47 CFR 73.3526 - Local public inspection file of commercial stations.

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§ 73.3526 Local public inspection file of commercial stations.
(a) Responsibility to maintain a file. The following shall maintain for public inspection a file containing the material set forth in this section.
(1) Applicants for a construction permit for a new station in the commercial broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file containing the material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(10) of this section. A separate file shall be maintained for each station for which an application is pending. If the application is granted, paragraph (a)(2) of this section shall apply.
(2) Every permittee or licensee of an AM, FM, TV or Class A TV station in the commercial broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file containing the material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(10) and paragraph (e)(13) of this section. In addition, every permittee or licensee of a commercial TV or Class A TV station shall maintain for public inspection a file containing material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(11) and (e)(15) of this section, and every permittee or licensee of a commercial AM or FM station shall maintain for public inspection a file containing the material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(12) and (e)(14) of this section. A separate file shall be maintained for each station for which an authorization is outstanding, and the file shall be maintained so long as an authorization to operate the station is outstanding.
(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 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.
(c) Access to material in the file.
(1) The file shall be available for public inspection at any time during regular business hours. All or part of the file may be maintained in a computer database, as long as a computer terminal is made available, at the location of the file, to members of the public who wish to review the file. Material in the public inspection file shall be made available for printing or machine reproduction upon request made in person. The applicant, permittee, or licensee may specify the location for printing or reproduction, require the requesting party to pay the reasonable cost thereof, and may require guarantee of payment in advance (e.g., by requiring a deposit, obtaining credit card information, or any other reasonable method). Requests for copies shall be fulfilled within a reasonable period of time, which generally should not exceed 7 days.
(2) The applicant, permittee, or licensee who maintains its main studio and public file outside its community of license shall:
(i) Make available to persons within its geographic service area, by mail upon telephone request, photocopies of documents in the file (see§ 73.3526(c)(1)), excluding the political file (see§ 73.3526(e)(6)), and the station shall pay postage;
(ii) Mail the most recent version of “The Public and Broadcasting” to any member of the public that requests a copy; and
(iii) Be prepared to assist members of the public in identifying the documents they may ask to be sent to them by mail, for example, by describing to the caller, if asked, the period covered by a particular report and the number of pages included in the report.
Note to paragraph (c)(2):
For purposes of this section, geographic service area includes the area within the Grade B contour for TV, 1 mV/m contour for all FM station classes except .7 mV/m for Class B1 stations and .5 mV/m for Class B stations, and .5 mV/m contour for AM stations.
(d) Responsibility in case of assignment or transfer.
(1) In cases involving applications for consent to assignment of broadcast station construction permits or licenses, with respect to which public notice is required to be given under the provisions of § 73.3580 or § 73.3594, the file mentioned in paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained by the assignor. If the assignment is consented to by the FCC and consummated, the assignee shall maintain the file commencing with the date on which notice of the consummation of the assignment is filed with the FCC. The assignee shall retain public file documents obtained from the assignor for the period required under these rules.
(2) In cases involving applications for consent to transfer of control of a permittee or licensee of a broadcast station, the file mentioned in paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained by the permittee or licensee.
(e) Contents of the file. The material to be retained in the public inspection file is as follows:
(1) Authorization. A copy of the current FCC authorization to construct or operate the station, as well as any other documents necessary to reflect any modifications thereto or any conditions that the FCC has placed on the authorization. These materials shall be retained until replaced by a new authorization, at which time a copy of the new authorization and any related materials shall be placed in the file.
(2) Applications and related materials. A copy of any application tendered for filing with the FCC, together with all related material, and copies of Initial Decisions and Final Decisions in hearing cases pertaining thereto. If petitions to deny are filed against the application and have been served on the applicant, a statement that such a petition has been filed shall be maintained in the file together with the name and address of the party filing the petition. Applications shall be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the application, except that applications for a new construction permit granted pursuant to a waiver showing and applications for assignment or transfer of license granted pursuant to a waiver showing shall be retained for as long as the waiver is in effect. In addition, license renewal applications granted on a short-term basis shall be retained until final action has been taken on the license renewal application filed immediately following the shortened license term.
(3) Citizen agreements. A copy of every written citizen agreement. These agreements shall be retained for the term of the agreement, including any renewal or extension thereof.
Note to paragraph (e)(3):
