This argument overlooks 
the explicit requirement in Section 315(e) that stations ``maintain, 
and make available for public inspection, a complete record of a 
request to purchase broadcast time.'' NAB seems to be arguing that the 
statute, rather than our proposed regulation, is unnecessary and 
duplicative. The Commission ``must give effect to the unambiguously 
expressed intent of Congress.'' Here, that unambiguous intent is that 
the Commission require stations to make the contents of the political 
file, as outlined in the statute, ``available for public inspection.'' 
Both the existing requirement, and the proposed online update, give 
effect to the expressed Congressional intent. We note as well that 
NAB's arguments regarding the Commission's authority are 
contradictory--in the first argument, NAB wants to read BCRA's lack of 
language concerning an online file strictly, and in the second, it 
wants to ignore the political file statutory provision entirely. We 
conclude that neither reading is correct. NAB also quotes the FCC's 
comments in an FEC proceeding in 2002, which stated that the FCC's 
creation of an online database to comply with BCRA ``could be 
extraordinarily complex and will require the expenditure of substantial 
resources in terms of time, money and personnel.'' NAB goes on to say 
that ``[t]he online posting burdens that the FEC proposed to impose on 
the FCC ten years ago and that caused the FCC to express concern are 
different from those the agency proposes to impose on television 
stations today. But the issues here about the burdens that would be 
imposed on stations by the FCC's online file proposals ``in terms of 
time, money and personnel'' are similarly entitled to respect and 
weight.'' As discussed in detail in the text, we have afforded 
considerable respect and weight to broadcasters' assertions about the 
burdens involved with posting their public files online, and have 
adopted a number of measures intended to reduce those burdens without 
sacrificing the goals of this proceeding.
    54. Furthermore, the information filed with the FCC and the FEC is 
substantially distinct and intended for different purposes. The FEC was 
established by Congress to regulate federal elections, and FEC 
reporting requirements are limited to federal elections. The FCC's 
political file, by comparison, requires disclosure of information 
regarding all elective offices, including federal, state and local. The 
FCC's broadcast political file must be made ``available for public 
inspection'' in part to notify candidates of information pertaining to 
transactions by an opponent. This notification is necessary in order to 
assess candidates' equal opportunities rights under Section 315 
corresponding to an opponent's purchases of ad time. The FEC does not 
collect any of the specific data that would be useful to candidates in 
connection with their equal opportunities rights, all of which appear 
in the political file, including: ``(A) Whether the request to purchase 
broadcast time is accepted or rejected by the licensee; (B) the rate 
charged for the broadcast time; (C) the date and time on which the 
communication is aired; (D) the class of time that is purchased.'' 
Instead, the spending data collected by the FEC requires candidates to 
disclose the aggregate amount expended during the period of time 
covered by the disclosure to a particular payee, the mailing address of 
the payee, the purpose of the transaction(s), the candidate's name and 
federal office sought, and the date of disbursement. Typically, 
candidates make their television advertising purchases through media 
buyers. Thus, under the FEC's aggregate disclosure requirements, a 
candidate would only need to disclose the funds provided to a media 
buyer without disclosing how the media buyer allocated such funding--
whether it goes to television, radio or print media, let alone how much 
was paid to each television station. There is no requirement to 
identify the specific components of the ad-sales transactions that 
broadcasters include in their political files, making the FEC 
disclosures nearly useless for a candidate seeking equal opportunities 
or learning what rates their opponents paid or the schedule of time 
purchased, and useless to members of the public who are seeking 
information about the purchasers of specific advertisements being 
carried on their local television station.
    55. Immediacy. Consistent with our current political file rules, we 
adopt the FNPRM's tentative conclusion that stations must upload 
records to their online political file ``immediately absent unusual 
circumstances.'' Whether maintained at the station or online, the 
contents of the political file are time-sensitive. For example, a 
candidate has only seven days from the date of his or her opponent's 
appearance to request equal opportunities for an appearance.
    56. We do not believe that complying with the longstanding 
immediacy requirement will be any more difficult when uploading to an 
online public file than when placing paper in a local file; in fact, 
using the online public file should often be quicker and more 
efficient. Some commenters claim that uploading the political file to 
the online public file immediately absent unusual circumstances is 
either extremely burdensome or technically impossible, with no public 
benefit. These commenters state that political advertising buys are 
fluid and often made at the last minute. They also point out that the 
final documentation indicating when spots are aired and how much is 
charged for them is typically generated only on a monthly basis. They 
note that for this reason, the Commission has advised that rather than 
having to generate special documents, stations should provide the name 
of a contact person who can provide parties reviewing the political 
file with the times specific spots aired. NAB argues that if stations 
were required to update the online political file to reflect the times 
that spots aired on a daily basis, that could entail filing more than 
100 pages per day of traffic reports in addition to the materials 
already required to be in the political file. Other commenters argue 
that moving the political file online will not lessen disruptions to 
station operations, because the delayed final disposition information 
about when a spot was aired is information that candidates are 
interested in obtaining from the station, and stations will still need 
to field daily in-person inquiries from buyers seeking this 
information.
    57. These arguments generally suggest that online filing would 
involve a change to existing substantive requirements for assembling 
the public file. Under our existing rules, however, the political file 
must include all requests for broadcast time made by candidates, the 
final disposition of that request, and the charges made. The FNPRM did 
not propose to change these record-keeping requirements, and we do not 
do so.\6\ We understand that stations

[[Page 27643]]

generally place initial requests and the final order agreed to between 
the candidate and the station into the political file immediately, 
consistent with our rules. We also understand that stations do not 
routinely place documentation relating to reconciliation information--
including the times spots actually aired and details such as any make 
goods for preempted time, rebates, or credits issued--in the political 
file on a daily basis. Stations instead make station personnel 
available to answer questions about final reconciliation in person, by 
email, or over the phone, and place written documentation about the 
final disposition in the file at a later date consistent with business 
practices--usually when final billing is compiled for the purchaser on 
a monthly basis. This practice is permitted. As the Commission stated 
in the Political Rules Reconsideration decision, ``stations need not be 
required to employ extraordinary efforts to place immediately in the 
political file the exact time that candidate spots aired * * *. [I]t 
will be sufficient to provide information concerning the spots and 
program times that were ordered by the candidate, with a notation that 
the station will, upon request, provide immediate assistance and access 
to the station logs or other definitive information concerning actual 
air time.'' We are not changing this precedent or practice. We are 
merely requiring that the materials that stations currently copy and 
place in their local files on a daily basis now be uploaded to the 
online public file on a daily basis, and that other information be 
uploaded consistent with existing business practices as previously 
approved under Commission precedent. In addition to making this 
information available online, stations are free to continue making this 
information available over the phone to candidates and their 
representatives, if that is their preferred business practice, and as 
long as that courtesy is extended to all candidates and their 
representatives. Modernizing public inspection procedures for material 
in the public file will not increase stations' costs of communicating 
information that is not yet in the public file.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ We are not persuaded by alternative proposals, one by News 
Corporation and another by a coalition of broadcast station groups, 
to adopt additional record-keeping requirements for stations with 
respect to the political file. The proposal initially advanced by 
the coalition of broadcast station groups was that we not require 
stations to make their entire political files available online, but 
rather require online posting--on either the Commission's or the 
station's Web site, at the station's election--certain aggregate 
data concerning candidate purchases of advertising time, with weekly 
or monthly updates. An expanded coalition later advanced a revised 
proposal that would require stations to upload certain aggregate 
data concerning candidate purchases of advertising time, with 
updates daily, every second day, or weekly. News Corporation, on the 
other hand, submitted a proposal that would provide stations with 
the option of either placing their political files online or putting 
summary information (but not individual rates) in the online public 
file, while requiring stations to continue to maintain a paper file 
at the station that includes the rate information. While we 
appreciate the efforts of these parties to develop alternatives, we 
believe that these options will deprive the public of the benefits 
of immediate online access to all the information in the political 
file. These suggested approaches would impose a new substantive 
public file reporting obligation on stations, which would be 
contrary to our goal of limiting the burdens on broadcasters. 
Furthermore, our political file disclosure requirements take into 
account a candidate's equal access opportunities afforded under the 
statute. Under our rules, these rights exist for only 7 days; 
therefore, to be of value in this regard stations must post 
political file information immediately. The proposals requiring 
stations to post information every other day during the equal 
opportunity period (or even every day in the week before an 
election), would have limited value to candidates seeking to 
exercise their equal opportunities rights.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    58. Finally, some commenters argue that the existing political file 
system works adequately for stations and candidates, and that it is 
unreasonable to make the political file available immediately online 
for the benefit of researchers and other members of the public.\7\ 
Network Station Owners assert that the interests of researchers, 
scholars and citizens in having access to information about political 
spending ``is not immediate and can be satisfied by visiting the 
station either during or after the election campaign.'' These 
commenters seem to be arguing that the needs of stations and candidates 
are singularly important, and that if these constituencies are not 
seeking changes to how the political file is maintained, then no 
changes are warranted. We disagree. First, as LUC Media points out, 
candidates will benefit from real-time posting of the political file. 
Supporting that view, the record indicates that the online political 
file will be used by candidates, their representatives, and the general 
public. Second, as discussed above, the statute does not prioritize any 
potential users of the political file; it broadly mandates that the 
materials be made ``available for public inspection * * * as soon as 
possible,'' which the Commission has long interpreted to mean available 
to all members of the public ``immediately absent unusual 
circumstances.'' The Named State Broadcasters Association expresses 
concern that ``public advocacy groups and the Commission will play 
`stop watch' roulette if the political files were to go online.'' They 
state that the base fine for political file rule violations is $9,000 
and that ``the FCC will have a strong incentive to find at least 
technical shortcomings in every television station's efforts to comply 
with the mechanics of a new online political file requirement,'' 
potentially exposing them to large fines ``notwithstanding the good 
faith efforts of staff-constrained broadcasters.'' We reject this 
reasoning. First, if such an enforcement incentive exists, it would 
exist now with the existing public file rule. Second, as discussed 
throughout this proceeding, our aim in making the public file available 
online is to make it more accessible to the public. Commenters' 
unsupported speculation about possible arbitrary enforcement provides 
no basis for maintaining the obsolete paper filing system. Moreover, we 
reject the Named State Broadcasters Association's argument that the 
base fine for public and political file violations'' should be lowered, 
an issue that is beyond the scope of this proceeding.
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    \7\ Joint TV Broadcasters argued that ``even PIPAC, the entity 
urging the FCC to require stations to post their political files 
online has recognized that the political file can change daily 
during the election season and has suggested that the online posting 
requirement `could include provisions for a reasonable delay in 
posting updated information.' '' They contend this supports their 
conclusion that it would be difficult for stations to upload this 
information ``in real time.'' The commenter fails to note that with 
respect to burdens, PIPAC actually stated its belief that ``placing 
this information online will reduce the burden on broadcasters that 
often receive multiple daily in-person requests to access this 
information during an election season.'' In their comments, PIPAC 
``strongly supports'' the public file proposal discussed in the 
FNPRM.
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    59. Orderliness. The Commission will design the online public file 
with an organizational structure that will ensure that the contents of 
the file, including the political file components, are orderly and 
easily uploaded and downloaded. The Commission's rules require 
licensees to keep ``a complete and orderly'' political file. The 
Commission stated in the FNPRM that it expected licensees to upload any 
political file information to the online file in an organized manner so 
that the political file does not become difficult to navigate due to 
the sheer number of filings. For an online political file to be useful, 
the Commission acknowledged, candidates and members of the public must 
be able easily to find information that they seek. The Commission asked 
whether it should create federal, state, and local subfolders for each 
station's political file, and whether it should allow stations to 
create additional subfolders within the political file.
    60. NAB recognizes that there are efficiencies in the Commission 
creating some organizational categories for stations to use, and argues 
that ``to the extent that the Commission can do this in a timely and 
accurate manner, for both the general and primary elections for every 
race in the country where

