[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 82 (Tuesday, April 29, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23920-23921]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09761]



47 CFR Part 73

[MM Docket No. 00-168; DA 14-464]

Television Broadcasters; Online Political File Deadline

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Compliance date deadline.


SUMMARY: The Media Bureau reminds television stations not affiliated 
with the top four national networks and those licensed to markets below 
the top 50 that they must begin to comply with the online political 
file rules on July 1, 2014.

DATES: Effective April 29, 2014. Deadline for compliance is July 1, 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Matthews, Media Bureau, Policy 
Division, 202-418-2154, or email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Media Bureau's 
document in MM Docket No. 00-168, DA 14-464, released on April 4, 2014. 
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., Room CY-A257, 
Washington, DC 20554. The complete text may be purchased from the 
Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, 
Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS at 
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Documents will be available 
electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. 
Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities 
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format) by sending an 
email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 
    1. In the Second Report and Order in MM Docket Nos. 00-168 and 00-
44, 77 FR 27631 (May 11, 2012),\1\ the Commission required broadcast 
television stations to post their public files online in a Commission-
hosted database rather than maintaining the files locally at their main 
studios.\2\ With respect to political file documents that must be 
maintained in the public file, stations affiliated with the top four 
national networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox) licensed to serve 
communities in the top 50 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) were required 
to post political file documents online beginning August 2, 2012, but 
all other stations were exempted from posting their political file 
documents to their online public file until July 1, 2014.\3\

    \1\ Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for 
Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations, Extension 
of the Filing Requirement for Children's Television Programming 
Report, Second Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4535 (2012) (``Second 
Report and Order'').
    \2\ 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, including a 
political file. See 47 CFR 73.3526(a)(2) and 73.3527(a)(2).
    \3\ See Second Report and Order, 77 FR at 27632, paragraph.3. On 
August 2, 2012, television stations that were not exempt were 
required to start uploading documents to the online file on a going-
forward basis. With respect to public file documents other than 
political file material, stations were given six months, until 
February 4, 2013, to complete the process of uploading their 
existing public file. Id. at 4580-81, paragraph. 98. See also 
Television Broadcast Stations Reminded of their Online Public 
Inspection File Obligations, Public Notice, MM Docket Nos. 00-168 
and 00-44, DA 12-2003, rel. Dec. 11, 2012. Stations are not required 
to upload their political files as they existed prior to the 
relevant deadline to the online database; rather, they are required 
only to upload new political file content on a going-forward basis. 
See Second Report and Order, 77 FR at 27632, paragraph 2 and at 
27637, paragraph 33. Existing political file documents not required 
to be uploaded to the online file must continue to be maintained at 
the station, however, until the end of the two-year retention 
period. See 47 CFR 73.3526(e)(6) and 73.3527(e)(5).

    2. This document is a reminder to television stations not 
affiliated with the top four national networks and those licensed to 
markets below the top 50 that they must begin to comply on July 1, 
2014.\4\ As noted above, on that date stations that are currently 
exempt must start uploading new political file material on a going-
forward basis.\5\ These stations are not required to upload political 
files placed in their public file prior to July 1, 2014; however, they 
are required to retain those documents at the station until the end of 
the two-year retention period.\6\ Given that these television stations 
have already been required to use the online public file for documents 
other than the political file since August 2, 2012, we do not expect 
them to have difficulty determining how to upload new political file 
documents to the online file.

    \4\ In the Second Report and Order, the Commission stated that, 
by July 1, 2013, the Media Bureau would issue a Public Notice 
seeking comment on the impact of the online posting requirement for 
the political file so that the Commission can consider whether any 
changes should be made to the requirement before it takes effect for 
other stations. See Second Report and Order, 77 FR at 27632, 
paragraph 3. Consistent with this commitment, the Media Bureau 
issued a Public Notice on June 25, 2013 seeking comment on, among 
other things, the experience of stations currently subject to the 
online political file requirement in posting their political files 
to the Commission-hosted database and the ability of stations that 
are currently exempt from the political posting requirement to 
comply with the July 1, 2014 deadline. Media Bureau Seeks Comment on 
Online Political File and Petition for Reconsideration Filed by the 
Television Station Group, Public Notice, MM Docket No. 00-168, DA 
13-1440, 78 FR 41014, rel. June 25, 2013. The Media Bureau also 
sought comment on the Petition for Reconsideration filed by the 
Television Station Group which requests that the Commission 
reconsider the online political file requirement in the Second 
Report and Order. The Commission has not acted upon that Public 
Notice, or in any way altered the online political file requirement 
or the July 1, 2014 deadline for compliance by television stations 
that are currently exempt. Therefore, the requirement as codified--
the July 1, 2014 compliance deadline for stations not subject to the 
2012 deadline--still stands. 47 CFR 73.3526(b)(3).
    \5\ We also remind all television broadcasters subject to the 
political file rules that documents must be placed in, or uploaded 
to, the file as soon as possible. Section 73.1943(c) of the 
Commission's rules provides that records ``shall be placed in the 
political file as soon as possible and shall be retained for a 
period of two years. As soon as possible means immediately absent 
unusual circumstances.'' 47 CFR 73.1943(c).
    \6\ See, supra, note 3.

    3. Members of the public and broadcasters will find answers to 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on

[[Page 23921]]

the FCC's Web site (https://stations.fcc.gov/) if they have questions. 
For further information, you can contact the Licensing Support Hotline 
at (877) 480-3201 option 2, (717) 338-2888, or (717) 338-2824 (TTY). 
The Hotline is available to assist with questions Monday through Friday 
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. You may also submit requests and report any 
errors or problems with the online sites at https://esupport.fcc.gov/request.htm. In order to provide better service, all calls to the 
Hotline are recorded.

Federal Communications Commission.
William T. Lake,
Chief, Media Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2014-09761 Filed 4-28-14; 8:45 am]