Federal shutdown prevented licensees from posting quarterly lists, compliance reports by October 10 deadline.

As just about everybody must know by now, the government has been shut down since October 1, but appears to be set to re-open in the next couple of days, possibly as early as Thursday, October 17.

Our colleague Mitchell Lazarus observed here last week that, when at long last the FCC flings its doors (and e-filing portals) wide open once again, it is likely to be inundated with applications, reports, pleadings, comments and all manner of other materials.

A couple of chores that should not be overlooked by TV licensees are the uploading of their issues/programs lists, commercial compliance certifications and website compliance reports for the third quarter of 2013.  All of these were due to be prepared by all full-service TV and Class A TV stations by October 10.

All radio licensees were also under the gun for quarterly issues/programs lists, but they weren’t affected by the government shutdown, since radio folks needed only follow their usual procedure of prepping their lists and placing them in their local public inspection files.  TV licensees, on the other hand, had to upload their lists to the online public inspection file system maintained by the Commission.  And in addition to issues/programs lists, TV licensees have separate obligations (not shared by their radio siblings) to post in their online public files quarterly reports concerning kidvid-related commercial compliance and website compliance.  But because of the shutdown, the TV online public inspection file system hasn’t been available since October 1.

So this is a reminder to all TV licensees that, once the FCC gets back to business, you should attend to the uploading of your issues/programs lists, commercial compliance certificates and website compliance reports.  (Ideally you’ve already prepared all of these items and are simply waiting for the online system to get back, um, online.)   You’ll also need to file your quarterly children’s programming reports, but those are filed through the Commission’s e-filing system, rather than through the local public inspection file system. 

According to the public notice released by the Commission as it was shuttering its doors on October 1, anything that was supposed to be done during the shutdown will be “due on the business day following the day of return to normal operations.”  That will give you a little bit of breathing space, but not much.  It’s at least possible, although maybe not likely, that the Commission could opt to extend some of these deadlines.  We wouldn’t count on any such extensions, but if the FCC sheds any further light on this situation once it gets back to work, we’ll let you know.