The FCC yesterday announced that the due dates for Biennial Ownership Reports, which had been December 1 of this year, will now be January 31, 2020. The Order announcing that action is available here. The FCC notice says that this additional time is needed to make updates to the ownership forms in the LMS database in which they are filed. The window for filing these reports will open on November 1. The information to be reported in these biennial ownership reports needs to be accurate as of October 1, 2019, which is unchanged from the requirement before yesterday’s announcement. The FCC is attempting to create a stable database of the ownership of stations, taken on October 1 every two years. While this is not the first time that the FCC has delayed the actual filing date for the Biennial Ownership Reports (see for instance the delay moving the last filing date from the originally scheduled 2017 into early 2018), they always want a snapshot of broadcast ownership as of October 1 of odd numbered years – even wanting reports from owners of stations on October 1 who sold those stations before the report filing deadline.

While the FCC has given broadcasters more time to file the Biennial Ownership Reports, broadcasters should not forget the three important dates next week that we have highlighted in recent days. These dates are:

  1. As we wrote yesterday, the FCC announced last week that FM radio (including translators and LPFM stations) will now use the LMS electronic filing systems for all applications for construction permits and license applications. This is another step in the FCC’s transition from the CDBS database that broadcasters have used for years, to LMS.
  2. Broadcasters need to remember to file by Monday, September 23, their ETRS Form Three. This form reports in detail on the station’s experiences in August’s Nationwide EAS Test. For more details, see our article here.
  3. Finally, commercial broadcasters need to remember to submit their annual regulatory fees by next Tuesday, September 24. For more information, see our articles here and here.