WASHINGTON, DC—The ongoing federal government shutdown is having a far-reaching impact on many private businesses. This includes the radio and television industry, as the shutdown has disrupted some normal FCC services.
Womble Bond Dickinson attorney John Garziglia writes about those issues in a new Radio Ink article.
"The most immediate concern is that the FCC has terminated public and broadcast station access to all online public files during the shutdown," Garziglia said. "New material cannot now be uploaded to broadcast station online public files, and the public cannot view them." This is particularly relevant with a scheduled Jan. 10 deadline for stations to upload 4 th quarter issues files to the FCC website.
Garziglia said stations should go ahead and prepare that file as normal. Once the shutdown ends, stations will be required to upload the file on the second day of normal FCC business operations, so stations can avoid the crunch by getting it done now.
As far as a station's political files are concerned, the FCC requires stations to provide the public with a back-up option if normal FCC services are interrupted.
"This now appears to be one of those 'rare' times," Garziglia said. A station's back-up file may be digital or paper. It may be difficult for stations to reproduce a full copy of their political file, Garziglia said, but if someone requests it, they should make the best possible effort to make such documents available.
"If you think someone is trying to trap you or otherwise take advantage of the shutdown to test the availability of such documents, I encourage you to immediately consult with your communications law counsel," he said.
Other FCC activity at a standstill includes:
- FCC applications for assignments and transfers of licenses;
- Facility modification applications;
- Call sign changes; and
- Other routine applications.
Click here to read "Should You Worry the FCC is Closed?" in Radio Ink.
John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.