Goto Section: 73.3525 | 73.3527 | Table of Contents

FCC 73.3526
Revised as of December 7, 2018
Goto Year:2018 | 2020
  § 73.3526   Local public inspection file of commercial stations.

   (a) Responsibility to maintain a file. The following shall maintain for
   public inspection a file containing the material set forth in this
   section.

   (1) Applicants for a construction permit for a new station in the
   commercial broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file
   containing the material, relating to that station, described in
   paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(10) of this section. A separate file shall be
   maintained for each station for which an application is pending. If the
   application is granted, paragraph (a)(2) of this section shall apply.

   (2) Every permittee or licensee of an AM, FM, TV or Class A TV station
   in the commercial broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection
   file containing the material, relating to that station, described in
   paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(10) and paragraph (e)(13) of this
   section. In addition, every permittee or licensee of a commercial TV or
   Class A TV station shall maintain for public inspection a file
   containing material, relating to that station, described in paragraphs
   (e)(11) and (e)(15) of this section, and every permittee or licensee of
   a commercial AM or FM station shall maintain for public inspection a
   file containing the material, relating to that station, described in
   paragraphs (e)(12) and (e)(14) of this section. A separate file shall
   be maintained for each station for which an authorization is
   outstanding, and the file shall be maintained so long as an
   authorization to operate the station is outstanding.

   (b) Location of the file. The public inspection file shall be located
   as follows: (1) For radio licensees temporarily exempt from the online
   public file hosted by the Commission, as discussed in paragraph (b)(2)
   of this section, a hard copy of the public inspection file shall be
   maintained at an accessible place in the community of license, unless
   the licensee elects voluntarily to place the file online as discussed
   in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. An applicant for a new station or
   change of community shall maintain its file at an accessible place in
   the proposed community of license. If as of January 8, 2018 a broadcast
   station maintains a hard copy of all or a portion of its public
   inspection file at a main studio that either complied with the
   Commission's main studio rule (47 CFR 73.1125 (2016)) but is not within
   the station's community of license, or was deemed a permissible
   location for the station's public inspection file pursuant to a waiver
   of the main studio rule, and if the station retains that studio, then
   that studio is a permissible location for the station's hard copy
   public inspection file. Any reference in this section to “an accessible
   place in the community of license” shall be deemed to include such a
   studio.

   (2)(i) A television station licensee or applicant, and any radio
   station licensee or applicant not temporarily exempt as described in
   this paragraph (b)(2)(i), shall place the contents required by
   paragraph (e) of this section of its public inspection file in the
   online public file hosted by the Commission, with the exception of the
   political file as required by paragraph (e)(6) of this section, as
   discussed in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. Any radio station not in
   the top 50 Nielsen Audio markets, and any radio station with fewer than
   five full-time employees, shall continue to retain the public
   inspection file at an accessible place in the community of license in
   the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until March 1,
   2018. However, any radio station that is not required to place its
   public inspection file in the online public file hosted by the
   Commission before March 1, 2018 may choose to do so, instead of
   retaining the public inspection file at an accessible place in the
   community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of
   this section.

   (ii) A station must provide a link to the public inspection file hosted
   on the Commission's Web site from the home page of its own Web site, if
   the station has a Web site, and provide contact information on its Web
   site for a station representative that can assist any person with
   disabilities with issues related to the content of the public files. A
   station also is required to include in the online public file the
   station's address and telephone number, and the email address of the
   station's designated contact for questions about the public file. To
   the extent this section refers to the local public inspection file, it
   refers to the public file of an individual station, which is either
   maintained at an accessible place in the community of license or on the
   Commission's Web site, depending upon where the documents are required
   to be maintained under the Commission's rules.

   (3)(i) A licensee or applicant shall place the contents required by
   paragraph (e)(6) of this section of its political inspection file in
   the online public file hosted by the Commission. Political inspection
   file material already in existence 30 days after the effective date of
   this provision, if not placed in the online public file hosted by the
   Commission, shall continue to be retained at an accessible place in the
   community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of
   this section until the end of its retention period.

