Text of Online Public File Order Released - Details of What the FCC is Considering, and Suggestion that Radio May Be Next

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The full text of the FCC's Order overturning its 2007 decision on online public inspection files for TV broadcasters and the adoption of the Form 355 "enhanced disclosure form" has now been released. This order, adopted at the FCC's open meeting this week (held on October 27, 2011, which we wrote about here), also contains a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking again suggesting an online public file, but this time it would be one hosted by the FCC. In reading the full text, more details of the FCC's proposal become clear. As set forth below, the Order suggests everything from a future application of these rules to radio once the bugs have been worked out, to an examination of whether a station needs to save Facebook posts and other social media comments in the same way that it preserves letters from the public and emails about station operations, to a proposal for stations to document in their files information about all "pay for play" sponsorships. Comments on these proposals, and the others summarized below, which include a request for detailed information about the costs of compliance with the proposals, are due 30 days from when the order is published in the Federal Register, with Reply Comments due only 15 days thereafter. The FCC, after sitting on these obligations for almost 5 years, now seems to be ready to move quickly.....

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