Two years into Ajit Pai’s chairmanship, a central theme at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) is deregulation. Sometimes framed in terms of “modernizing media rules,” the topic is at the forefront of just about every proceeding. This was true for one of the most recent decisions at the Commission, as a Report and Order was adopted on December 10, 2018 which will eliminate the need to post and maintain broadcast licenses at a physical location.
This Report and Order is in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that the Commission issued in May 2018 seeking feedback from the public on whether there any negative implications to consider by eliminating the license posting (see our blog post here). It is safe to say that responses from the public suggest that deregulation in this instance is for the “better.”
The general consensus in the record was that this requirement is no longer necessary since information about broadcast licenses is available online on numerous FCC databases. Additionally, the record did not suggest that the posting rules served any public safety purposes. The FCC agrees that displaying licensing documents at sites is ineffective because, as some commenters pointed out, is the licenses are often hidden and inaccessible, This is why the FCC also decided that LPTV, translator and booster stations will no longer have to post information at the transmission site about the station and its licensee, or identify a station representative responsible for maintaining such records.
The Report and Order will become effective thirty days after being published in the Federal Register (which has not occurred yet).