Answers to Biennial Form 323 Frequently Asked Questions

  1.   Who must file the Biennial Form 323?
  2.   When must I file the 2017 Biennial Form 323?
  3.   Who must file for stations that were assigned or transferred after October 1, 2017?
  4.   How do I file my broadcast ownership report?
  5.   Do parent entities need to file separate reports for each Licensee in which it has an attributable interest?
  6.   Can I use the “Validate and Resubmit” function during the 2017 Biennial Filing Window?
  7.   What is an FRN and who needs to report one?
  8.   How do I obtain a standard CORES FRN?
  9.   How do I obtain a Restricted Use FRN?
  10.   Who can report a Special Use FRN?  Are there any special requirements regarding Special Use FRNs?
  11.   How should percentage of voting, equity and total assets be reported?
  12.   How should a trust be reported on the ownership report?
  13.   How do I report jointly held voting interests?
  14.   Do other broadcast ownership interests still need to be listed?
  15.   How are newspaper interests reported on the revised Form 323?
  1.   Who must file the Biennial Form 323?

    Licensees of commercial AM, FM, and full power television broadcast stations, as well as Licensees of Class A Television and Low Power Television (LPTV) stations, must file the Form 323 every two years in order to report all attributable interests in the Licensee.

    In the case of organizational structures that include holding companies or other forms of indirect ownership, a separate Form 323 must be filed for each entity in that organizational structure that has an attributable interest in the Licensee.  Parent entities may file a single report to cover all of their subsidiary licensees/permittees.  Instead, where a non-Licensee Respondent holds attributable interests in multiple Licensees and the information submitted on the Respondent’s ownership report is equally applicable to each Licensee and all licensees, the Respondent may file a single Form 323 listing all Licensees and licenses.  For more information on this change, please see the answer provided to Question 5.

    Individuals must be reported on the reports for the organizations in which that individual has an attributable interest (e.g. because that individual is an officer/director/member/partner or owns stock/shares in the organization).  These individuals are not required to file a separate Form 323.  The only exception is in the case of a sole proprietor Licensees, which are required to file for themselves as a Licensee.

  2.   When must I file the 2017 Biennial Form 323?

    The 2017 biennial filing window opens December 1, 2017 and the filing deadline is March 2, 2018.  These deadlines were adjusted to allow for the implementation of the revised forms in the Commission’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).  As announced in the Order postponing and extending the deadline, these revised deadlines are for the 2017 filing window only, and this adjustment does not impact the “as of date” of October 1, 2017.  Beginning in 2019, the biennial broadcast ownership report for commercial and noncommercial stations will be October 1 through December 1 of every odd-numbered year.

    Starting with this filing window, both commercial and noncommercial stations will share the same filing deadlines.  We urge the 323-E filers in particular to be mindful of these filing dates as this is a change for these filers who were previously required to file the biennial 323-E on a staggered timeline that corresponded to the anniversary date of the filing of license renewal applications.  All licensees and parent entities that are required to file a Biennial Form 323 or 323-E are required to do so by March 2, 2018 regardless of when the last biennial report was filed.  In other words, even if a biennial 323 or 323-E was filed less than two years ago, a new report reflecting information accurate as of October 1, 2017 must be filed by March 2, 2018.

  3.   Who must file for stations that were assigned or transferred after October 1, 2017?

    When there is an assignment or transfer of a station after October 1, 2017, the entity or individual that was the licensee of the station as of October 1, 2017 is required to file a biennial ownership report on behalf of that station, even if the assignment or transfer was consummated before or during the filing window.  Any parent entities with an attributable interest in the licensee of the station as of October 1, 2017 are also required to file.

  4.   How do I file my broadcast ownership report?

    All broadcast ownership report filers (commercial and non-commercial, biennial and non-biennial) must complete and file reports within the Commission’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).  LMS can be accessed here:  https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/login.html. Please review the FAQs and a video of our training session for filing guidance and tips.  Bureau Staff also conducted an information session on the filing of a Form 323 and 323-E on November 28, 2017.  Follow the link to view the session:  https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2017/11/biennial-forms-323-and-323-e-information-session.  For questions not answered by the FAQs, please contact the biennial Forms 323/323-E Team at form323@fcc.govNote: The Commission will not accept as filed Forms 323 and 323-E that are mailed or e-mailed to the Commission and not otherwise filed within LMS.