[[Page 27644]]

candidates and issue advertisers may purchase advertising on a local TV 
station, NAB agrees that it would be desirable.'' We agree with NAB 
that it would be desirable and less burdensome on broadcasters for the 
Commission to create specific organizational subfolders, not only for 
candidate ad buys, but also for issue ads that relate to a political 
matter of national importance.
    61. NAB also argues that the Commission should continue its policy 
of allowing broadcasters to manage their political file in a manner 
consistent with their particular operational and sales procedures. It 
expressed concern that if the Commission creates a rigid standardized 
organizational structure, they will have to redesign their traffic 
management systems, which would expand the burdens on broadcasters by 
interfering with systems that stations use and that are tailored to 
their own circumstances. NAB argues that the Commission should provide 
broadcasters with the flexibility to create their own subfolders and 
``subcategories'' in order to further organize the data, and recommends 
that the Commission consider employing the services of a third-party 
Web-based file hosting service such as Dropbox. To facilitate 
broadcasters' use of the online file, we will create and propagate 
subfolders for candidates and will provide stations with the ability to 
create additional subfolders and subcategories in compliance with their 
own practices. We also agree with NAB that the use of hosting services 
providing a mechanism to allow stations to drag and drop files and 
folders to the online public file will allow for greater efficiencies. 
We delegate to staff the authority to incorporate such efficiencies, 
and to cooperate with industry as it develops specifications to enable 
such efficiencies and to incorporate them in the online system, to the 
extent the staff concludes that such approaches are workable and 
effective. We also delegate to staff the authority to design, add to, 
or adjust the features of the online public file, as needed, to 
increase its ease of use.
2. Letters From the Public
    62. Responding to commenters, we exempt letters and emails from the 
public from the online public file, instead requiring that such 
material be maintained at the station in a correspondence file. In the 
FNPRM, the Commission proposed that letters and emails from the public, 
which now are required to be included in the local file, should not be 
incorporated in the online public file, but instead continue to be 
retained at the station for public viewing in a paper file or an 
electronic database at the station's main studio. The Commission 
tentatively agreed with reconsideration petitioners that privacy and 
burden concerns were significant enough to merit excluding these 
documents from the online public file, and sought comment on its 
findings.\8\ Alternatively, the Commission asked whether it should 
allow or require stations to redact personally identifiable information 
before posting letters and emails online. Some commenters, broadcasters 
and public interest advocates agree that letters and emails from the 
public should not be placed online due to privacy concerns and the 
burdens of review and redaction that such concerns would necessitate. 
Some broadcasters believe that stations should maintain a 
correspondence file available locally at the station, while others 
think we should eliminate the requirement entirely. Common Frequency 
argues that privacy concerns are exaggerated, since it is common for 
members of the public to comment on publicly available Web sites.
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    \8\ The Commission also sought comment about whether other 
public file information raises similar privacy concerns. We received 
very little input on this issue, and will not make any other 
privacy-based exemptions to the online public file. Our Privacy 
Threshold Analysis (``PTA'') of the online files indicates that the 
files to be posted may contain personally identifiable information 
(``PII''). Consequently, the Commission will be preparing a Privacy 
Impact Analysis (``PIA'') and a Privacy Act system of records notice 
(``SORN'') to govern the handling of PII in the station files.
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    63. We are concerned that requiring correspondence to be placed in 
the online public file may result in violations of the Children's 
Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits posting 
children's personally identifiable information online. Commenters agree 
with our privacy concerns. Our review of the public files in the 
Baltimore DMA indicates that letters and emails from the public can 
account for up to one third of a station's public file. Thus, requiring 
stations to review these documents for compliance with COPPA before 
uploading them to the online public file could pose a burden, which our 
decision avoids. Therefore, we will not require stations to post this 
information in the online public file.
    64. At the same time, we do not believe that the requirement to 
retain correspondence from the public should be eliminated entirely. 
Letters and emails are required to be made available to the public 
under our rules, and this proceeding is about updating the 
accessibility of the public file, not about changing its underlying 
requirements. We will require stations to maintain in a paper file, or 
electronically on a computer located at the main studio, a publicly 
available correspondence file at the station. As currently required, 
this file will include all letters and emails from the public regarding 
operation of the station unless the letter writer has requested that 
the letter not be made public or the licensee feels that it should be 
excluded due to the nature of its content, such as a defamatory or 
obscene letter. We also note that NCE commenters have requested that we 
clarify that noncommercial educational stations are not required to 
retain letters and emails in their public inspection files. This 
request for clarification stems from an inadvertent error in the draft 
rules published in the FNPRM. We confirm that NCE stations are not 
required to retain letters and emails from the public, and note that 
the rule changes reflect this. We emphasize that we are not imposing a 
new requirement here, but merely retaining the existing requirement for 
retaining correspondence consistent with our rules.
    65. The FNPRM also sought comment on a proposal by PIPAC to require 
stations to report quarterly on how many letters they have received 
from the public. PIPAC was the only supporter of this proposal. Another 
commenter noted that such reporting would be burdensome for 
broadcasters, some of whom receive thousands of pieces of viewer 
correspondence in a year. We are not persuaded that a mere count of 
letters received would be of substantial value to the public or the 
Commission. We thus conclude based on the current record that the 
burdens of tabulating and reporting on such correspondence cannot be 
justified, and we do not require it.
    66. The Commission also sought comment on whether stations should 
have to retain comments left by the public on social media Web sites, 
like Facebook, and tentatively concluded that such information should 
not be required to be maintained in the correspondence file. Those who 
addressed this issue agree with our tentative conclusion that, because 
social media posts are already accessible to the public, the burden of 
requiring stations to place such material in a correspondence file 
would outweigh any benefit. We adopt this assessment, and will not 
require stations to retain social media messages in their 
correspondence file.
    67. Common Frequency suggests that email comments to the station 
can be standardized for all stations through a comment form on the 
Commission-

[[Page 27645]]

hosted public file Web site, and all commenters could be directed to 
this form. We decline to adopt this requirement. We do not believe that 
the Commission is the proper forum to shape the dialogue between a 
local station and its viewers. Rather, we seek to encourage direct 
communication between the station and its viewers. As discussed below, 
the online public file will contain contact information for each 
station. We encourage members of the public to relay their concerns 
directly to the station.
3. Other Components of the Online Public File
    68. Contour maps. We adopt the tentative conclusion that the 
contour maps available on the Commission's Web site are sufficient for 
the online public file. Our rules require that the public file contain 
``[a] copy of any service contour maps submitted with any application 
tendered for filing with the FCC, together with any other information 
in the application showing service contours and/or main studio and 
transmitter location.'' In the FNPRM, the Commission noted that maps 
showing stations' service contours are available on the Commission's 
Web site, and are derived from information provided by stations in 
CDBS. The Commission tentatively concluded that these contour maps 
available on the Commission's Web site are sufficient for the online 
public file as they provide the necessary information regarding a 
station's service contours. Only one commenter discussed this issue, 
agreeing with the Commission that these contour maps are sufficient. We 
ask that stations review these maps and contact the Media Bureau if 
they believe they contain any inaccuracies.
    69. Main Studio Information. We will adopt the proposal in the 
FNPRM that we require stations to include in the online public file the 
station's main studio address and telephone number, and the email 
address of the station's designated contact for questions about the 
public file. Given that the correspondence file will still be publicly 
available at the station, along with the existing political file (until 
its retention period expires in two years), and because we seek to 
encourage an open dialogue between broadcasters and the viewing public, 
we believe this information is necessary to assist the public. Stations 
with a main studio located outside of their community of license should 
list the location of the correspondence file and existing political 
file, and the required local or toll free number. Joint TV Broadcasters 
argues that if access to the public file is to be facilitated by means 
of online posting, the justification for government regulation of a 
station's main studio location, at a minimum, erodes substantially. We 
disagree with this assertion, which is in any event beyond the scope of 
this proceeding. The Commission has previously stated that a main 
studio is necessary to maintain reasonable accessibility of station 
facilities, personnel, and information to members of the station's 
community of license, which enables the residents of the community to 
monitor a station's performance, encourages a continuing dialogue 
between the station and its community, and integrates a station into 
the activities of the community in order to be more responsive to local 
community needs in its programming. Although as a result of our action 
today most required information about the station will be available 
online, the other benefits cited here, as well as access to the 
elements of the public file that will not be posted online, continue to 
support maintenance of a local main studio.
    70. The Public and Broadcasting manual. We adopt the tentative 
conclusion that television stations will no longer be responsible for 
making available ``The Public and Broadcasting'' manual in their public 
files. We received no comment on this issue. As discussed in the FNPRM, 
the Commission will make this manual prominently available on the 
Commission-hosted online public file Web site once it is created. The 
staff is directed to ensure that this manual is updated to reflect the 
online public file requirements we adopt here.
    71. Issues/programs lists. We adopt the proposal requiring stations 
to post their issues/programs lists to the online public file until the 
Commission adopts changes to this requirement. Broadcasters' public 
files currently must include issues/programs lists, which are lists of 
programs that have provided the stations' most significant treatment of 
community issues during the preceding quarter. The Commission stated in 
the FNPRM that it planned to expeditiously seek comment in a new 
proceeding to investigate replacing the issues/programs list with a 
standardized disclosure form, which it did last November in a Notice of 
Inquiry.
    72. In that Notice of Inquiry, the Commission noted that it remains 
dedicated to addressing the problem of the lack of access to consistent 
and uniform information about television broadcasters' programming. 
Despite the shortcomings of the current state of the issues/programs 
lists, however, for now this is the best source of information the 
public has when investigating how a broadcaster's programming is 
meeting the community's needs and interests. A group of stations 
commenting as Four Commercial and NCE Licensees argues that the public 
has minimal interest in viewing this information, and until there is a 
standardized reporting form, issues/programs lists should not be placed 
online because they are voluminous and might include program guides 
that may not be easily uploaded. We disagree that the public has 
minimal interest in viewing this information. Public advocacy 
commenters PIPAC and Common Frequency point out that issues/programs 
lists are the only requirement that broadcasters have to disclose how 
they are providing community-responsive programming, and agree with the 
Commission that these lists should be posted to the online public file 
on a quarterly basis until the Commission implements a new standardized 
form. When creating the issues/programs list requirement, the 
Commission declared that one of a broadcaster's fundamental public 
interest obligations is to air programming responsive to the needs and 
interests of its community of license, and described the issues/
programs list as ``[t]he most significant source of issue-responsive 
information under the new regulatory scheme.'' Moreover, the list is a 
significant source of information for any initial investigation by the 
public or the Commission when renewal of the station's license is at 
issue. Because of the importance of the issues/programs lists, we 
conclude that any burden imposed upon broadcasters to upload such 
information is justified, and find that the lists must be available to 
the public in the online public file.
    73. FCC investigations and complaints. Our rules currently require 
that stations retain in the public file ``material having a substantial 
bearing on a matter which is the subject of an FCC investigation or 
complaint to the FCC'' of which the station is aware. The Commission 
sought comment in the FNPRM on whether the Commission should post 
published sanctions, including forfeiture orders, notices of violation, 
notices of apparent liability, and citations, in a station's online 
public file. The Commission also asked whether licensees should be 
required to upload their responses, if any, to such Commission actions. 
The Commission noted that this is the sort of information that the 
public would want to find in reviewing a licensee's public file, that 
this is a natural extension of the requirement to retain Commission

