By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,
One of the first proposals in Chairman Pai’s initiative for the modernization of media regulation (see our post here from when the Chairman announced the initiative) was to repeal an FCC rule that many did not even know was a rule – one requiring that broadcasters who have secondary licenses maintain a paper copy of the FCC rules (surprisingly, the rule did not apply to licensees without secondary licenses for things such as boosters and translators). We wrote about the proposal to abolish this rule here. Not even waiting for the Commission meeting tomorrow at which this proposal was to be considered, the FCC issued its Report and Order February 20, repealing the rule. The Commission notes that station operators have a general obligation to be familiar with the rules that apply to their service, but there is no need to mandate a hard copy of the rules when rules can be accessed from other sources, in more current versions, electronically.
This is but one small step in removing unnecessary FCC regulation – but it is one in the right direction. We look forward to more such actions on more substantive topics in the coming months.
David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).
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Comment Dates set on FCC Contract Filings
In an effort to modernize the rules applied to broadcasters, the FCC initiated another proceeding seeking comment on whether and how to update the requirement that licensees file paper copies of certain contracts and other documents with the agency within 30 days of their execution. As a result of the publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, comments are due on March 19 and reply comments are due on April 2.