February 1st marks the deadline for two FCC EEO requirements. First, by February 1st, radio and television stations located in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Oklahoma must prepare their Annual EEO Public File Reports. Specifically, stations or Station Employment Units (SEUs) in those states with five or more full time employees (30 hours or more per week) must: (1) prepare their Annual EEO Public File Report; (2) place it in the public inspection file of each station comprising the SEU; and (3) post the Report on the Web site, if any station in the SEU has a Web site, all by Feb. 1. The Annual EEO Public File Report summarizes the hiring and EEO activities conducted by the station or SEU during the past 12 months. The Report provides information about the full time job positions filled in the last year, the recruitment sources used to fill those positions, and the outreach activities that the station or SEU performed during the year. In preparing their Annual Reports, stations are encouraged to carefully review their EEO activities and take the time to organize their records. Stations should have appropriate documentation to back up each of the recruitment sources used for each job opening, as well as for each outreach activity. This annual report is also a good time for the station or employment unit to assess the success of its outreach and the efficacy of its recruitment sources, and to make any adjustments necessary to improve EEO compliance in the coming year. A copy of our longer EEO primer can be found here.
Second, in addition to preparing the Annual EEO Public File Report, by February 1 television stations in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma , as well as larger radio stations in New Jersey and New York (i.e., those with eleven or more full-time employees) must prepare and file electronically with the Commission an FCC Form 397 Mid-Term EEO Report. The Form 397 provides the FCC with copies of the SEU's two most recent Annual EEO Public File Reports, and is an important part of both the station’s compliance with the EEO rules and the Commission’s monitoring procedures. While normally the Annual Report is simply prepared and placed in the station's public file and on the website, at the mid-point of the license term stations must actually provide the FCC with copies of its two most recent Reports. More information about both of these February 1 filing deadlines can be found in our recent client advisory available here.