  5.   Do parent entities need to file separate reports for each Licensee in which it has an attributable interest?

    If a parent entity holds attributable interests in multiple Licensees and the information submitted on the parent entity’s report is equally applicable to each Licensee and all licenses, the parent entity may file a single report listing all such Licensees and licenses.  A respondent that both (1)  is a Licensee and (2) holds attributable interests in one or more Licensees must file two ownership reports – one as a Licensee and one as a non-Licensee (or parent entity) Respondent.

  6.   Can I use the “Validate and Resubmit” function during the 2017 Biennial Filing Window?

    No, the “Validate and Resubmit” function will not be available during the 2017 biennial filing window.  Filers will not be able to “Validate and Resubmit” a biennial ownership report that was filed on the previous version of the form.  Beginning in 2019, filers will be able to “Validate and Resubmit” from a previously-filed biennial ownership report that was filed in LMS on the current version of the form.  As a reminder, the “Validate and Resubmit” function allows a filer with a current and unamended biennial ownership report on file with the Commission that is still accurate and that was filed using the current version of the Form 323 or 323-E to simply re-certify the form and file without the need to copy the form or otherwise re-enter data.

  7.   What is an FRN and who needs to report one?

    An FCC Registration Number (FRN) is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual and is used, in part, to identify that person or business on FCC forms.  For purposes of the Form 323 and 323-E, there are three types of FRNs: 1) A standard FRN obtained through the Commission’s Registration System (CORES FRN); 2) A Restricted Use FRN (or RUFRN), which can also be obtained through CORES; and 3) A Special Use FRN (or SUFRN).

    An FRN must be listed for each individual or entity listed on the Forms 323 or 323-E.  Entities must obtain and report a standard CORES FRN (entities are prohibited from reporting a Restricted Use or Special Use FRN).  See the Form 323 Instructions and answers to FAQs below for guidance on FRN usage.

  8.   How do I obtain a standard CORES FRN?

    Please visit https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do to register your standard CORES FRN.  Those filing on behalf of a Respondent (either the licensee or a parent entity) will need access to CORES FRN associated with the Respondent in order to file the report on behalf of the Respondent.

    In order to register for a standard CORES FRN, a registrant must provide the appropriate Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).  However, in limited circumstances, a standard CORES FRN may be obtained without a TIN.  For assistance in registering for a standard CORES FRN, contact the CORES helpdesk at 202-418-4120, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm ET, or at CORESHelpDesk@fcc.gov.     Remember, if a party submits and/or is listed as an attributable interest holder on multiple ownership reports, regardless of whether the FRN reported is a standard CORES FRN, an RUFRN, or a Special Use FRN, filers should coordinate with each other to ensure consistent reporting of all FRNs.

  9.   How do I obtain a Restricted Use FRN?

    The Restricted Use FRN is new to the 2017 filing window, and is available to individuals reported on the biennial and non-biennial 323 and 323-E.  To obtain an RUFRN, filers are instructed to navigate to the CORES website.  Note: RUFRN registration is only available in the updated CORES, which requires a username and password for each account.  Multiple standard CORES FRNs and RUFRNs can be managed within these accounts.  Please be sure to use the link provided here to access the RUFRN registration page. 

    Enter your Username and Login, or Register for a CORES Account.  Once you have logged in, select “Register New FRN,” and select the radio button next to “An Individual.”  On the following page, select “Restricted Use FRN Registration” to be brought to the RUFRN Registration page.  On this page, registrants will be directed to provide the individual’s 1) full name; 2) residential address; 3) date of birth; and 4) the last four digits of the individual’s Social Security Number.  Unlike with the standard CORES FRN, an individual registering for the RUFRN is not required to provide a full Social Security Number.  The identifying information is stored confidentially in CORES, and only the individual’s full name will be publically accessible.