   (ii) Any television station not in the top 50 DMAs, and any station not
   affiliated with one of the top four broadcast networks, regardless of
   the size of the market it serves, shall continue to retain the
   political file at the station in the manner discussed in paragraph
   (b)(1) of this section until July 1, 2014. For these stations,
   effective July 1, 2014, any new political file material shall be placed
   in the online file hosted by the Commission, while the material in the
   political file as of July 1, 2014, if not placed in the Commission's
   Web site, shall continue to be retained at the station in the manner
   discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of its
   retention period. However, any station that is not required to place
   its political file in the online file hosted by the Commission before
   July 1, 2014 may choose to do so, instead of retaining the political
   file at the station in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this
   section. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(ii), the “manner
   discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section” refers to maintaining a
   hard copy of the public inspection file at the main studio of the
   station as described in paragraph (b)(1) prior to January 8, 2018. See
   47 CFR 73.3526(b)(1) (2016).

   (iii) Any radio station not in the top 50 Nielsen Audio markets, and
   any radio station with fewer than five full-time employees, shall
   continue to retain the political file at an accessible place in the
   community of license in the manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of
   this section until March 1, 2018. For these stations, effective March
   1, 2018, any new political file material shall be placed in the online
   public file hosted by the Commission, while the material already
   existing in the political file as of March 1, 2018, if not placed in
   the online public file hosted by the Commission, shall continue to be
   retained at an accessible place in the community of license in the
   manner discussed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section until the end of
   its retention period. However, any station that is not required to
   place its political file on the Commission's Web site before March 1,
   2018, may choose to do so, instead of retaining the political file at
   an accessible place in the community of license in the manner discussed
   in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

   (4) The Commission will automatically link the following items to the
   electronic version of all licensee and applicant public inspection
   files, to the extent that the Commission has these items
   electronically: authorizations, applications, contour maps; ownership
   reports and related materials; portions of the Equal Employment
   Opportunity file held by the Commission; “The Public and Broadcasting”;
   Letters of Inquiry and other investigative information requests from
   the Commission, unless otherwise directed by the inquiry itself;
   Children's television programming reports; and DTV transition education
   reports. In the event that the online public file does not reflect such
   required information, the licensee will be responsible for posting such
   material.

   (c) Access to material in the file. (1) For any applicant, permittee,
   or licensee that does not include all material described in paragraph
   (e) of this section in the online public file hosted by the Commission,
   the portion of the file that is not included in the online public file
   shall be available for public inspection at any time during regular
   business hours at an accessible place in the community of license. The
   applicant, permittee, or licensee must provide information regarding
   the location of the file, or the applicable portion of the file, within
   one business day of a request for such information. All or part of the
   file may be maintained in a computer database, as long as a computer
   terminal is made available, at the location of the file, to members of
   the public who wish to review the file. Material in the public
   inspection file shall be made available for printing or machine
   reproduction upon request made in person. The applicant, permittee, or
   licensee may specify the location for printing or reproduction, require
   the requesting party to pay the reasonable cost thereof, and may
   require guarantee of payment in advance (e.g., by requiring a deposit,
   obtaining credit card information, or any other reasonable method).
   Requests for copies shall be fulfilled within a reasonable period of
   time, which generally should not exceed 7 days.

   (2) The applicant, permittee, or licensee who maintains its public file
   outside its community of license (see paragraph (b)(1) of this section)
   shall:

   (i) Make available to persons within its geographic service area, by
   mail upon telephone request, photocopies of documents in the file (see
   § 73.3526(c)(1)), excluding the political file (see § 73.3526(e)(6)), and
   the station shall pay postage;

   (ii) Mail the most recent version of “The Public and Broadcasting” to
   any member of the public that requests a copy; and

   (iii) Be prepared to assist members of the public in identifying the
   documents they may ask to be sent to them by mail, for example, by
   describing to the caller, if asked, the period covered by a particular
   report and the number of pages included in the report.