[[Page 27646]]

correspondence, and that parties could seek confidential treatment of 
particular information in the filings, if necessary. Common Frequency 
argues that the Commission should require broadcasters to post all 
materials relating to complaints, petitions, and Commission orders, 
because the public has a right to know how a broadcaster is conducting 
its business.
    74. The public is entitled to review information regarding 
Commission investigations and complaints and we consider the scope of 
the disclosure rule for this material to be quite broad, although we 
also recognize that premature publication can hamper an investigation 
and that privacy concerns counsel some limitations on the online 
posting of some of this information. We conclude that, subject to any 
disclosure limitation included in a Commission inquiry itself or 
directed by the staff, the online public file must include Letters of 
Inquiry (``LOI''), any supplements thereto, and any other 
correspondence from the Commission commencing an investigation, 
materials related to such inquiries, licensee responses to these 
Commission inquiries, and any documents--including Commission orders--
terminating or concluding the investigation or imposing penalties as a 
result of the investigation. We agree that public access to this type 
of information concerning a station--information that could be key to a 
full understanding of a station's performance of its duties as a 
licensee--is important and conclude that it must be placed in a 
station's online public file. This material is relevant to any member 
of the public that wishes to participate in a station's license renewal 
process or to otherwise review and evaluate the service a station is 
providing to its community of license. We will therefore adopt the 
tentative conclusion in the FNPRM that stations' online public files 
should contain all material relating to a Commission investigation. 
Unless directed to the contrary by the Commission (in an LOI or 
otherwise), stations will be responsible for uploading any materials 
related to a Commission investigation or inquiry that they generate or 
possess (such as responses to LOIs and relevant documents related to an 
investigation). To reduce burdens on stations, the Commission, as it 
deems appropriate, will post to the online public file any material 
that it originates relating to an investigation, such as LOIs and other 
investigative requests. The Commission will also post to the online 
public file any complaint or complaints that it possesses and that 
underlie an investigation, if doing so is feasible, will not interfere 
with or obstruct an investigation and disclosure is consistent with any 
privacy concerns that publication might raise. When there are 
circumstances in investigatory and enforcement contexts that would 
weigh against the disclosure of Commission investigations and related 
materials, the Commission or the staff may inform a licensee that a 
Letter of Inquiry or request for information or other material related 
to a particular investigation need not be placed in the public file or 
uploaded to the online public file. In the FNPRM, the Commission 
acknowledged concerns expressed in reconsideration petitions about 
posting to the online public file any material that is the subject of 
an indecency investigation or complaint, and tentatively concluded that 
such concerns were unfounded because such material is relevant to the 
renewal process and the Commission already posts information relating 
to indecency investigations, such as Notices of Apparent Liability and 
Forfeiture Orders, on its Web site. As is the case today, stations 
filing responsive materials subject to a confidentiality request may 
place copies of their filings into the online database with the 
confidential material redacted.
    75. With respect to complaints that have not prompted an LOI or 
other investigative request, whether filed with the Commission or 
submitted only to the station, we believe local retention in the 
station's correspondence file is appropriate. We conclude, as a general 
matter, that privacy concerns weigh against routine online posting of 
these complaints. The Commission or relevant Bureaus on delegated 
authority, however, may expressly direct a licensee to post such 
complaints--ones not related to any Commission investigation or 
inquiry--to the online public file, or it may do so itself, if 
circumstances warrant.
    76. A few commenters argued that the Commission should not require 
broadcasters to include information about erroneous or meritless 
allegations in the online public file. They argue that these claims may 
be unsubstantiated, and that persons with interests adverse to a 
broadcaster would have an incentive to file false or irrelevant 
complaints to establish a record tarnishing the broadcaster's character 
that could be used against it in the license renewal process, and that 
the increased accessibility to such false claims will increase such 
incentives. As discussed above, we are not requiring stations to 
include complaints that are not the subject of a Commission 
investigation in their online public files, though they are required to 
include them in their local correspondence files unless the Commission 
specifies otherwise. We believe that commenters' concern about 
erroneous or meritless allegations is adequately addressed by allowing 
stations to include their responses to such complaints in their 
correspondence files. As discussed above, stations are required to 
include in their public files responses to Commission investigations, 
unless directed otherwise in the LOI. As the Commission and the courts 
are the final arbiters of whether allegations are meritorious, we will 
not allow individual stations to decide whether particular 
investigations and complaints against them should be kept out of the 
public file.
    77. EEO and Children's Requirements. Under the Commission's equal 
employment opportunity (``EEO'') rules, all broadcast stations that are 
required to create an EEO public file report are also required to place 
their most recent annual report in their public file and post a link to 
the report on their Web site, if they have a Web site. This requirement 
was established in order to facilitate meaningful public input, as the 
public has a ``right to participate in the process of monitoring and 
enforcing our EEO Rule, which directly impacts them.'' We will continue 
to require that stations make their EEO materials available on their 
Web sites, if they have one. In an effort to reduce burdens on 
broadcasters, however, we will permit stations to fulfill this Web site 
posting requirement by providing on their own Web site a link to the 
EEO materials on their online public file page on the Commission's Web 
site.
    78. Similarly, in light of our decision in this Order to require 
stations with Web sites to provide a link to the online public file on 
their homepage, we will not require that stations with Web sites also 
post copies of their Children's Television Programming Reports (FCC 
Form 398) on their Web sites. In the Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking in MM Docket No. 00-44, the FCC sought comment on whether 
broadcasters should be required to provide their completed Form 398s on 
their own Web sites. Members of the public interested in viewing a 
station's Form 398 will be able to locate that filing from the online 
public file and, therefore, we do not believe it is necessary to 
require stations to post the forms on their own Web sites.
    79. Existing Public File Sponsorship Identification Requirements. 
Although, as discussed below, we do not impose new sponsorship 
identification reporting requirements, we also do not exempt existing 
public file requirements

[[Page 27647]]

