47 CFR § 73.3527 - Local public inspection file of noncommercial educational stations.

§ 73.3527 Local public inspection file of noncommercial educational stations.
Link to an amendment published at 84 FR 45668, Aug. 30, 2019.

(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 noncommercial educational broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file containing the material, relating to that station, described in paragraph (e)(2) and (e)(11) 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, or TV station in the noncommercial educational broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file containing the material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(11) of this section. In addition, every permittee or licensee of a noncommercial educational TV station shall maintain for public inspection a file containing material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(12) 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 an accessible place in the community of license until March 1, 2018, except that, as discussed in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, any radio station may voluntarily place its public inspection file in the online public file hosted by the Commission before March 1, 2018, if it chooses to do so, instead of retaining the file at an accessible place in the community of license. 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 noncommercial educational television station licensee or applicant 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)(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 in the online public file hosted by the Commission, while the material in the political file as of July 1, 2014, if not placed in the Commission's online public file, 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 in the online public 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)(2)(i), 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 73.3527(b)(1) (2016).

(ii) Beginning March 1, 2018, noncommercial educational radio station licensees and applicants shall place the contents required by paragraph (e) of this section in the online public inspection file hosted by the Commission. For these stations, effective March 1, 2018, any new political file material shall be placed in the Commission's online public file, while the material in the political file as of March 1, 2018, if not placed in the Commission's online public file, 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 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.?>

(iii) A station must provide a link to the online public inspection file hosted by the Commission 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 hosted by the Commission 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) 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”.

(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§ 73.3527(c)(1)), excluding the political file (see§ 73.3527(e)(5)), 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 protected service contour in a particular service: Grade B contour for TV, 1 mVm 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, including supporting documentation of any points claimed in the application pursuant to § 73.7003, and copies of FCC decisions 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)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.

(4)Ownership reports and related materials. A copy of the most recent, complete ownership report filed with the FCC for the station, together with any subsequent statement 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 maintain 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.

(5)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).

(6)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.

(7)The Public and Broadcasting. At all times, a copy of the most recent version of the manual entitled “The Public and Broadcasting.”

(8)Issues/Programs lists. For nonexempt noncommercial educational 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.

(9)Donor lists. The lists of donors supporting specific programs. These lists shall be retained for two years from the date of the broadcast of the specific program supported.

(10)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).

(11)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.

(12)Must-carry requests. Noncommercial television stations requesting mandatory carriage on any cable system pursuant to §§ 76.56, 76.1614, 76.1620, and 76.1709 of this chapter shall place a copy of such request in its public file and shall retain both the request and relevant correspondence for the duration of any period to which the request applies.

(13) [Reserved]

(14)Information on Third-Party Fundraising. For noncommercial educational broadcast stations that interrupt regular programming to conduct fundraising activities on behalf of a third-party non-profit organization pursuant to § 73.503(e) (FM stations) or § 73.621(f) (television stations), every three months, the following information for each third-party fundraising program or activity: The date, time, and duration of the fundraiser; the type of fundraising activity; the name of the non-profit organization benefitted by the fundraiser; a brief description of the specific cause or project, if any, supported by the fundraiser; and, to the extent that the station participated in tallying or receiving any funds for the non-profit group, an approximation of the total funds raised. The information 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.).

(f)

(1) For purposes of this section, a decision made with respect to an application tendered with the FCC becomes final when that decision 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 49499, Sept. 16, 1998, as amended at 64 FR 35947, July 2, 1999; 65 FR 7457, Feb. 15, 2000; 65 FR 36378, June 8, 2000; 65 FR 53614, Sept. 5, 2000; 73 FR 15450, Mar. 24, 2008; 73 FR 36283, June 26, 2008; 76 FR 71269, Nov. 17, 2011; 77 FR 27656, May 11, 2012; 81 FR 10123, Feb. 29, 2016; 82 FR 21136, May 5, 2017; 82 FR 57883, Dec. 8, 2017; 82 FR 59987, Dec. 18, 2017; 83 FR 5545, Feb. 8, 2018; 83 FR 65558, Dec. 21, 2018]