As the government shutdown enters its third week, we write with a few reminders for broadcasters regarding FCC filings:

  • FCC Filing Deadlines Extended.  The FCC has extended normal filing deadlines so that FCC submissions that would be due during the ongoing shutdown period will instead be due on the second day after the resumption of normal FCC operations.
  • Continue to Prepare Filings.  Since we do not know when the government shutdown will end, broadcasters should continue prepare their filings that would otherwise be due, were it not for the shutdown.  This includes, for example, the following filings that would be due January 10 if government operations were running on a normal schedule:
    • Issues/Programs Lists covering the period October 1 - December 31, 2018;
    • Children's Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398) covering the fourth quarter of 2018;
    • Records for upload to OPIF (online public inspection file) demonstrating compliance in fourth quarter 2018 with the commercial limits in certain children's programming;
    • Documentation in the OPIF sufficient to demonstrate that Class A TV stations continued in fourth quarter 2018 to meet the eligibility requirements to operate as a Class A TV station; and
    • For certain noncommercial stations that conducted on-air fundraising for a third party non-profit during fourth quarter 2018, a report of such activity for upload to the OPIF.
  • OPIF Unavailable.  Remember that the OPIF is unavailable during the government shutdown, so broadcasters are currently unable to file any quarterly (and other) filings that would be submitted via OPIF.  Broadcasters should have such filings prepared and ready to file when the OPIF comes back online and is operational.  In addition, stations must keep in mind that political file records must be made available to the public upon request during the period of time that OPIF is inaccessible.
  • LMS Available.  The FCC's LMS (licensing and management system) is still available, so filings that are regularly submitted via LMS-including Children's Television Programming Reports-can be drafted and submitted via LMS.  The FCC won't process these reports until the shutdown ends, but there is no harm in submitting them during the shutdown. 
  • Spectrum Auction / Repack Activities UNAFFECTED by Shutdown.  As we reported last week, all activities related to spectrum auctions, including the post-broadcast incentive auction repack, are not affected by the shutdown, and such activities are generally continuing as if the agency was operating on a normal schedule.  As a result, all spectrum auction filing deadlines-including repack deadlines-will continue to apply.  That means that fourth quarter 2018 Transition Progress Reports will still be due to be filed via LMS by January 10, 2019. 




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