regarding sponsorship identification from the online posting 
requirement. Specifically, we decline the request by the National 
Religious Broadcasters (``NRB'') to exempt from the online public file 
the disclosure of material required in Section 73.1212(e) of our 
rules--namely, where ``material broadcast is political matter or matter 
involving the discussion of a controversial issue of public importance 
and a corporation, committee, association or other unincorporated 
group, or other entity is paying for or furnishing the broadcast 
matter,'' stations must disclose ``a list of the chief executive 
officers or members of the executive committee or of the board of 
directors of the corporation, committee, association or other 
unincorporated group, or other entity.'' We note that the rule also 
states that ``[i]f the broadcast is originated by a network, the list 
may, instead, be retained at the headquarters office of the network or 
at the location where the originating station maintains its public 
inspection file.'' In addition, Section 315(e) of the Act, added by 
BCRA, requires that with respect to messages relating to any 
``political matter of national importance,'' the political file must 
contain ``the name of the person purchasing the time, the name, 
address, and phone number of a contact person for such person, and a 
list of the chief executive officers or members of the executive 
committee or of the board of directors of such person.'' This 
information must be included in the political file, and therefore must 
be posted to the online file along with other political file 
information Requiring that this information be included in the online 
public file should impose little burden on broadcasters, as this 
information is already being maintained in the local file.
    80. In addition, we reject NRB's argument that making such lists 
available via the Internet will violate citizens' First Amendment 
rights to enjoy a level of privacy and anonymity regarding their 
political, social, moral, and religious values and beliefs, and 
associations. NRB argues that this will have a chilling effect on 
citizens' willingness to participate in political campaigns. PIPAC 
responds that making such already-public records available via the 
Internet does not change the substance of the existing retention 
requirement. We agree. In addition, we find NRB's argument that this 
disclosure will chill citizens' speech overstated, as the disclosure 
requirement in Section 73.1212(e) of our rules applies to executives 
and board members of sponsoring organizations; it does not relate to 
individuals' campaign contributions or other political activities. We 
note also that the FEC requires candidates committees to report to the 
FEC the identity of individuals who contribute more than $200 to a 
candidate's campaign. The identity includes the individual's name, 
mailing address and occupation, as well as the name of his or her 
employer. We also agree with PIPAC that courts, in evaluating First 
Amendment challenges, have embraced disclosure of sponsors of political 
advertisements as promoting speech and discussion, not chilling it. As 
the Supreme Court stated in Citizens United v. FEC, ``transparency 
enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper 
weight to different speakers and messages'' and that ``[w]ith the 
advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide 
shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold 
corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and 
supporters.'' Similarly, the First Circuit determined that state laws 
requiring disclosure of the names of board members on political action 
committees ``neither erect a barrier to political speech nor limit its 
quantity. Rather, they promote the dissemination of information about 
those who deliver and finance political speech, thereby encouraging 
efficient operation of the marketplace of ideas.''
4. Proposals To Increase the Public File Requirement Rejected
    81. We decline to adopt any new disclosure obligations with respect 
to sponsorship identifications and shared services agreements at this 
time. While we continue to believe that the public would likely benefit 
from further information regarding sponsorship identifications and 
shared services agreements as discussed in the FNPRM, we believe it 
inadvisable to impose new reporting requirements at the same time 
stations are transitioning to the online public file. We wish to ensure 
that this Second Report and Order, in all major respects, involves 
changing only the form of disclosure and location of material already 
required to be included in the public file. We discuss both of these 
categories below.
    82. Sponsorship Identifications. We will not at this time require 
new written disclosure of sponsorship identifications in the online 
public file, as proposed in the FNPRM. Section 317 of the 
Communications Act requires that broadcasters disclose to their 
listeners or viewers at the time of broadcast whether material was 
aired in exchange for money, services, or other valuable consideration. 
The Commission's sponsorship identification rules implement these 
provisions and require that stations provide an on-air disclosure when 
content is paid for, furnished, or sponsored by an outside party. With 
the exception of sponsored political advertising, and certain issue 
advertising that must be disclosed in writing, these rules require that 
stations make an on-air disclosure only once during the programming and 
that the disclosure remain on the screen long enough to be read or 
heard by an average viewer. The implementing rule has long had an 
additional public file recordkeeping component for political and 
controversial issue announcements, as discussed further below. The 
FNPRM noted that the INC Report discussed examples of ``pay-for-play'' 
arrangements at local TV stations, where ``advertisers have been 
allowed to dictate, shape or sculpt news or editorial content.'' 
Despite our decision not to add new reporting requirements, we continue 
to believe that issues pertaining to sponsorship identification and 
``pay-for-play'' are important. We will continue to monitor the use of 
these practices, and enforce the statute as appropriate.
    83. While we agree with commenters that additional written 
sponsorship disclosures--posted to a station's public file--would 
benefit the public by addressing the shortcomings of sometimes fleeting 
on-air disclosures and would provide valuable information that is 
otherwise difficult to collect, we are also persuaded that we lack 
sufficient information at this time to properly evaluate the burden 
that complying with this requirement would impose.
    84. Sharing Agreements. We also decline to adopt the tentative 
conclusion that stations include sharing agreements in the online 
public file. In the FNPRM, the Commission asked whether sharing 
agreements among licensees, such as local news sharing and shared 
services agreements, should be available in the online public file.
    Some broadcasters argue that the disclosure of sharing agreements 
is beyond the scope of this proceeding, and should be considered in a 
separate proceeding. They argue that the Commission must first solicit 
comment and determine the legal status of such agreements. They argue 
that there has been no determination that shared services agreements 
are relevant to compliance with any Commission rules or standards, 
unlike time brokerage agreements and joint sales agreements, which the 
Commission has deemed to

[[Page 27648]]

have attribution implications, and which are required to be placed in 
the public file. Some note that the recent 2010 Quadrennial Review 
seeks comment on sharing agreements, and argue that it would be 
premature to require disclosure of sharing agreements prior to the 
conclusion of that review. We disagree that the Commission must first 
address the appropriate regulatory status of such agreements prior to 
requiring their disclosure, as disclosure itself could inform those 
decisions and the Commission has wide latitude to impose such a 
requirement. Nonetheless, we decline to impose this new requirement on 
broadcasters as they transition to the online public file. We will 
continue to monitor this issue, and revisit a disclosure requirement 
either in this proceeding, or in the ownership proceeding, as suggested 
by broadcasters. Because we decline to adopt this requirement, we will 
not address comments pertaining to the scope of shared services 
agreements covered by this proposal.

D. Format of the Online Public File

    85. We will not establish specific formatting requirements for 
documents posted to the online public file at this time. Some 
commenters promoted making the data well-structured, as searchable as 
possible, and downloadable. PIPAC argues that the online public file 
should be searchable by text within the documents, and also by station, 
state, date, element of the public file and any other metadata 
contained in the file. They further argue that the file should provide 
an easy-to-use graphic interface in addition to an API, as these both 
provide searching and downloading of documents and metadata en mass. We 
agree that certain information in the public file would be of much 
greater benefit to the public if made available in a structured or 
database-friendly format that can be aggregated, manipulated, and more 
easily analyzed; this continues to be our ultimate goal. We agree with 
PIPAC, however, that converting the files to this format would take 
time and money, and the online public file should not be delayed in 
order to make all of the material in it available in such a manner. 
PIPAC argues that this will likely result in the submission of 
documents in non-searchable, non-machine readable format, but it 
believes this proposal represents a reasonable trade-off between 
maximizing searchability and the need to expedite access to 
broadcasters' online public files. We agree that this trade-off is 
reasonable, and adopt the Commission's tentative conclusion that the 
benefits of an online public file should not be delayed. At this time 
we therefore will not require broadcasters to undertake the burdens of 
altering the form of documents already in existence prior to posting 
them to the online public file. We observe, though, that even without 
mandating that documents be filed in a particular format, our creation 
of a centralized, orderly public file will facilitate search and 
analysis across all elements of stations' public files.
    86. We adopt the FNPRM's proposal to require stations to upload any 
electronic documents in their existing format to the extent feasible. 
For example, to the extent that a required document already exists in a 
searchable format--such as the Microsoft Word .doc format or non-copy 
protected text-searchable .pdf format for text filings, or native 
formats such as spreadsheets in Microsoft .xml format for non-text 
filings--broadcasters are expected to upload the filing in that format 
to the extent technically feasible. PIPAC agreed with our proposal to 
require stations to file documents in their native electronic format. 
We understand that it may be difficult for stations to provide older 
material that has been in the public file for some time in its native 
format. In those instances, we understand that stations may need to 
scan these materials for electronic upload into the online public file. 
We expect that the need to do this will diminish over time.
    87. Also consistent with the FNPRM, the Commission will use optical 
character recognition on public file materials that are scanned, and by 
default are non-searchable. The Commission asked in the FNPRM whether, 
to the extent documents are posted in a non-searchable format, the 
Commission should digitize the documents and perform optical character 
recognition (``OCR'') on them. PIPAC agrees with the Commission's 
suggestion that if a broadcaster posts a record in only a non-
searchable format, the Commission should use an OCR tool to permit 
maximum searchability. PIPAC notes that commonly available document 
formats--including Microsoft Word .doc, .txt, .pdf or .odf--can be 
searched, and can easily be converted into a .pdf file that can be 
processed by an OCR tool so the contents can be loaded into a 
searchable database. But commenter Ryan Thornburg notes that OCR 
software is expensive and faulty, and prefers that the Commission 
require well-structured formats. For the reasons discussed above, we 
decline to do so at this time. We determine that, when appropriate, the 
Commission will use OCR. OCR will be used when text cannot be extracted 
from the uploaded document format. When documents are uploaded to the 
online public file, documents that are not in recognized formats will 
be automatically pushed into OCR, which will scan the document to 
extract as much text as possible.
    88. Metadata. We will not require stations to create or preserve 
metadata in the online public file. In the FNPRM, the Commission asked 
whether users should be able to determine when each item was uploaded 
to the file, whether the Commission should make available metadata 
about who uploaded the item, and if there were any concerns about 
metadata disclosures for confidential or privileged information. NAB 
anticipates that many stations may use software that removes metadata 
from its documents for reasons of confidentiality, privilege, or 
privacy, and does not see value in disclosing who uploaded a document, 
other than differentiating between documents uploaded by the Commission 
versus a station. The Sunlight Foundation noted that as long as each 
station provides contact information, there is no need for the metadata 
to identify the individual who uploads a filing. We agree, and 
determine that stations using software that removes metadata will not 
be required to make any modifications. Given that we will be requiring 
station contact information, as discussed above, we do not believe that 
it is necessary to make metadata information available as part of the 
online public file. However, the Sunlight Foundation also argues that 
being able to identify the time and date of a filing is important, as 
it helps to track the most recent version of a particular filing, and 
allows the user to create a timeline of submitted files. This 
information, which is captured by the system as files are uploaded, 
does not generate similar privacy concerns as the metadata contained 
within the documents uploaded by stations. Our system may present 
information on the date and time of a filing to users.

E. Implementation

    89. Having concluded that broadcast television stations must upload 
the contents of their public file, other than the political file and 
letters from the public, to a Commission-hosted online public file, we 
next discuss issues relating to implementation of the new posting 
procedure. As with our consideration of all the issues covered by this 
Order, our resolution of implementation issues is guided by a 
commitment to creating an online public file experience that is not

[[Page 27649]]