    The RUFRN can only be reported for individuals listed on a biennial or non-biennial Form 323 or Form 323-E.    Individuals may only register for and report one Restricted Use FRN, and that RUFRN must be used consistently across all broadcast ownership reports where the individual is reported.  Remember: If a party submits and/or is listed as an attributable interest holder on multiple ownership reports, regardless of whether the FRN reported is a standard CORES FRN, an RUFRN, or a Special Use FRN, filers should coordinate with each other to ensure consistent reporting of all FRNs.  Technical issues regarding the registration of a Restricted Use FRN will be addressed by the CORES Help Desk at 202-418-4120, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm ET, or at CORESHelpDesk@fcc.gov.   

  10.   Who can report a Special Use FRN?  Are there any special requirements regarding Special Use FRNs?

    In the 323 and 323-E Order, the Commission concluded that the Special Use FRN will continue to be available for individuals reported on the Form 323, but noted that it should only be used after making “reasonable and good-faith efforts” to obtain an RUFRN or CORES FRN from or on behalf of individuals reported on the Form 323 (In a subsequent Order on Reconsideration, the Commission relaxed the standard for individuals reported on the Form 323-E).   Below is guidance for the reporting of Special Use FRNs on the Form 323.   (For guidance on the reporting of FRNs for individuals listed on the Form 323-E, please click here for the Biennial Form 323-E FAQs.)

    First, if an individual already has a standard CORES FRN or a Restricted Use FRN, the Respondent must report that FRN for the individual.  Before reporting a Special Use FRN for an individual listed on the Form 323, the filer must make “reasonable and good-faith efforts” to obtain a standard CORES FRN or RUFRN from or on behalf of the individual.  “Reasonable and good-faith efforts” include instructing an individual of their obligations and the risk of enforcement action for failing to provide a CORES FRN or RUFRN or to permit a CORES FRN or RUFRN to be obtained on that individual’s behalf.  A SUFRN may be reported for that individual only if the individual still refuses to provide a means of reporting a valid standard CORES FRN or RUFRN after the filer has taken such steps.  If a Special Use FRN is reported on the Form 323, the Commission may take enforcement action against the filer or the “recalcitrant individual,” but the filer can exempt itself from such enforcement action if the filer substantiates that it used the reasonable and good-faith efforts as discussed in the 323 and 323-E Order at paras 56-58.

    If, after complying with the above requirements, you find that you must report a Special Use FRN for an individual, please determine if a Special Use FRN has been previously reported for that individual.  To do so, review a previously-filed Form 323 on which the individual was reported and use the corresponding SUFRN.  Special Use FRNs begin with “999”.  If you discover that multiple SUFRNs were reported for that individual, please pick one and be sure to use it consistently going forward.  Users will need to provide a name to be associated with the SUFRN.  To do so, click the “Edit Special Use FRN” button and type in the name of the individual for whom the SUFRN is being reported.

    If you need to create a Special Use FRN for an individual, you may do so by clicking the “Create Special Use FRN” button in the Ownership Interests section of the Form 323.  You will be prompted to enter a name, which will then be pre-filled each time the SUFRN is entered in the Form 323.

    If you need to change the name associated with the Special Use FRN, you may do so by clicking the “Edit Special Use FRN” link. The Edit Special Use FRN functionality is intended to provide some flexibility when an individual legally changes his or her name or to correct an error.

    SUFRNs may only be used for individuals reported on the Forms 323 and 323-E and may not be used for any other purpose at the FCC.   If you are an entity that has previously reported a SUFRN, you must register for and report a standard CORES FRN.   Moreover, if a party submits and/or is listed as an attributable interest holder on multiple ownership reports, regardless of whether the FRN reported is a standard CORES FRN, an RUFRN, or a Special Use FRN, filers should coordinate with each other to ensure consistent reporting of all FRNs.

    Filers are also encouraged to review the FCC Form 323 Instructions for guidance on FRN usage.

  11.   How should percentage of voting, equity and total assets be reported?

    Percentages on the Form 323 must be rounded and reported to the first decimal place.  For example, a filer should report an entity with a 35.66% voting interest in a licensee as 35.7%.  Whole numbers, including 100 and zero should be reported as 100.0 and 0.0.

