RTNDA protests commission’s Enhanced Disclosure Order

The association has joined station owners and other organizations in objecting to the FCC’s new Enhanced Disclosure Order that it says will place a heavy regulatory reporting burden on broadcasters.
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The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) has joined a coalition of broadcast station owners and media organizations to protest the FCC’s Enhanced Disclosure Order.

The rules adopted in the order would require TV stations to compile and provide to the FCC extraordinarily detailed information about programming, as well as particulars about how a station ascertained the needs of its community and made programming decisions accordingly.

The quarterly filings would require TV stations to report more extensively than ever before about various program categories, including news, local civic affairs, local electoral affairs, religious programming, independently-produced programming, local programming, programming targeted toward underserved communities and PSAs. The FCC’s new form also asks each station to describe how it has ascertained the programming needs of its community, whether it met the FCC's closed-captioning requirements and provided video description, what emergency information it broadcast during the quarter and whether the station has entered into a local marketing, joint sales or any other such agreement.

The RTNDA’s filing included information gathered through a field test of the form conducted by three TV stations and demonstrates that the form would impose an “inordinate, unreasonable and undue burden” on broadcasters. At the same time, the form has no public interest value, because it “would produce results that are subjective, inconsistent, obscure, impenetrable and totally inconclusive,” the filing said.

Editor’s note: Also see “ Heavy compliance burden of Enhanced Disclosure Order exceeds OMB threshold, says NAB.”