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Reminder Regarding Online Public File Obligations

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Released: December 11, 2012


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-2003

Released: December 11, 2012



MM Docket No. 00-168; MM Docket No. 00-44

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules requiring full power
and Class A television broadcast stations to post most of their public inspection files online in a
central, Commission-hosted database. To date, more than 1,700 television licensees have
uploaded nearly 141,000 documents to this database, where more than 146,000 unique visitors
have accessed the files. The online posting requirements are being phased in over a six-month
period from August 2012 to February 2013. We issue this Public Notice to remind stations of
the scope and timing of their online posting obligations under this phase-in schedule.
· Except with respect to the files discussed below, all full power and Class A television
stations were required to begin using the online public inspection file on August 2,
2012. This involves uploading public inspection file documents to the Commission’s
site on a going-forward basis. This means that any document placed in a station’s
public file on or after August 2, 2012, must be posted to the online public file.
o For example, Issues/Programs Lists created for the third quarter of 2012 - which
were required to be placed in a station’s public file by October 10, 2012 - should
now be available in each station’s online public file. Although these lists
include programming broadcast prior to August 2, 2012, the triggering event
here is the date the document was required to be placed in the public file, which
fell after that date.
· Except for the political file, public file documents that were already in existence and in a
station’s public file before August 2, 2012, must be uploaded to the Commission’s site
sometime during the six months following launch of the online public file. This means
that documents that already were in a station’s public file before August 2, 2012, may
be uploaded now, and must be uploaded to the online public file no later than Monday,
February 4, 2013.
o For example, Issues/Programs Lists created for the second quarter of 2012 –
which were required to be placed in a station’s public file by July 10, 2012 –
may be uploaded to each station’s online public file now, and must be uploaded
by February 4, 2013.

· For political files, only broadcasters affiliated with the top four national TV networks in
the top 50 television markets (Designated Market Areas or DMAs) were required to
begin uploading their political files, but only documents placed in the public file on and
after August 2, 2012. All other stations must continue to maintain their political files at
their stations, unless they voluntarily choose to upload their political files in advance of
the requirement to do so. All stations, however, must upload their political files to the
Commission’s online site on a going-forward basis on July 1, 2014.
· No station is required to upload political files that were placed in their public file prior
to August 2, 2012; however, they are required to maintain those documents at the
station, where they must remain until the end of the two-year retention period.
In addition, stations are not required to upload letters and emails from the public to their
online public file; rather, stations must continue to maintain letters and emails in a
correspondence file at the main studio.
The Commission links to the public inspection file are as follows: for access by the public –; for access by TV broadcasters –
Members of the public and broadcasters will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQs) on the website if they have questions. For further information, you can contact the
Licensing Support Hotline at (877) 480-3201 option 2, (717) 338-2888, or (717) 338-2824
(TTY). The Hotline is available to assist with questions Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to
6:00 p.m. ET. You may also submit requests and report any errors or problems with the online
sites at In order to provide better service, all calls to the
Hotline are recorded.
For press inquiries, contact Janice Wise,, (202) 418-8165.

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