burdensome for broadcasters, and is as useful as possible for the 
public.
    90. Cloud-Based Solution. We plan to develop the online public file 
in accordance with the Federal Government's ``Cloud First Policy'' 
which directs agencies to default to scalable and elastic, cloud-based 
solutions for increased reliability at lower cost. The public file, 
consisting entirely of publicly disclosed material, is ideal for 
leveraging the cloud-based hosting solutions. We anticipate being able 
to design an online public file that is highly available, scalable, 
cloud-based, and eliminates any user wait times associated with 
processing documents after upload. We expect that this will enable 
stations to upload public file material in a timely fashion, including 
uploading political file material promptly even during times of 
increased traffic prior to elections.
    91. We disagree with broadcasters who argue that their experiences 
trying to file the revised Form 323 ownership reports suggest a 
Commission-created database would suffer from implementation problems. 
These commenters represent that it can take hours to upload just one 
attachment to the revised Form 323, and that the political file 
contains similarly large documents. They argue that such delays would 
be unacceptable with respect to the political file, where timely access 
is so important. We agree that it is essential that stations are able 
to upload public file documents, and particularly political files, 
efficiently, and that the online public file should be able to handle 
many stations uploading documents at the same time even during an 
election season. We recognize problems stations have experienced 
uploading the revised Form 323 and are working to fix those problems. 
But we do not anticipate similar problems with respect to uploading the 
public file. The delays in the Form 323 uploading process stem from the 
time required in the current Form 323 filing application to validate 
the large spreadsheets that must be filed with Form 323, and the 
validation queuing process. Public file documentation will not be 
subject to the validation process that is required for the Form 323 
spreadsheets, nor will we need to impose a similar queuing system 
necessitated by the validation process. Furthermore, Form 323 was 
launched and run on existing FCC infrastructure. Since then, the 
Commission has begun utilizing scalable cloud-based IT architecture 
solutions to enhance the agency's capabilities. In particular, the 
Commission anticipates using for online public files the same scalable 
architecture that currently is being used successfully for the Customer 
Proprietary Network Information certification document filing system 
and the National Broadband Map.
    92. Back-up Files. In lieu of requiring stations to maintain back-
up copies of all public file materials, as proposed in the FNPRM, the 
Commission will generate copies of their online files. With respect to 
the political file, however, we will require stations to maintain local 
electronic back-up files to ensure that, in the event our online public 
file were to become temporarily unavailable, they can comply with their 
statutory obligation to make that information available to candidates, 
their representatives, non-candidate political time buyers and the 
public generally as soon as possible. To minimize any burden imposed by 
this requirement, we have developed tools to allow stations to easily 
copy mirrors of their online public files, which contain the political 
files.
    93. In the FNPRM, the Commission proposed that stations retain 
electronic copies for back-up purposes of all public file items in the 
event the Commission's online public file were to become unavailable or 
disabled. The Commission also proposed that in such circumstances, 
stations would have to make these back-up files available to the 
public. We are persuaded by commenters, however, that requiring 
stations to maintain back-up copies of all public file materials and to 
make them routinely available directly to the public would reduce the 
efficiencies of placing the public file online. These commenters 
explain that such an approach would force stations to continue 
maintaining a separate complete public file on site so as to comply 
with the Commission's rules at a moment's notice.
    94. To ensure that stations' public files are available even if the 
Commission's online public file were to become temporarily unavailable 
or in the event technical problems prevented broadcasters from 
accessing the Commission's online file, we will create ``failover'' 
backups of the online public file, including mirroring daily snapshots 
of the public file. That is, the Commission will make a mirror copy of 
each station's public file records daily to ensure that if the data in 
the online public file is compromised, the public files can be 
reconstituted using the back-up copy. Thus, the Commission will relieve 
stations of the burden of maintaining a back-up of the entire public 
file locally. In addition, with the exception of the political file, 
discussed below, will not make stations responsible for making 
available to the public information from the public file in the event 
the Commission's online files become temporarily inaccessible; the 
mirroring approach will enable us to perform the back-up function 
ourselves. Although we will not require stations to maintain back-up 
copies of the public file, stations are free to maintain back-up 
materials and to continue to make the public file available locally or 
on their own Web site, in addition to on our Web site, if they choose 
to do so. To the extent the public may experience a delay in accessing 
the information due to the brief unavailability of the online file, we 
consider that delay (with the exception of the political file), on 
balance, to be acceptable in order not to burden broadcasters with the 
necessity of making public file materials available to the public at 
the station. If the Commission's online file becomes temporarily 
inaccessible to stations for the uploading of new documents, however, 
stations must maintain those documents and upload them to the online 
file once it becomes available again for upload. The Commission will 
also daily make the mirror copy of every station's public file 
available for the station or other interested parties to download so 
that, if they wish, they can periodically download a complete mirror of 
their public file or automate a periodic synchronization.
    95. As suggested in the FNPRM, we conclude that additional steps 
should be taken to ensure that access to the political file is not 
compromised. Accordingly, if the Commission's online public file were 
to become temporarily unavailable, stations will be required to provide 
any information pertaining to the political file not just to 
candidates, their representatives and other political time buyers, but 
directly to any member of the public as well. The benefits of making 
such information available immediately outweigh the burdens of 
maintaining this limited back-up requirement. Given the short seven-day 
deadline for candidates to request equal opportunity appearances, it is 
essential to candidates' exercise of their rights under the Act that 
they have prompt access to political file information. Moreover, 
limiting that access to candidates and their representatives would be 
inconsistent with the Communications Act, which requires that political 
file information shall be ``available for public inspection'' and 
``placed in a political file as soon as possible.'' These requirements 
do not distinguish between candidates and their representatives and 
other members of the public. In addition, although only

[[Page 27650]]

candidates have rights to equal opportunities and lowest unit charge 
under Section 315, other members of the public may also have time-
sensitive needs to access a station's political files. For example, a 
sponsor of a political issue advertisement may have a significant 
interest in ascertaining which candidates or other issue advertisement 
sponsors have bought time at a station.
    96. The Commission is taking all steps necessary to ensure that the 
Commission-hosted online public file will not become unavailable, and 
we expect instances of unavailability to be both rare and of short 
duration. As a result, we do not expect the requirement to provide 
back-up access to the political file during any times of outages to be 
overly burdensome. In addition, we will allow stations to retain such 
information in whatever form is most convenient for them. Our making 
mirror copies of stations' public files available to stations, as 
described above, will enable stations to comply with the political file 
back-up requirement with little burden. That is, while not required, 
stations may choose to meet the political file back-up requirement by 
periodically downloading a mirror copy of the public file. When 
choosing this option, stations will need to ensure that they retain any 
political file records that have not been uploaded or were uploaded 
after their last download of a mirror copy of their online public file. 
This means that if a station decides to download a mirror copy of their 
online public file on a weekly basis, it will need to maintain at the 
station, in paper or electronic form, any documents that have not been 
uploaded or that it uploaded to the online political file after its 
last weekly download. If a station chooses to download a mirror copy of 
their online public file on a monthly basis, it will need to maintain 
at the station any documents that have not been uploaded or that it 
uploaded to the online political file after its last monthly download. 
If a station chooses not to download a mirror copy of their online 
public file, and does not otherwise satisfy the back-up requirement, it 
will need to maintain at the station all documents required to be in 
its online political file. We stress that stations will only be 
required to make these backups available if and during such time as the 
Commission's online public file is unavailable, which we believe will 
only happen in rare instances, such as national or localized 
emergencies, because the Commission will follow necessary protocols for 
creating failover backups of the online public file.
    97. Compliance Dates. In order to facilitate a smooth transition to 
the online public file, we will provide a phase-in period for stations 
to begin uploading files. Stations will be required to begin using the 
online public file after the effective date of this Order, which is 30 
days after the Commission announces in the Federal Register that OMB 
has completed its review under the Paperwork Reduction Act and approved 
the collection.\9\ After the effective date, if a station determines 
that any document must be placed in the public file, that document must 
be posted to the online public file. We refer to this as the 
requirement to post documents online ``on a going-forward basis.'' In 
order to ensure that broadcasters have time to familiarize themselves 
with the online public file, the Commission will make a version 
available to the public soon after adoption of this item. We also 
instruct the staff to help educate broadcasters about the online public 
file and how it functions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Public Law 104-13. The Commission previously sought comment 
on the paperwork burden associated with these proposals. See 76 FR 
72144 (Nov. 22, 2011). Because the Order today substantially adopts 
the item as proposed in the FNPRM, with the exception of a few 
proposed collections that we are declining to impose, a 30 day 
public comment cycle will be appropriate. 5 CFR 1320.11(h). The 
Commission will publish a notice in the Federal Register regarding 
the reduced paperwork burdens adopted in this Order. The OMB review 
process will then commence.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    98. To ensure that existing public file materials--that is, the 
public file as it exists prior to the effective date--are uploaded to 
the online public file in an orderly manner, we will give broadcasters 
sufficient time to do so. Stations will be permitted to begin uploading 
existing public file materials immediately after the effective date, at 
the same time stations must also begin posting online documents on a 
going-forward basis. Stations must complete the process of uploading 
the existing public file within six months after the effective date, 
i.e., six months after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal 
Register announcing OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. We 
believe that giving stations six months to complete the upload of 
existing files will provide broadcasters adequate time and flexibility 
to undertake this process.
    99. Accessibility for People with Disabilities. In the FNPRM, the 
Commission stated that it intended to ensure that the online public 
files, like the rest of the Commission's Web site, is accessible to 
people with disabilities. Under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 
federal agencies must ensure that members of the public who have 
disabilities and who are seeking information or services from a federal 
agency ``have access to and use of information and data that is 
comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such 
members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.'' For 
federal agencies, including the Commission, this requires access by 
people with disabilities to the agencies' Web sites, including 
electronic filing systems, such as the Commission's ECFS. In the FNPRM, 
we sought comment on whether further actions were necessary to ensure 
compliance with respect to the online public file. No commenters raised 
concern about this issue. To assure compliance, the Commission will 
perform accessibility tests and address any known issues once the 
online public file has been created. We believe that Commission 
compliance with the requirements imposed by Section 508 of the 
Rehabilitation Act will be sufficient to ensure that the online public 
file is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If we learn of any 
problems with accessibility of the online public file, we will revisit 
this issue.
    100. Geographic Coverage Area. The Commission's online public file 
will be available to anyone who has Internet access, regardless of 
their location. Two petitioners on reconsideration of the 2007 Report 
and Order suggested that broadcasters should be permitted to limit 
online public file access to viewers within a station's geographic 
coverage area. The Commission concluded in the FNPRM that it saw no 
reason to limit online access to the public file, nor did it know of a 
workable mechanism for implementing and enforcing such a proposal. No 
commenter opposed this tentative conclusion, and commenters in support 
agreed that limiting access to a station's public file to viewers 
within a station's viewing area would be misguided. We believe it 
entirely consistent with Congressional intent in adopting Section 309 
of the Act to enhance the ability of both those within and those beyond 
a station's service area to participate in the licensing process. We 
see no additional burdens, and several benefits, in providing full 
access to the public file of each station. We note, moreover, that such 
a restriction would reduce the scope of public access now provided by 
our rules--a result clearly at odds with our objective of increasing 
the transparency and availability of public records. We conclude that 
each station's online public file will not be limited to viewers within 
its geographic coverage area.

