FCC Allows Broadcasters to Share Public Notices Online

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC is allowing broadcasters to go digital when it comes to local public notices, after the commission approved new regulations that will allow for online notices over previous requirements for print and on-air notices.

In a unanimous vote during the FCC’s May open meeting, the news rules were meant to streamline and standardize the set of requirements for broadcast applicants to meet their local public notice requirements.

Certain applications, like for license renewal or transfers of control, TV and radio stations are required to give notice to their communities so they can participate in the broadcast licensing process. Prior to this new order, requirements were different among broadcasters—some had to provide written notice in the print edition of a local newspaper, others had to broadcast on-air messages, while some had to do both.

With the new rules, the newspaper requirement is replaced by posting a written public notice online on a publicly accessible website that includes a link to the application. On-air notices, meanwhile, should direct listeners and viewers to the FCC’s online databases for viewing and commenting on the application.

In addition, the new order eliminates pre-filing announcements and clarifies the local public notice obligations of international broadcast stations and low-power FM stations.

The commission says that the new rules simplifies public notice requirements and reduces the costs and burdens of existing procedures.

NAB's Senior Vice President of Communications Ann Marie Cumming shared the following statement on the FCC's vote:

“NAB thanks the FCC for unanimously approving the simplification of rules governing broadcasters’ public notice of license renewals and modifications. Today’s vote will help bring the licensing process for local radio and TV stations into the modern age. Local broadcasters appreciate the efforts of Chairman Pai and the FCC to modernize archaic rules and ease outdated regulatory burdens.”