FCC Public Information

March 1, 2018

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About Public Inspection Files

For decades, the public file for each broadcast station has been kept at the station’s main studio in paper form (or more recently in electronic form at some stations) and made available during normal business hours. The public file for each cable system has been kept at an office in the community served by the system, while the DBS and SDARS files have been maintained at the entity’s headquarters office. Relying on the advantages of current technology, however, the Commission has now changed its rules to require almost all of this public file information for broadcast stations, cable systems, DBS providers, and SDARS licensees to be posted online at this site. As a result, members of the public will be able to find information regarding individual stations, cable systems, and DBS and SDARS entities more easily and at any time convenient to them.

Each entity’s public file currently includes both items that have to be filed with the Commission and items that are only available in the local public file retained at the station (or in its community of license), cable system, or DBS or SDARS headquarters office. After the online public file transition is complete, virtually all of these items will be gathered together and made available here. The items required to be in the public file, the rule section requiring each item to be placed in the file, and the retention period for each item, are listed below. A short, plain-language description of each item is also provided, but is included for convenience and should not be relied upon in place of the underlying rules’ description of the item. The text of the public file rule section requiring each item to be placed in the file can be displayed by clicking on it. Exceptions to the online filing requirement for any of the below-listed public file items, if applicable, are noted in the description of the relevant item.