   Note to paragraph (c)(2): For purposes of this section, geographic
   service area includes the area within the Grade B contour for TV, 1
   mV/m contour for all FM station classes except .7 mV/m for Class B1
   stations and .5 mV/m for Class B stations, and .5 mV/m contour for AM
   stations.

   (d) Responsibility in case of assignment or transfer. (1) In cases
   involving applications for consent to assignment of broadcast station
   construction permits or licenses, with respect to which public notice
   is required to be given under the provisions of § 73.3580 or § 73.3594,
   the file mentioned in paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained
   by the assignor. If the assignment is consented to by the FCC and
   consummated, the assignee shall maintain the file commencing with the
   date on which notice of the consummation of the assignment is filed
   with the FCC. The assignee shall retain public file documents obtained
   from the assignor for the period required under these rules.

   (2) In cases involving applications for consent to transfer of control
   of a permittee or licensee of a broadcast station, the file mentioned
   in paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained by the permittee
   or licensee.

   (e) Contents of the file. The material to be retained in the public
   inspection file is as follows:

   (1) Authorization. A copy of the current FCC authorization to construct
   or operate the station, as well as any other documents necessary to
   reflect any modifications thereto or any conditions that the FCC has
   placed on the authorization. These materials shall be retained until
   replaced by a new authorization, at which time a copy of the new
   authorization and any related materials shall be placed in the file.

   (2) Applications and related materials. A copy of any application
   tendered for filing with the FCC, together with all related material,
   and copies of Initial Decisions and Final Decisions in hearing cases
   pertaining thereto. If petitions to deny are filed against the
   application and have been served on the applicant, a statement that
   such a petition has been filed shall be maintained in the file together
   with the name and address of the party filing the petition.
   Applications shall be retained in the public inspection file until
   final action has been taken on the application, except that
   applications for a new construction permit granted pursuant to a waiver
   showing and applications for assignment or transfer of license granted
   pursuant to a waiver showing shall be retained for as long as the
   waiver is in effect. In addition, license renewal applications granted
   on a short-term basis shall be retained until final action has been
   taken on the license renewal application filed immediately following
   the shortened license term.

   (3) Citizen agreements. A copy of every written citizen agreement.
   These agreements shall be retained for the term of the agreement,
   including any renewal or extension thereof.

   Note to paragraph (e)(3): For purposes of this section, a citizen
   agreement is a written agreement between a broadcast applicant,
   permittee, or licensee, and one or more citizens or citizen groups,
   entered for primarily noncommercial purposes. This definition includes
   those agreements that deal with goals or proposed practices directly or
   indirectly affecting station operations in the public interest, in
   areas such as—but not limited to—programming and employment. It
   excludes common commercial agreements such as advertising contracts;
   union, employment, and personal services contracts; network
   affiliation, syndication, program supply contracts, etc. However, the
   mere inclusion of commercial terms in a primarily noncommercial
   agreement—such as a provision for payment of fees for future services
   of the citizen-parties (see “Report and Order,” Docket 19518, 57 FCC 2d
   494 (1976))—would not cause the agreement to be considered commercial
   for purposes of this section.

   (4) Contour maps. A copy of any service contour maps, submitted with
   any application tendered for filing with the FCC, together with any
   other information in the application showing service contours and/or
   transmitter location (State, county, city, street address, or other
   identifying information). These documents shall be retained for as long
   as they reflect current, accurate information regarding the station.

   (5) Ownership reports and related materials. A copy of the most recent,
   complete ownership report filed with the FCC for the station, together
   with any statements filed with the FCC certifying that the current
   report is accurate, and together with all related material. These
   materials shall be retained until a new, complete ownership report is
   filed with the FCC, at which time a copy of the new report and any
   related materials shall be placed in the file. The permittee or
   licensee must retain in the public file either a copy of the contracts
   listed in such reports in accordance with § 73.3615(a)(4)(i), or an
   up-to-date list of such contracts. Licensees or permittees who choose
   to retain a list of contracts must provide a copy of any contracts to
   requesting parties within 7 days.