[[Page 27651]]

    101. Maintenance. In order to keep each public file orderly, we 
conclude that stations must actively maintain their online public file, 
although the Commission will ensure that items filed in CDBS are 
updated in the public file as they are updated on CDBS. In the FNPRM, 
the Commission proposed that stations would be expected to maintain 
their online public files, ensuring that the files contain the 
information required by the public file rules and that items be removed 
once they no longer must be retained under our rules.\10\ In response, 
APTS and PBS argue that it would be more efficient for the Commission 
automatically to replace old materials when new materials are imported 
into the public file. They argue that it is inefficient and burdensome 
for stations to be required to monitor the addition and deletion of 
materials. They also argue that the Commission should avoid introducing 
contradictory objectives by punishing stations for sharing information 
above and beyond what is required while still expecting the stations to 
increase disclosure so the public is informed of the station's 
broadcast services.
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    \10\ As required by the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 3301, et 
seq., the Commission will create a records schedule to set the 
retention and disposal of the files. The schedule will require 
approval by the National Archives and Records Administration. The 
records schedule will govern our handling of the station files.
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    102. We believe it is important that stations maintain orderly 
public files. While one of our goals is increased disclosure, another 
is to be able to provide the public with relevant information in an 
efficient manner. We are concerned that if material is never removed 
from the online public file, it will be difficult for the public to 
find information that is relevant. We note that public file items have 
different document retention periods, and recommend that stations 
remove such items in a timely fashion. We do not require stations to 
remove each item at the end of its retention period, but note that 
stations are still required to maintain an orderly file. Each station's 
online public file should not become so overgrown with out-of-date 
documents that it is difficult to access relevant materials. To assist 
with this process, the Commission will strive to facilitate the 
identification and management of aging materials. The Commission will 
explore creating a mechanism to automatically identify documents that 
may be beyond their retention period, and flag such documents for 
station review. Some categories of documents, such as time brokerage 
agreements and joint sales agreements that need to be retained for as 
long as the items are effective, will need active management on the 
part of the station. At a minimum, we will require stations to remove 
expired contracts when and if replacement agreements are uploaded. 
Materials in the online file will be disposed of consistent with the 
records schedule we will develop under the Federal Records Act.
    103. Certification. We decline the request of two parties that the 
Commission remove a question on renewal Form 303-S that asks whether 
local public file documents have ``been placed in the station's public 
inspection file at the appropriate times.'' The two parties argue that 
this certification will be unnecessary, since the online public file 
will be available for anyone to evaluate for completeness. We disagree. 
Although the Commission will be importing into the online public file 
all items that are filed with the Commission in CDBS, stations will 
still be responsible for uploading to the online public file all other 
items required under our rules. In order to upload information into its 
online public file, a station will need to log in with the same 
credentials used to file station applications and materials in CDBS. 
This will ensure that only station licensees will be able to post 
information to their files. As there will still be a requirement that 
stations maintain their public files, it is necessary that stations 
certify to their compliance with this requirement at the time of 
license renewal. This certification requirement is designed to promote 
voluntary rule compliance. In addition, as noted in the FNPRM, a 
successful upload of a station's public file on the Commission's Web 
site will not be considered agency approval of the material contained 
in the filing. The purpose of online hosting is to provide the public 
ready access to the material, although Commission staff may review the 
material placed in each station's online public file, just as 
Commission staff currently reviews station public files to determine 
compliance with Commission rules.
    104. Working Group and Pilot Program. We decline to adopt NAB's 
proposal that the Commission create a joint Commission-broadcaster 
working group or a pilot program to address the implementation issues 
and technical challenges raised by the online public file. NAB argues 
that a working group, through which the Commission would work with 
broadcasters to design the online public file and develop rules for its 
use, would likely reduce overall costs and burdens for the Commission 
and stations by identifying more quickly potential problems and their 
solutions. NAB and others also support a pilot program, through which a 
limited number of stations would test the online public file before the 
Commission requires broadcast stations to post files to it. Named State 
Broadcasters Association argues that a pilot program is an important 
way for the Commission to meet its statutory obligations under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. We disagree with their argument that rules 
implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act require the Commission to test 
information collections a pilot program. These commenters argue that 
the Commission will gain valuable experience and insight if it conducts 
a pilot program involving the licensees of representative large, 
medium, and small market commercial and noncommercial educational 
television stations, and their trade association representatives. Other 
implementation suggestions include transition periods, phase-in 
approaches, and workshops.
    105. For more than ten years the Commission has been exploring in 
this proceeding the best way to move broadcasters' public files online 
to make them more accessible. A broad group of commercial and 
noncommercial broadcasters has participated in every phase of the 
proceeding. We do not believe a working group or pilot program is 
necessary to ensure that the process of implementing an online public 
file is successful, and we believe that the creation of a working group 
as a condition precedent could unduly delay its implementation. One 
commenter claims that details of a ``pilot program'' were not properly 
raised in the FNPRM. To the extent these notice concerns relate to the 
phase-in approach we are adopting in this proceeding, we note that in 
the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether we should 
``consider creating different requirements for small television 
broadcasters.'' In any event, the Commission has discretion to 
implement changes in a step-by-step fashion.
    106. We are addressing the concerns expressed about implementation, 
however. The Commission is undertaking rigorous testing of the online 
public file to ensure a smooth user experience. We will provide 
opportunities for user testing and education before stations are 
required to upload their online public files. Because our rules will 
require stations simply to upload information to a Commission-hosted 
online public file, a process similar to uploading applications to 
CDBS--which licensees have been

[[Page 27652]]

doing for more than ten years--we do not believe that this process 
demands the kind of groundwork that broadcasters advocate. As already 
discussed, only 200 stations, or approximately 11% of all stations, 
will be required to upload their political files for the first two 
years. While this is not a pilot program, we believe that this smaller 
group of stations, which as major-network affiliates are generally 
likely to be relatively capable and sophisticated users of technology, 
can assist in meeting NAB's stated goals of addressing implementation 
issues and technical challenges as they arise. In addition, as 
discussed above, we believe that the user testing and education we will 
provide will assist stations with any concerns they may have. 
Commission staff will be dedicated to assisting stations with any 
issues they may confront after implementation of the online public 
file. We will also explore the option of providing user or peer support 
groups to help stations identify and work through implementation 
issues. Such support groups can assist the Commission in identifying 
whether any issues are common to many users, or station-specific.

F. Announcements and Links

    107. We decline to adopt the FNPRM's proposal to require stations 
to make on-air announcements about the availability of the online 
public file, but do adopt the proposal that stations provide 
information about the online public file on their Web sites to the 
extent that they have them. In the 2007 Report and Order, the 
Commission adopted a requirement that stations make twice-daily 
announcements about the online availability of the public file. On 
reconsideration, public television petitioners argued that this was 
unduly burdensome, and asked that the Commission reduce this 
requirement to a few times a week, at most. In the FNPRM, the 
Commission proposed that stations be required to notify viewers of the 
existence, location, and accessibility of a station's public file; it 
noted that if most viewers are unaware of the existence of the public 
file or how to access it, its usefulness would be greatly diminished.
    108. The Commission has long required stations to identify both the 
call letters of their stations and the cities which they are primarily 
licensed to serve in order to enable the public to readily ``identify 
the stations to which they are listening and, further, to identify the 
communities which they are primarily licensed to serve.'' APTS and PBS 
argue that stations should have the option of making announcements 
regarding the online public file on their Web sites without having to 
also make an on-air announcement. APTS and PBS argue that on-air 
announcements are ineffective in informing the public because they are 
fleeting and might not reach all individuals within the community, 
whereas a notice on the station's Web site is more likely to be found 
by persons who are interested in accessing an online public file and 
can provide more detail. We are persuaded that providing information on 
a station's Web site about the existence and location of the online 
public file is a better means of ensuring that all viewers know about 
the availability of the online public file than requiring occasional 
on-air announcements. Stations will, however be required to revise 
their on-air pre- and post-filing renewal announcements to reflect the 
availability of a station's renewal application on the Commission's Web 
site, as reflected in Appendix A of the Second Report and Order.
    109. We adopt the tentative conclusion that stations that have Web 
sites be required to place a link to the online public file on their 
home page. Common Frequency supports the proposal, and no commenter 
opposed it. Although we have concluded that posting station information 
to an online public file hosted by the Commission will make the 
information easily accessible by viewers, we want to ensure that those 
viewers who seek such information on a station's Web site are directed 
to the online public file, particularly since stations will not be 
required to broadcast on-air announcements regarding the change in 
location of their public file. In lieu of requiring stations to 
announce on their Web sites the availability of their correspondence 
files at their main studios, we will include language in the online 
public file that directs the public to the station's main studio to 
access letters and email from the public.
    110. We also adopt the FNPRM's proposed requirement that stations 
that have Web sites include on their home page contact information for 
a station representative that can assist any person with disabilities 
with issues related to the content of the public files. We note that if 
stations receive comments about the accessibility of the online public 
file system, it should direct those questions and concerns to the 
Commission. PIPAC noted that for a person with disabilities, ``the 
burden of searching through several pages or levels becomes an 
insurmountable barrier.'' We will adopt the proposal, which no 
commenter opposed.

G. Radio and Multichannel Video Programming Distributors

    111. Consistent with the FNPRM, we limit this proceeding to 
television stations at this time. In the FNPRM, the Commission noted 
that this proceeding is directed toward television broadcasters, and 
that we may require radio licensees to abide by similar public file 
reforms at a later date. LUC Media Group asks that the Commission 
consider requiring radio and cable systems to also maintain an online 
public file. We disagree that we should extend the online public file 
rules to radio and cable systems (or other multichannel video 
programming distributors (``MVPDs'')) at this time. First, because this 
proceeding has long focused only on television stations, we do not have 
a sufficient record concerning radio stations or MVPDs on which to 
consider possible new rules for those entities. Second, as discussed in 
the FNPRM, we anticipate that starting the online public file process 
with the much smaller number of television licensees, rather than with 
all broadcasters and MVPDs, will ease the initial implementation of the 
online public file.\11\
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    \11\ We reject arguments that requiring television broadcasters 
to place their political files online will put them at a 
disadvantage with respect to competitors, such as MVPDs and radio 
stations. As discussed above, to the extent competitors and 
potential advertisers have an economic incentive to access this 
information, they can already do so at the station; the online 
disclosure rule will not alter the economic incentives of these 
entities in any meaningful way. In any event, the Commission has 
discretion to implement changes in a multistep fashion. We further 
note that 75% of political advertising is spent on broadcast 
television, thus demonstrating a preference by media buyers to 
utilize broadcast television over other forms of available media to 
reach voters or customers. There is no evidence in the record to 
suggest that such advertising would shift to other forms of media 
simply because rate information, already public, will now be 
accessible online.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    112. Public TV Licensees asks that we allow NCE radio stations, or 
at least those that are licensed to the same entity as, or under common 
control with, an NCE television station, to maintain their public 
inspection files online on the Commission's Web site on a voluntary 
basis. Public Television Licensees argues that this will allow radio 
stations that are jointly owned or operated with television stations to 
avoid duplicative efforts from having to maintain two separate public 
file systems, involving some of the same documents. It notes that with 
respect to the NCE rules, all of the requirements for radio stations 
are being included in the proposed online public file. We appreciate 
that commonly owned and operated radio stations may prefer an

[[Page 27653]]

early transition to the online public file. In this initial phase of 
implementing the online public file, however, we are concerned about 
adding a significant number of additional entities to the universe of 
users. As we and the broadcasting industry gain more experience with 
the online public file we will revisit the possibility of allowing 
stations not required to use the online public file to use it on a 
voluntary basis. We delegate to Commission staff the authority to allow 
(but not require) radio stations to voluntarily post their public files 
at such time as staff determines that such an option is feasible and 
desirable; this will ensure that radio stations wishing to avail 
themselves of the online public file can do so promptly. We further 
authorize Commission staff to take into account common-ownership 
considerations if appropriate.

