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

§ 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 temporarily exempt from the online public file hosted by the Commission, as discussed in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a hard copy of the public inspection file shall be maintained at an accessible place in the community of license, unless the licensee elects voluntarily to place the file online as discussed in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. An applicant for a new station or change of community shall maintain its file at an accessible place in the proposed community of license. If as of January 8, 2018 a broadcast station maintains a hard copy of all or a portion of its public inspection file at a main studio that either complied with the Commission's main studio rule (47 CFR 73.1125 (2016)) but is not within the station's community of license, or was deemed a permissible location for the station's public inspection file pursuant to a waiver of the main studio rule, and if the station retains that studio, then that studio is a permissible location for the station's hard copy public inspection file. Any reference in this section to “an accessible place in the community of license” shall be deemed to include such a studio.

(2)

(i) A television station licensee or applicant, and any radio station licensee or applicant not temporarily exempt as described in this paragraph (b)(2)(i), shall place the contents required by paragraph (e) of this section of its public inspection file in the online public file hosted by the Commission, with the exception of the political file as required by paragraph (e)(6) of this section, as discussed in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. Any radio station not in the top 50 Nielsen Audio markets, and any radio station with fewer than five full-time employees, shall continue to retain the public inspection file at an accessible place in the community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until March 1, 2018. However, any radio station that is not required to place its public inspection file in the online public file hosted by the Commission before March 1, 2018 may choose to do so, instead of retaining the public inspection file at an accessible place in the community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(ii) 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 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 an accessible place in the community of license or on the Commission's Web site, depending upon where the documents are required to be maintained under the Commission's rules.

(3)

(i) A licensee or applicant shall place the contents required by paragraph (e)(6) of this section of its political inspection file in the online public file hosted by the Commission. Political inspection file material already in existence 30 days after the effective date of this provision, if not placed in the online public file hosted by the Commission, shall continue to be retained at an accessible place in the community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of its retention period.

(ii) Any television 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 in the online file hosted by the Commission, while the material in the political file as of July 1, 2014, if not placed in 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 in the online file hosted by the Commission 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. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(ii), the “manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section” refers to maintaining a hard copy of the public inspection file at the main studio of the station as described in paragraph (b)(1) prior to January 8, 2018. See47 CFR 73.3526(b)(1) (2016).

(iii) Any radio station not in the top 50 Nielsen Audio markets, and any radio station with fewer than five full-time employees, shall continue to retain the political file at an accessible place in the community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until March 1, 2018. For these stations, effective March 1, 2018, any new political file material shall be placed in the online public file hosted by the Commission, while the material already existing in the political file as of March 1, 2018, if not placed in the online public file hosted by the Commission, shall continue to be retained at an accessible place in the community of license 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 March 1, 2018, may choose to do so, instead of retaining the political file at an accessible place in the community of license 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) For any applicant, permittee, or licensee that does not include all material described in paragraph (e) of this section in the online public file hosted by the Commission, the portion of the file that is not included in the online public file shall be available for public inspection at any time during regular business hours at an accessible place in the community of license. The applicant, permittee, or licensee must provide information regarding the location of the file, or the applicable portion of the file, within one business day of a request for such information. 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 public file outside its community of license (see paragraph (b)(1) of this section) 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)

(i)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.

(ii) 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 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 station documents listed in § 73.3613(a) through (c) or an up-to-date list of such documents. If the permittee or licensee elects to maintain an up-to-date list of such documents, the list must include all the information that the permittee or licensee is required to provide on ownership reports for each document, including, but not limited to, a description of the document, the parties to the document, the month and year of execution, the month and year of expiration, and the document type (e.g., network affiliation agreement, articles of incorporation, bylaws, management consultant agreement with independent contractor). Regardless of which of these two options the permittee or licensee chooses, it must update the inventory of § 73.3613 documents in the public file to reflect newly executed § 73.3613 documents, amendments, supplements, and cancellations within 30 days of execution thereof. Licensees and permittees that choose to retain a list of § 73.3613 documents must provide a copy of any § 73.3613 document(s) to requesting parties within 7 days. In maintaining copies of such documents in the public file or providing copies upon request, confidential or proprietary information may be redacted where appropriate.

(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) [Reserved]

(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.

(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 agreements shall be placed in the public file within 30 days of execution and retained in the file 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. These agreements shall be placed in the public file within 30 days of execution and retained in the file as long as the contract or agreement is in force.

(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.

(18)Shared service agreements. For commercial television stations, a copy of every Shared Service Agreement for the station (with the substance of oral agreements reported in writing), regardless of whether the agreement involves commercial television stations in the same market or in different markets, with confidential or proprietary information redacted where appropriate. For purposes of this paragraph, a Shared Service Agreement is any agreement or series of agreements in which:

(1) A station provides any station-related services, including, but not limited to, administrative, technical, sales, and/or programming support, to a station that is not directly or indirectly under common de jure control permitted under the Commission's regulations; or

(2) Stations that are not directly or indirectly under common de jure control permitted under the Commission's regulations collaborate to provide or enable the provision of station-related services, including, but not limited to, administrative, technical, sales, and/or programming support, to one or more of the collaborating stations. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “station” includes the licensee, including any subsidiaries and affiliates, and any other individual or entity with an attributable interest in the station.

(f)

(1) 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.

(2) 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 chapter 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; 81 FR 10123, Feb. 29, 2016; 81 FR 76262, Nov. 1, 2016; 82 FR 11412, Feb. 23, 2017; 82 FR 57882, Dec. 8, 2017; 82 FR 59987, Dec. 18, 2017; 83 FR 5544, Feb. 8, 2018; 83 FR 65557, Dec 21, 2018]