   (6) Political file. Such records as are required by § 73.1943 to be kept
   concerning broadcasts by candidates for public office. These records
   shall be retained for the period specified in § 73.1943 (2 years).

   (7) Equal Employment Opportunity file. Such information as is required
   by § 73.2080 to be kept in the public inspection file. These materials
   shall be retained until final action has been taken on the station's
   next license renewal application.

   (8) The public and broadcasting. At all times, a copy of the most
   recent version of the manual entitled “The Public and Broadcasting.”

   (9) [Reserved]

   (10) Material relating to FCC investigation or complaint. Material
   having a substantial bearing on a matter which is the subject of an FCC
   investigation or complaint to the FCC of which the applicant,
   permittee, or licensee has been advised. This material shall be
   retained until the applicant, permittee, or licensee is notified in
   writing that the material may be discarded.

   (11)(i) TV issues/programs lists. For commercial TV and Class A
   broadcast stations, every three months a list of programs that have
   provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues
   during the preceding three month period. The list for each calendar
   quarter is to be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar
   quarter (e.g., January 10 for the quarter October—December, April 10
   for the quarter January—March, etc.) The list shall include a brief
   narrative describing what issues were given significant treatment and
   the programming that provided this treatment. The description of the
   programs shall include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date,
   duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. The
   lists described in this paragraph shall be retained in the public
   inspection file until final action has been taken on the station's next
   license renewal application.

   (ii) Records concerning commercial limits. For commercial TV and Class
   A TV broadcast stations, records sufficient to permit substantiation of
   the station's certification, in its license renewal application, of
   compliance with the commercial limits on children's programming
   established in 47 U.S.C. 303a and 47 CFR 73.670. The records for each
   calendar quarter must be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding
   calendar quarter (e.g., January 10 for the quarter October-December,
   April 10 for the quarter January-March, etc.). These records shall be
   retained until final action has been taken on the station's next
   license renewal application.

   (iii) Children's television programming reports. For commercial TV
   broadcast stations, both analog and digital, on a quarterly basis, a
   completed Children's Television Programming Report (“Report”), on FCC
   Form 398, reflecting efforts made by the licensee during the preceding
   quarter, and efforts planned for the next quarter, to serve the
   educational and informational needs of children. The Report for each
   quarter is to be placed in the public inspection file by the tenth day
   of the succeeding calendar quarter. By this date, a copy of the Report
   for each quarter is also to be filed electronically with the FCC. The
   Report shall identify the licensee's educational and informational
   programming efforts, including programs aired by the station that are
   specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs
   of children, and it shall explain how programs identified as Core
   Programming meet the definition set forth in § 73.671(c). The Report
   shall include the name of the individual at the station responsible for
   collecting comments on the station's compliance with the Children's
   Television Act, and it shall be separated from other materials in the
   public inspection file. The Report shall also identify the program
   guide publishers to which information regarding the licensee's
   educational and informational programming was provided as required in
   § 73.673, as well as the station's license renewal date. These Reports
   shall be retained in the public inspection file until final action has
   been taken on the station's next license renewal application. Licensees
   shall publicize in an appropriate manner the existence and location of
   these Reports.

   (12) Radio issues/programs lists. For commercial AM and FM broadcast
   stations, every three months a list of programs that have provided the
   station's most significant treatment of community issues during the
   preceding three month period. The list for each calendar quarter is to
   be filed by the tenth day of the succeeding calendar quarter (e.g.,
   January 10 for the quarter October—December, April 10 for the quarter
   January—March, etc.). The list shall include a brief narrative
   describing what issues were given significant treatment and the
   programming that provided this treatment. The description of the
   programs shall include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date,
   duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. The
   lists described in this paragraph shall be retained in the public
   inspection file until final action has been taken on the station's next
   license renewal application.

   (13) Local public notice announcements. Each applicant for renewal of
   license shall, within 7 days of the last day of broadcast of the local
   public notice of filing announcements required pursuant to § 73.3580(h),
   place in the station's local public inspection file a statement
   certifying compliance with this requirement. The dates and times that
   the pre-filing and post-filing notices were broadcast and the text
   thereof shall be made part of the certifying statement. The certifying
   statement shall be retained in the public file for the period specified
   in § 73.3580 (for as long as the application to which it refers).