For purposes of this section, a citizen agreement is a written agreement between a broadcast applicant, permittee, or licensee, and one or more citizens or citizen groups, entered for primarily noncommercial purposes. This definition includes those agreements that deal with goals or proposed practices directly or indirectly affecting station operations in the public interest, in areas such as—but not limited to—programming and employment. It excludes common commercial agreements such as advertising contracts; union, employment, and personal services contracts; network affiliation, syndication, program supply contracts, etc. However, the mere inclusion of commercial terms in a primarily noncommercial agreement—such as a provision for payment of fees for future services of the citizen-parties (see “Report and Order,” Docket 19518, 57 FCC 2d 494 (1976))—would not cause the agreement to be considered commercial for purposes of this section.
(4) Contour maps. 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 (State, county, city, street address, or other identifying information). These documents shall be retained for as long as they reflect current, accurate information regarding the station.
(5) Ownership reports and related materials. A copy of the most recent, complete ownership report filed with the FCC for the station, together with any statements filed with the FCC certifying that the current report is accurate, and together with all related material. These materials shall be retained until a new, complete ownership report is filed with the FCC, at which time a copy of the new report and any related materials shall be placed in the file. The permittee or licensee must retain in the public file either a copy of the contracts listed in such reports in accordance with § 73.3615(a)(4)(i), or an up-to-date list of such contracts. Licensees or permittees who choose to retain a list of contracts must provide a copy of any contracts to requesting parties within 7 days.
(6) Political file. Such records as are required by § 73.1943 to be kept concerning broadcasts by candidates for public office. These records shall be retained for the period specified in § 73.1943 (2 years).
(7) Equal Employment Opportunity file. Such information as is required by § 73.2080 to be kept in the public inspection file. These materials shall be retained until final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal application.
(8) The public and broadcasting. At all times, a copy of the most recent version of the manual entitled “The Public and Broadcasting.”
(9) Letters and e-mail from the public.
(i) All written comments and suggestions received from the public regarding operation of the station, unless the letter writer has requested that the letter not be made public or when the licensee feels that it should be excluded from public inspection because of the nature of its content, such as a defamatory or obscene letter. Letters and electronic mail messages shall be retained for a period of three years from the date on which they are received by the licensee.
(ii) For purposes of this section, written comments and suggestions received from the public include electronic mail messages transmitted via the internet to station management or an e-mail address publicized by the station. Personal e-mail messages sent to station employees need not be retained. Licensees may retain e-mails either on paper or in a computer file. Licensees who choose to maintain a computer file of e-mails may make the file available to the public either by providing the public with access to a computer terminal at the location of the public file, or providing the public with a copy of such e-mails on computer diskette, upon request. In the case of identical communications, licensees and permittees may retain one sample copy of the letter or electronic mail message together with a list identifying other parties who sent identical communications.
(10) Material relating to FCC investigation or complaint. Material having a substantial bearing on a matter which is the subject of an FCC investigation or complaint to the FCC of which the applicant, permittee, or licensee has been advised. This material shall be retained until the applicant, permittee, or licensee is notified in writing that the material may be discarded.
(11)
(i) TV issues/programs lists. For commercial TV and Class A broadcast stations, every three months a list of programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period. The list for each calendar quarter is to be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter (e.g., January 10 for the quarter October—December, April 10 for the quarter January—March, etc.) The list shall include a brief narrative describing what issues were given significant treatment and the programming that provided this treatment. The description of the programs shall include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date, duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. The lists described in this paragraph shall be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal application.
(ii) Records concerning commercial limits. For commercial TV and Class A TV broadcast stations, records sufficient to permit substantiation of the station's certification, in its license renewal application, of compliance with the commercial limits on children's programming established in 47 U.S.C. 303a and 47 CFR 73.670. The records for each calendar quarter must be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter (e.g., January 10 for the quarter October-December, April 10 for the quarter January-March, etc.). These records shall be retained until final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal application.
(iii) Children's television programming reports. For commercial TV broadcast stations, both analog and digital, on a quarterly basis, a completed Children's Television Programming Report (“Report”), on FCC Form 398, reflecting efforts made by the licensee during the preceding quarter, and efforts planned for the next quarter, to serve the educational and informational needs of children. The Report for each quarter is to be placed in the public inspection file by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter. By this date, a copy of the Report for each quarter is also to be filed electronically with the FCC. The Report shall identify the licensee's educational and informational programming efforts, including programs aired by the station that are specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children, and it shall explain how programs identified as Core Programming meet the definition set forth in § 73.671(c). The Report shall include the name of the individual at the station responsible for collecting comments on the station's compliance with the Children's Television Act, and it shall be separated from other materials in the public inspection file. The Report shall also identify the program guide publishers to which information regarding the licensee's educational and informational programming was provided as required in § 73.673, as well as the station's license renewal date. These Reports shall be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal application. Licensees shall publicize in an appropriate manner the existence and location of these Reports.
