FCC to Vote on MVPD Public File Requirement

The FCC has scheduled a vote Jan. 28 on its proposal to require cable and satellite operators (and radio stations) to post their public files on an FCC online database, as do TV stations. It is expected to pass.

The item was penciled in on its tentative agenda and now is in the non-tentative lineup, the FCC said Thursday.

In December 2014, the commission approved a proposed rulemaking that requires cable and DBS systems and radio stations (and Sirius XM) to post their public files, including political files, in an FCC-administered online database.

Extending the requirement will allow those who have been monitoring TV station political files to expand their gaze as the 2016 election cycle kicks into high gear.

TV broadcasters already have to file records of political ad buys to a searchable, FCC-hosted database (the FCC has said it has had millions of hits on that database), but the FCC held off extending that requirement, and other public file requirements — like EEO, children's TV and more — to cable and satellite operators, which are all still required to keep those files available for public inspection locally.

The FCC is proposing not to require archival material to be uploaded, but only new material on a going-forward basis, as was the case with TV stations. The FCC will require cable operators to provide information about the geographic areas they serve, and require cable, DBS, broadcast radio and Sirius XM to provide location and local contact information for their local flies.

Beyond that, the FCC said it simply wanted to extend the current requirements to an online format.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.