FCC to Vote on Public File Item at First GOP-Led Meeting

The first FCC meeting under new, Republican leadership will consist of a single item.

That is according to the tentative agenda circulated late Tuesday.

The noncontroversial item is an order that would "eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public inspection file and the requirement that cable operators retain the location of the cable system’s principal headend in their public inspection file."

The FCC in May of last year unanimously proposed axing the last local file obligations for broadcasters and cable operators as it completed the transition to online public files. The NCTA is all for the move, which would mean it would not have to keep open a local file for a single piece of information it says few want access to anyway.

It is a fitting first item since, unlike many a recent vote, nary a discouraging word was heard about it at the public meeting where the commissioners agreed on the proposal.

While the public doesn't need to know where the principal headend of a cable system is (where it takes the TV signal off the air and puts it on the wire), and publicizing it could be a security threat, the FCC pointed out in May that TV stations and the FCC still need to know where it is, so the item will elaborate on how that info should be collected and made available to both.

Republican Michael O'Rielly was credited with pushing to eliminate those remaining local file obligations now that broadcast, cable and satellite all have online public file obligations.

John Eggerton

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.