Public Inspection File Backlogs Must Be Uploaded by Feb. 4

WASHINGTON – Broadcasters must have their public file documents uploaded by Feb. 4. The deadline applies to materials that were already in TV station’s physical public inspection files before Aug. 2, 2012, when the Federal Communications Commission started requiring full-power and Class A TV stations to upload them in a centralized database.

Public inspection files include licenses and related documents, equal opportunity reports, applications, ownership reports, children’s programming reports and political ad disclosures. All such materials were required to be uploaded to the FCC database starting last August, while the upcoming Feb. 4 deadline excludes political files, letters and emails from the public generated prior to Aug. 2, 2012. Those materials must be maintained, however, in hard-copy form for the required two-year retention period.

TV and radio stations traditionally were required to keep hard-copy public inspection files at their main studio, but the FCC last year moved TV station files online effective Aug. 2. Stations were given another six months to upload retained files online. That period ends on Monday.