Effective Jan. 8, 2018, AM, FM, and television broadcast stations will no longer be required to maintain a main studio. The Commission voted back in October to eliminate the Main Studio Rule based on findings that the cost of maintaining a main studio outweighed the benefits. The Order was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 8, and will take effect 30 days after publication (since that date would fall on a Sunday, the revision is effective Monday, Jan. 8, 2018).
We wrote about the implications of the repeal of the main studio rule back in October, following that month’s FCC Open Meeting.
As outlined in the Order adopted by the Commission and published in the Federal Register, “We affirm the tentative conclusion … that technological innovations have rendered local studios unnecessary as a means for viewers and listeners to communicate with or access their local stations and to carry out the other traditional functions that they have served.”
The main studio rule repeal also encompasses staffing requirements associated with the main studio. Previously, it was required that main studios be staffed with a “meaningful management and staff presence” in order to execute the station’s operations.
Now, as of Jan. 8, 2018 broadcast stations will no longer be required to staff or maintain a main studio. As a reminder, however, they will need to maintain a local or toll-free telephone number and, until their local public inspection file is entirely moved online, must maintain a hard-copy file at an accessible location in their community of license.