IV. Procedural Matters

A. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    113. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (``RFA''), an 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (``IRFA'') was incorporated in 
the Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(Further Notice) in MB Docket 00-168. The Commission sought written 
public comment on the proposals in the Further Notice, including 
comment on the IRFA. We received comments from the North Carolina 
Association of Broadcasters et al. specifically directed toward the 
IRFA. These comments are discussed below. This Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.
Need for, and Objectives of, the Second Report and Order
    114. One of a television broadcaster's fundamental public interest 
obligations is to air programming responsive to the needs and interests 
of its community of license. Broadcasters are afforded considerable 
flexibility in how they meet that obligation. Among other things, they 
are required to maintain a public inspection file, which gives the 
public access to information about the station's operations. The goal 
of this Second Report and Order is to modernize this public inspection 
file requirement, making the public file information more accessible to 
members of the public who cannot visit a station during business hours 
to review the public file.
    115. The Second Report and Order adopts rule changes that will:
     Replace the requirement that television stations maintain 
a paper public file at their main studios with a requirement to submit 
documents for inclusion in an online public file, including the 
political file, to be hosted by the Commission;
     Reduce the number of documents that television stations 
would be required to upload to an online public file, by automatically 
linking to information already collected by the Commission;
     Streamline the information required to be kept in the 
online file, such as by excluding letters and emails from the public; 
and
     Give the online public file a uniform organizational 
structure to allow consumers to more easily navigate the public files.
Legal Basis
    116. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 
4(i), 303, and 405 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 
154(i), 303, and 405.
Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to 
the IRFA
    117. In the IRFA, we stated that our purpose was to ensure that any 
changes to applicable rules would impose only minimal adverse impact on 
small entities. We also solicited comments on alternatives to the 
proposed rules that would minimize the impact that any changes to our 
rules might have on small entities. In their comments, North Carolina 
Association of Broadcasters et al. states that the IRFA has not ``fully 
acknowledged, much less actually considered and developed any data to 
evaluate, the economic impacts of its proposals to require broadcasters 
to upload their political files to the FCC's servers and to require 
broadcasters to report all sponsorship identifications in the online 
public file.'' The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters et al. 
also states that ``the Commission has underestimated the burden of 
creating, updating, and maintaining these materials'', and has not 
analyzed the costs to the Commission, which it claims will 
``undoubtedly'' be bourn by small businesses via increased regulatory 
fees.
    118. We disagree with these claims. The FNPRM and Second Report and 
Order, including the IRFA and this FRFA, consider the impacts of this 
revised recordkeeping requirement. Section III.B. of the Second Report 
and Order discusses how broadcasters' initial costs of compliance are 
minimized, and how the online public file will ultimately lead to cost 
savings. This section discusses the Commission's cost analysis, 
including our determination that broadcaster's initial costs of 
compliance to upload their existing public file will average from $80 
to $400 per station. We understand that North Carolina Association of 
Broadcasters et al. disagrees with our evaluation of the burdens that 
will be placed upon broadcasters in order to comply with these revised 
recordkeeping requirements as discussed in the FNPRM. Those arguments 
are considered in this Second Report and Order. We also disagree with 
North Carolina Association of Broadcasters et al.'s assertion that this 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis must more fully consider costs to the 
Commission. We find that such a claim by the Association is based on 
purely speculative, and therefore spurious, grounds. In making the 
determinations reflected in the Second Report and Order, we have 
considered the impact of our actions on small entities, which is the 
requirement of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In any event, the 
Commission is taking steps in this Second Report and Order to minimize 
burdens on small entities, by undertaking the automatic posting of 
several items that are required to be placed in the online public file, 
as discussed in Section E, supra. In addition, the Commission declined 
to adopt the proposal that stations report all sponsorship 
identifications, as discussed by the North Carolina Association of 
Broadcasters, and shared services agreements, along with weekly on-air 
announcements. Also, the Commission is providing an exemption from 
uploading the political file to all stations that are not in the top 50 
DMAs and all stations not affiliated with the top four national 
television broadcast networks, regardless of the size of the market 
they serve, until July 1, 2014. This will enable small market and non-
affiliated broadcasters to have two additional years to familiarize 
themselves with the online filing requirements before they need to 
begin uploading their political files on a going-forward basis.
Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the 
Proposed Rules Will Apply
    119. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, 
where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines 
the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms 
``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term

[[Page 27654]]

``small business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business 
concern'' under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one 
which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in 
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the SBA. Below, we provide a description of such small 
entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities, 
where feasible.
    120. Television Broadcasting. The SBA defines a television 
broadcasting station as a small business if such station has no more 
than $14.0 million in annual receipts. Business concerns included in 
this industry are those ``primarily engaged in broadcasting images 
together with sound.'' The Commission has estimated the number of 
licensed commercial television stations to be 1,390. According to 
Commission staff review of the BIA Kelsey Inc. Media Access Pro 
Television Database (BIA) as of January 31, 2011, 1,006 (or about 78 
percent) of an estimated 1,298 commercial television stations in the 
United States have revenues of $14 million or less and, thus, qualify 
as small entities under the SBA definition. The Commission has 
estimated the number of licensed noncommercial educational (``NCE'') 
television stations to be 391. We note, however, that, in assessing 
whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above 
definition, business (control) affiliations must be included. Our 
estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities 
that might be affected by our action, because the revenue figure on 
which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from 
affiliated companies. The Commission does not compile and otherwise 
does not have access to information on the revenue of NCE stations that 
would permit it to determine how many such stations would qualify as 
small entities.
    121. In addition, an element of the definition of ``small 
business'' is that the entity not be dominant in its field of 
operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the 
criteria that would establish whether a specific television station is 
dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of small 
businesses to which rules may apply do not exclude any television 
station from the definition of a small business on this basis and are 
therefore over-inclusive to that extent. Also, as noted, an additional 
element of the definition of ``small business'' is that the entity must 
be independently owned and operated. We note that it is difficult at 
times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities and our 
estimates of small businesses to which they apply may be over-inclusive 
to this extent.
Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements
    122. The rule changes adopted in the Second Report and Order affect 
reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. Television 
broadcasters are currently required to maintain a copy of their public 
inspection files at their main studios. The Second Report and Order 
requires stations to replace that requirement with a requirement to 
submit documents for inclusion in an online public file, including the 
political file, to be hosted on the Commission's Web site. Items in the 
public file that must also be filed with the Commission, including FCC 
authorizations, applications and related materials, contour maps, 
ownership reports and related materials, portions of the equal 
employment opportunity file, the public and broadcasting manual, 
children's television programming reports (Form 398), and DTV 
transition education reports (Form 388), will be automatically imported 
into the station's online public file. Television stations will only be 
responsible for uploading and maintaining items that are not required 
to be filed with the Commission under any other rule. The Second Report 
and Order also excludes some items from the online public file 
requirement, such as the existing political file and letters and emails 
from the public, which will continue to be maintained at the station, 
and also declines to add other items to the online public file 
requirement, including sponsorship identifications and shared services 
agreements, and weekly announcements of the existence of the public 
file.
Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, 
and Significant Alternatives Considered
    123. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, 
which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) 
The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; 
(3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an 
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small 
entities.
    124. The Second Report and Order seeks to minimize and modernize 
reporting requirements on all television broadcasters, by having the 
Commission host the online public file. The previous Report and Order 
in this proceeding, which has been vacated, required stations to host 
their own public file. Having the Commission host the public file will 
ease the administrative burdens on all broadcasters. More than one-
third of the required contents of the public file already have to be 
filed with the Commission, and the Second Report and Order requires the 
Commission to import and update that information, creating efficiencies 
for broadcasters. North Carolina Association of Broadcasters et al. 
note that the estimate for the proportion of the public file that is 
already filed with the Commission is based on categories of filings, 
and not the overall amount of paperwork that needs to be filed.
    125. Given the wide variations of most public files, we are not 
able to estimate the precise decrease in burdens that each station will 
undergo by no longer being responsible for placing in the public file 
items that are already filed by the Commission. But regardless whether 
the decrease in burdens is measured by category or by overall amount of 
paperwork, every station will have its burdens reduced by eliminating 
this duplicative requirement. We also understand that all stations will 
have an increased burden for the initial transition period from the 
paper public file to an online public file. We do not believe that this 
effort will be unduly burdensome on small entities, and we believe that 
any such burdens are trumped by the increased efficiencies that will 
result from such a transition.
    126. In any event, the Second Report and Order does not require any 
station to upload its existing political files, instead allowing 
stations to retain such materials at the station until those files 
expire after their two year retention period. All stations will only be 
required to upload political file material on a going-forward basis. In 
addition, the Commission is exempting all stations that are not in the 
top 50 DMAs and all stations not affiliated with the top four national 
television broadcast networks, regardless of the size of the market 
they serve, from having to post new political file materials online 
until July 1, 2014 from including their political file material in the 
online public file. After that date, those stations will be required to 
upload new political file material on a going-forward basis. This will 
enable non-affiliated broadcasters and smaller market broadcasters to 
have additional time to

[[Page 27655]]

familiarize themselves with the online filing requirements before they 
need to begin uploading their political files.
    127. Overall, in proposing rules governing an online public file 
requirement, we believe that we have appropriately balanced the 
interests of the public against the interests of the entities who will 
be subject to the rules, including those that are smaller entities.
Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule
    128. None.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    129. This document contains proposed information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, will invite the general public and the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection 
requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995.\12\ The Commission previously sought comment on 
how we might further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 or fewer employees.
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    \12\ Public Law 104-13. The Commission previously sought comment 
on these proposals. See 76 FR 72144 (Nov. 22, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    130. The Commission will send a copy of this Second Report and 
Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to 
the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

V. Ordering Clauses

    131. Accordingly, It is ordered that, pursuant to the authority 
contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i), 303, 307, and 315 of the 
Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 303, 307, 315, this 
Second Report and Order is adopted.
    132. It is further ordered that the requirement that stations place 
their new public inspection file documents on the Commission-hosted 
online public file shall be effective 30 days after the Commission 
publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval. 
Stations will be responsible for placing existing public file documents 
into the Commission-hosted online public file, with the exception of 
letters and emails from the public and the existing political file, as 
required by this Second Report and Order, within six months after the 
Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing OMB 
approval. Until July 1, 2014, stations not in the top 50 DMAs and all 
stations not affiliated with the top four networks, regardless of the 
size of the market they serve, are exempt from the requirement, under 
47 CFR 73.3526(b)(3) and 73.3527(b)(3), of filing their political file 
online.
    133. It is further ordered that the proceeding in MM Docket No. 00-
44 is terminated.
    134. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a 
copy of this Second Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 73

    Television broadcasting.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

Final Rules

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Federal Communications 
Commission amends 47 CFR part 73 as follows:

PART 73--RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES

0
1. The Authority citation for Part 73 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307, and 554.