    If an interest holder holds an attributable interest in the Respondent solely pursuant to the Commission’s Equity Debut Plus standard, provide the interest holder’s percentage of total assets (Equity Debt Plus) in the field provided.  Otherwise, leave the total assets (Equity Debt Plus) field blank.  For more guidance on the Equity Debt Plus standard, please review the Instructions to the Form 323 and Section 73.3555, Note 2(i) of the Commission’s rules.

  12.   How should a trust be reported on the ownership report?

    Trusts should be reported as an entity, not as an individual.  Accordingly, filers must obtain a standard CORES FRN to report for the trust.  Trusts that do not have TINs may obtain a standard CORES FRN by selecting “Exempted Activities” among the list of exemptions.  If a trust has an attributable ownership interest in a licensee, the trust must also file a parent report.  Note that the trustees of the trust must be listed in the Ownership Interests section of the Form 323 or Form 323-E for that trust, but the beneficiaries do not.

  13.   How do I report jointly held voting interests?

    Filers are required to report when two or more parties hold a voting interest in a Respondent jointly.  For example, two parties may hold 100 percent of the voting interest in an entity together, as joint tenants (as opposed to each holding 50 percent of the voting interests).  Click the check box on the subform to indicate whether the reported interest is held jointly.

  14.   Do other broadcast ownership interests still need to be listed?

    Starting in 2017, filers are no longer required to list each broadcast station in which an interest holder listed on the report has an attributable interest.  Instead, filers must select radio buttons on the subform to indicate whether an interest holder reported on that subform also has an attributable interest in one or more broadcast stations other than those covered by the current ownership report.

  15.    How are newspaper interests reported on the revised Form 323?

    Qualifying newspaper interests must continue to be reported on the biennial and non-biennial Form 323 (newspaper interests are not reported on the Form 323-E).   If there is an interest holder listed on the report that has an attributable interest in a daily newspaper that is located within the pertinent in-market signal contours of any broadcast stations for which the report is filed, filers may either enter the newspaper contact information on the subforms within the form or upload a spreadsheet containing the required information.  The templates for the biennial and non-biennial Form 323 reports can be downloaded here or directly from the Newspaper Interests section of the Form 323 in LMS.  Please note the following guidelines regarding the use and uploading of spreadsheets to report newspaper interests:

  • The revised forms will use a template that has been modified from the templates used previously for the forms filed in CDBS.  Please re-enter your data into the new version of the template.  Filers also have the option of using the subform function to upload the newspaper interests information.
  • Please save your spreadsheet to a CSV format (Click File, Save As, and select .csv Comma Separated Values in the format type) before uploading through LMS.  LMS will not accept a spreadsheet saved in .xml or other formats.
  • Filers must include the FRN for each entity or individual listed.   Filers will receive a validation error if there is an FRN that appears in the Newspaper Interests section (entered either in a spreadsheet or subform) or Family Relationship section that is not listed in the Ownership Interests section.  It is recommended that filers fully complete the Ownership Interests section before proceeding to the subsequent Newspaper Interests and Family Relationships sections.
  • Due to formatting restrictions associated with CSV file formats, filers will find that the leading zeroes will disappear after an FRN is entered and/or when the file is saved.  Likewise, a “.0” in numbers entered in the spreadsheet will also disappear.  Even though accurate FRNs and numbers to the 10th decimal place are required, this formatting issue will not prevent you from uploading your spreadsheet.    After entering your data, simply save your spreadsheet as a CSV file and select the option to upload your spreadsheet using the link provided in the “Newspaper Interests” section.  The missing numbers will be reinserted and will appear when the data is populated in the subforms.
  • Filers are encouraged to click on the “View additional help for file upload” link in the spreadsheet upload portion of the Newspaper Interest section for additional guidance.  Those tips include:
  • Each uploaded file must have a unique name. No duplicate file names are permitted.
  • Each and every newspaper interest record in an upload must pass both the CSV file format and newspaper interest validation checks in order for the upload to be saved to the report. If any record fails validation, none of the records will be saved. The filer must correct the error(s) and resubmit the upload.
  • The individual records in an upload may not be modified or deleted using the filing interface. Only records that are manually entered may be modified or deleted using the filing interface.
  • A filer may modify or delete records by deleting the entire uploaded file, making the necessary changes, and then re-uploading the file.

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Updated: 
Monday, December 4, 2017