(iv) DTV transition education reports. For full-power commercial TV broadcast stations, both analog and digital, on a quarterly basis, a completed Form 388, DTV Consumer Education Quarterly Activity Report. The Report for each quarter is to be placed in the public inspection file by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter. By this date, a copy of the Report for each quarter must be filed electronically using the Commission's Consolidated DataBase System (CDBS). Stations electing to conform to the requirements of § 73.674(b) must also provide the form on the station's public Web site, if such exists. The Report shall be separated from other materials in the public inspection file. The first Report, covering the first quarter of 2008, must be filed no later than April 10, 2008. The Reports must continue to be included up to and including the quarter in which a station concludes its education campaign. These Reports shall be retained in the public inspection file for one year. Licensees and permittees shall publicize in an appropriate manner the existence and location of these Reports.
(12) Radio issues/programs lists. For commercial AM and FM broadcast stations, every three months a list of programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period. The list for each calendar quarter is to be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter (e.g., January 10 for the quarter October—December, April 10 for the quarter January—March, etc.). The list shall include a brief narrative describing what issues were given significant treatment and the programming that provided this treatment. The description of the programs shall include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date, duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. The lists described in this paragraph shall be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal application.
(13) Local public notice announcements. Each applicant for renewal of license shall, within 7 days of the last day of broadcast of the local public notice of filing announcements required pursuant to § 73.3580(h), place in the station's local public inspection file a statement certifying compliance with this requirement. The dates and times that the pre-filing and post-filing notices were broadcast and the text thereof shall be made part of the certifying statement. The certifying statement shall be retained in the public file for the period specified in § 73.3580 (for as long as the application to which it refers).
(14) Radio and television time brokerage agreements. For commercial radio and television stations, a copy of every agreement or contract involving time brokerage of the licensee's station or of another station by the licensee, whether the agreement involves stations in the same markets or in differing markets, with confidential or proprietary information redacted where appropriate. These records shall be retained as long as the contract or agreement is in force.
(15) Must-carry or retransmission consent election. Statements of a commercial television or Class A television station's election with respect to either must-carry or re-transmission consent, as defined in §§ 76.64 and 76.1608 of this chapter. These records shall be retained for the duration of the three year election period to which the statement applies.
(16) Radio and television joint sales agreements. For commercial radio and commercial television stations, a copy of agreement for the joint sale of advertising time involving the station, whether the agreement involves stations in the same markets or in differing markets, with confidential or proprietary information redacted where appropriate.
(17) Class A TV continuing eligibility. Documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the Class A television station is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements set forth at § 73.6001.
Note 1 to paragraph (e):
For purposes of this section, action taken on an application tendered with the FCC becomes final when that action is no longer subject to reconsideration, review, or appeal either at the FCC or in the courts.
Note 2 to paragraph (e):
For purposes of this section, the term “all related material” includes all exhibits, letters, and other documents tendered for filing with the FCC as part of an application, report, or other document, all amendments to the application, report, or other document, copies of all documents incorporated therein by reference and not already maintained in the public inspection file, and all correspondence between the FCC and the applicant pertaining to the application, report, or other document, which according to the provisions of §§ 0.451 through 0.461 of this part are open for public inspection at the offices of the FCC.
[63 FR 49497, Sept. 16, 1998, as amended at 63 FR 70049, Dec. 18, 1998; 64 FR 35947, July 2, 1999; 64 FR 50645, Sept. 17, 1999; 65 FR 7457, Feb. 15, 2000; 65 FR 30006, May 10, 2000; 65 FR 53614, Sept. 5, 2000; 65 FR 67288, Nov. 9, 2000; 70 FR 38, Jan. 3, 2005; 73 FR 15450, Mar. 24, 2008; 73 FR 36283, June 26, 2008; 76 FR 71269, Nov. 17, 2011; 77 FR 27655, May 11, 2012]
Effective Date Note:
At 70 FR 38, Jan. 3, 2005, § 73.3526 was amended by revising paragraph (e)(11)(iii). This paragraph contains information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

Title 47 published on 2013-10-01

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  • 2014-12-18; vol. 79 # 243 - Thursday, December 18, 2014
    1. 79 FR 75433 - Radio Broadcasting Services; Various Locations
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      Final rule.
      Effective December 18, 2014.
      47 CFR Part 73

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United States Code

Title 47 published on 2013-10-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 47 CFR 73 after this date.

  • 2014-12-19; vol. 79 # 244 - Friday, December 19, 2014
    1. 79 FR 75773 - Broadcast Licensee-Conducted Contests
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      Proposed rule.
      Comments are due on or before February 17, 2015; reply comments are due on or before March 19, 2015. Written comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act proposed information collection requirements must be submitted by the public, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other interested parties on or before February 17, 2015.
      47 CFR Part 73