   (14) Radio and television time brokerage agreements. For commercial
   radio and television stations, a copy of every agreement or contract
   involving time brokerage of the licensee's station or of another
   station by the licensee, whether the agreement involves stations in the
   same markets or in differing markets, with confidential or proprietary
   information redacted where appropriate. These records shall be retained
   as long as the contract or agreement is in force.

   (15) Must-carry or retransmission consent election. Statements of a
   commercial television or Class A television station's election with
   respect to either must-carry or re-transmission consent, as defined in
   § § 76.64 and 76.1608 of this chapter. These records shall be retained
   for the duration of the three year election period to which the
   statement applies.

   (16) Radio and television joint sales agreements. For commercial radio
   and commercial television stations, a copy of agreement for the joint
   sale of advertising time involving the station, whether the agreement
   involves stations in the same markets or in differing markets, with
   confidential or proprietary information redacted where appropriate.

   (17) Class A TV continuing eligibility. Documentation sufficient to
   demonstrate that the Class A television station is continuing to meet
   the eligibility requirements set forth at § 73.6001.

   (18) Shared service agreements. For commercial television stations, a
   copy of every Shared Service Agreement for the station (with the
   substance of oral agreements reported in writing), regardless of
   whether the agreement involves commercial television stations in the
   same market or in different markets, with confidential or proprietary
   information redacted where appropriate. For purposes of this paragraph,
   a Shared Service Agreement is any agreement or series of agreements in
   which:

   (1) A station provides any station-related services, including, but not
   limited to, administrative, technical, sales, and/or programming
   support, to a station that is not directly or indirectly under common
   de jure control permitted under the Commission's regulations; or

   (2) Stations that are not directly or indirectly under common de jure
   control permitted under the Commission's regulations collaborate to
   provide or enable the provision of station-related services, including,
   but not limited to, administrative, technical, sales, and/or
   programming support, to one or more of the collaborating stations. For
   purposes of this paragraph, the term “station” includes the licensee,
   including any subsidiaries and affiliates, and any other individual or
   entity with an attributable interest in the station.

   Note 1 to paragraph (e): For purposes of this section, action taken on
   an application tendered with the FCC becomes final when that action is
   no longer subject to reconsideration, review, or appeal either at the
   FCC or in the courts.

   Note 2 to paragraph (e): For purposes of this section, the term “all
   related material” includes all exhibits, letters, and other documents
   tendered for filing with the FCC as part of an application, report, or
   other document, all amendments to the application, report, or other
   document, copies of all documents incorporated therein by reference and
   not already maintained in the public inspection file, and all
   correspondence between the FCC and the applicant pertaining to the
   application, report, or other document, which according to the
   provisions of § § 0.451 through 0.461 of this part are open for public
   inspection at the offices of the FCC.

   [ 63 FR 49497 , Sept. 16, 1998, as amended at  63 FR 70049 , Dec. 18, 1998;
    64 FR 35947 , July 2, 1999;  64 FR 50645 , Sept. 17, 1999;  65 FR 7457 ,
   Feb. 15, 2000;  65 FR 30006 , May 10, 2000;  65 FR 53614 , Sept. 5, 2000;
    65 FR 67288 , Nov. 9, 2000;  70 FR 38 , Jan. 3, 2005;  73 FR 15450 , Mar.
   24, 2008;  73 FR 36283 , June 26, 2008;  76 FR 71269 , Nov. 17, 2011;  77 FR 27655 , May 11, 2012;  81 FR 10123 , Feb. 29, 2016;  81 FR 76262 , Nov. 1,
   2016;  82 FR 11412 , Feb. 23, 2017;  82 FR 57882 , Dec. 8, 2017;  82 FR 59987 , Dec. 18, 2017;  83 FR 5544 , Feb. 8, 2018]

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Goto Section: 73.3525 | 73.3527

Goto Year: 2018 | 2020
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