Forget what the rules say – this year 323s are due on December 2, NOT November 1.
Get out your calendar and some Wite-Out®. We’re coming up on the deadline for full-power commercial AM, FM, TV, LPTV and Class A TV stations to file their biennial Ownership Reports (FCC Form 323) and, as tradition dictates, the deadline has been extended. Those reports are now due to be filed no later than December 2, 2015.
Since 2009 the rules have expressly provided that biennial Form 323s must be filed by November 1 of each year. As it turns out, though, since 2009 those forms have never been required to be filed by that date: each year something has come up that called for an extension. And this year is no different. The Media Bureau, acting on its own motion, has announced the 2015 extension. The reason given:
[S]ome licensees and parent entities of multiple stations may be required to file numerous forms, and the extra time is intended to permit adequate time to prepare such filings. We believe it is in the public interest to provide additional time to ensure that all filers provide the Commission with accurate and reliable data.
Of course, that will be true each time biennial Ownership Reports are to be filed, which could cause you to ask why the Commission just doesn’t move the deadline permanently to December 1. Until it does, though, we should all accept the extra 30 days graciously and move on.
As has been the case in past years, the new filing deadline does not alter the effective date of the information to be included in the reports. That information must reflect information current as of October 1, 2015. So even if changes in reportable information occur after October but before you file, your report should ignore those changes and show simply the way things were as of October 1.
Completion of Form 323 is not an intuitively obvious exercise. Recognizing that, the Bureau recommends that filers consult: (a) the instructions to the form; (b) the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Bureau’s Form 323 website; and (c) the “Most Common Form 323 Filing Errors” page (also on the Form 323 website). The Bureau also encourages users “to check for updates to the filing advice”, a suggestion that isn’t entirely clear to us. And if all else fails, you can email the FCC’s staff at Form323@fcc.gov.
Or you can just contact your communications counsel.