0
2. Amend Sec.  73.1212 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  73.1212  Sponsorship identification; list retention; related 
requirements.

* * * * *
    (e) The announcement required by this section shall, in addition to 
stating the fact that the broadcast matter was sponsored, paid for or 
furnished, fully and fairly disclose the true identity of the person or 
persons, or corporation, committee, association or other unincorporated 
group, or other entity by whom or on whose behalf such payment is made 
or promised, or from whom or on whose behalf such services or other 
valuable consideration is received, or by whom the material or services 
referred to in paragraph (d) of this section are furnished. Where an 
agent or other person or entity contracts or otherwise makes 
arrangements with a station on behalf of another, and such fact is 
known or by the exercise of reasonable diligence, as specified in 
paragraph (b) of this section, could be known to the station, the 
announcement shall disclose the identity of the person or persons or 
entity on whose behalf such agent is acting instead of the name of such 
agent. Where the material broadcast is political matter or matter 
involving the discussion of a controversial issue of public importance 
and a corporation, committee, association or other unincorporated 
group, or other entity is paying for or furnishing the broadcast 
matter, the station shall, in addition to making the announcement 
required by this section, require that a list of the chief executive 
officers or members of the executive committee or of the board of 
directors of the corporation, committee, association or other 
unincorporated group, or other entity shall be made available for 
public inspection at the location specified under Sec.  73.3526. If the 
broadcast is originated by a network, the list may, instead, be 
retained at the headquarters office of the network or at the location 
where the originating station maintains its public inspection file 
under Sec.  73.3526. Such lists shall be kept and made available for a 
period of two years.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  73.1943 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  73.1943  Political file.

* * * * *
    (d) Location of the file. A television station licensee or 
applicant must post all of the contents added to its political file 
after the effective date of this paragraph in the political file 
component of its public file on the Commission's Web site. A television 
station must retain in its political file maintained at the station, at 
the location specified in Sec. Sec.  73.3526(b) or 73.3527(b), all 
material required to be included in the political file and added to the 
file prior to the effective date of this paragraph. The online 
political file must be updated in the same manner as paragraph (c) of 
this section.


0
4. Amend Sec.  73.3526 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  73.3526  Local public inspection file of commercial stations.

* * * * *
    (b) Location of the file. The public inspection file shall be 
located as follows:
    (1) For radio licensees, a hard copy of the public inspection file 
shall be maintained at the main studio of the station. For television 
licensees, letters and emails from the public, as required by paragraph 
(e)(9) of this section, shall be maintained at the main studio of the 
station. An applicant for a new station or change of community shall 
maintain its file at an accessible place in the

[[Page 27656]]

proposed community of license or at its proposed main studio.
    (2) A television station licensee or applicant shall place the 
contents required by paragraph (e) of this section of its public 
inspection file on the Commission's Web site, with the exception of 
letters and emails from the public as required by paragraph (e)(9) of 
this section, which shall be retained at the station in the manner 
discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; and the political file 
as required by paragraph (e)(6) of this section, as discussed in 
paragraph (b)(3) of this section. A station must provide a link to the 
public inspection file hosted on the Commission's Web site from the 
home page of its own Web site, if the station has a Web site, and 
provide contact information on its Web site for a station 
representative that can assist any person with disabilities with issues 
related to the content of the public files. A station also is required 
to include in the online public file the station's main studio address 
and telephone number, and the email address of the station's designated 
contact for questions about the public file. To the extent this section 
refers to the local public inspection file, it refers to the public 
file of an individual station, which is either maintained at the 
station or on the Commission's Web site, depending upon where the 
documents are required to be maintained under the Commission's rules.
    (3) A television station licensee or applicant shall place the 
contents required by paragraph (e)(6) of this section of its political 
inspection file on the Commission's Web site. Political inspection file 
material in existence 30 days after the effective date of this 
provision shall continue to be retained at the station in the manner 
discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of its 
retention period. Any station not in the top 50 DMAs, and any station 
not affiliated with one of the top four broadcast networks, regardless 
of the size of the market it serves, shall continue to retain the 
political file at the station in the manner discussed in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section until July 1, 2014. For these stations, 
effective July 1, 2014, any new political file material shall be placed 
on the Commission's Web site, while the material in the political file 
as of July 1, 2014, if not placed on the Commission's Web site, shall 
continue to be retained at the station in the manner discussed in 
paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of its retention period. 
However, any station that is not required to place its political file 
on the Commission's Web site before July 1, 2014 may choose to do so, 
instead of retaining the political file at the station in the manner 
discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
    (4) The Commission will automatically link the following items to 
the electronic version of all licensee and applicant public inspection 
files, to the extent that the Commission has these items 
electronically: authorizations, applications, contour maps; ownership 
reports and related materials; portions of the Equal Employment 
Opportunity file held by the Commission; ``The Public and 
Broadcasting''; Letters of Inquiry and other investigative information 
requests from the Commission, unless otherwise directed by the inquiry 
itself; Children's television programming reports; and DTV transition 
education reports. In the event that the online public file does not 
reflect such required information, the licensee will be responsible for 
posting such material.
* * * * *

0
5. Amend Sec.  73.3527 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  73.3527  Local public inspection file of noncommercial 
educational stations.

* * * * *
    (b) Location of the file. The public inspection file shall be 
located as follows:
    (1) For radio licensees, a hard copy of the public inspection file 
shall be maintained at the main studio of the station. An applicant for 
a new station or change of community shall maintain its file at an 
accessible place in the proposed community of license or at its 
proposed main studio.
    (2) A noncommercial educational television station licensee or 
applicant shall place the contents required by paragraph (e) of this 
section of its public inspection file on the Commission's Web site, 
with the exception of the political file as required by paragraph 
(e)(5) of this section, which may be retained at the station in the 
manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until July 1, 
2014. Effective July 1, 2014, any new political file material shall be 
placed on the Commission's Web site, while the material in the 
political file as of July 1, 2014, if not placed on the Commission's 
Web site, shall continue to be retained at the station in the manner 
discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of its 
retention period. However, any noncommercial educational station that 
is not required to place its political file on the Commission's Web 
site before July 1, 2014 may choose to do so instead of retaining the 
political file at the station in the manner discussed in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section. A station must provide a link to the public 
inspection file hosted on the Commission's Web site from the home page 
of its own Web site, if the station has a Web site, and provide contact 
information for a station representative on its Web site that can 
assist any person with disabilities with issues related to the content 
of the public files. A station also is required to include in the 
online public file the station's main studio address and telephone 
number, and the email address of the station's designated contact for 
questions about the public file. To the extent this section refers to 
the local public inspection file, it refers to the public file of an 
individual station, which is either maintained at the station or on the 
Commission's Web site, depending upon where the documents are required 
to be maintained under the Commission's rules.
    (3) The Commission will automatically link the following items to 
the electronic version of all licensee and applicant public inspection 
files, to the extent that the Commission has these items 
electronically: Authorizations; applications; contour maps; ownership 
reports and related materials; portions of the Equal Employment 
Opportunity file held by the Commission; and ``The Public and 
Broadcasting''.
* * * * *
0
6. Amend Sec.  73.3580 by revising paragraphs (d)(4)(i) introductory 
text and script and (d)(4)(ii) introductory text and script to read as 
follows:


Sec.  73.3580  Local public notice of filing of broadcast applications.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) Pre-filing announcements. During the period and beginning on 
the first day of the sixth calendar month prior to the expiration of 
the license, and continuing to the date on which the application is 
filed, the following announcement shall be broadcast on the 1st and 
16th day of each calendar month. Stations broadcasting primarily in a 
foreign language should broadcast the announcements in that language.
    Radio announcement: On (date of last renewal grant) (Station's call 
letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission 
to serve the public interest as a public trustee until (expiration 
date).
    Our license will expire on (date). We must file an application for 
renewal with the FCC (date four calendar months prior to expiration 
date). When filed, a copy of this application will be

[[Page 27657]]

available for public inspection during our regular business hours. It 
contains information concerning this station's performance during the 
last (period of time covered by the application). Individuals who wish 
to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application and to 
whether this station has operated in the public interest should file 
comments and petitions with the FCC by (date first day of last full 
calendar month prior to the month of expiration).
    Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal 
process is available at (address of location of the station's public 
inspection file) or may be obtained from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.
    Television announcement: On (date of last renewal grant) (Station's 
call letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications 
Commission to serve the public interest as a public trustee until 
(expiration date).
    Our license will expire on (date). We must file an application for 
renewal with the FCC (date four calendar months prior to expiration 
date). When filed, a copy of this application will be available for 
public inspection at www.fcc.gov. It contains information concerning 
this station's performance during the last (period of time covered by 
the application).
    Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our 
renewal application and to whether this station has operated in the 
public interest should file comments and petitions with the FCC by 
(date first day of last full calendar month prior to the month of 
expiration).
    Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal 
process is available at (address of location of the station) or may be 
obtained from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.
* * * * *
    (ii) Post-filing announcements. During the period beginning on the 
date on which the renewal application is filed to the sixteenth day of 
the next to last full calendar month prior to the expiration of the 
license, all applications for renewal of broadcast station licenses 
shall broadcast the following announcement on the 1st and 16th day of 
each calendar month. Stations broadcasting primarily in a foreign 
language should broadcast the announcements in that language.
    Television announcement: On (date of last renewal grant) (Station's 
call letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications 
Commission to serve the public interest as a public trustee until 
(expiration date).
    Our license will expire on (date). We have filed an application for 
renewal with the FCC.
    A copy of this application is available for public inspection at 
www.fcc.gov. It contains information concerning this station's 
performance during the last (period of time covered by application).
    Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our 
renewal application and to whether this station has operated in the 
public interest should file comments and petitions with the FCC by 
(date first day of last full calendar month prior to the month of 
expiration).
    Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal 
process is available at (address of location of the station) or may be 
obtained from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.
    Radio announcement: On (date of last renewal grant) (Station's call 
letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission 
to serve the public interest as a public trustee until (expiration 
date).
    Our license will expire on (date). We have filed an application for 
renewal with the FCC.
    A copy of this application is available for public inspection 
during our regular business hours. It contains information concerning 
this station's performance during the last (period of time covered by 
application).
    Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our 
renewal application and to whether this station has operated in the 
public interest should file comments and petitions with the FCC by 
(date first day of last full calendar month prior to the month of 
expiration).
    Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal 
process is available at (address of location of the station's public 
inspection file) or may be obtained from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.
* * * * *

[FR Doc. 2012-11065 Filed 5-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P