WASHINGTON—The FCC is giving broadcasters extra time to file their biennial ownership reports, saying it wants to finish up some technical improvements to the filing process that will benefit both broadcasters and the FCC's data collection.
Every two years, TV and radio stations have to provide current (as of Oct. 1) reports on who owns (all attributable interests in) the station (Form 323/323-E).
The FCC would have opened the filing window Oct. 1, but will now wait until Nov. 1. The filing deadline will be extended by two months from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, 2020, meaning broadcasters will have almost three months to file rather than two, a longer window the FCC attributed to the fact that the new window now includes the holidays.
The move was not in response to a request by broadcasters but on the Media Bureau's own initiative.
Michelle Carey, chief of the Media Bureau, explained why in an order released this week.
"Postponing the start of the filing window will ensure sufficient time to properly implement additional technical improvements to the [Reporting] Form, including copying and pre-filling capabilities within the Commission’s electronic filing system. We believe that filers will benefit significantly from these burden-reducing capabilities and that delaying the opening of the filing window will ensure these enhancements are available to all filers at the start of the filing window. Successful implementation of these improvements to the system will simplify the filing experience and ultimately enhance the data collection."