June 24 Is Red-Letter Day for Cable Public Files

FCC's online requirement kicks in

The FCC has set June 24, 2016, as the date that cable providers and satellite TV and radio operators will have to start uploading their public files to the FCC's online database.

The commission voted Jan 28 to expand the online filing requirement it required of TV stations starting in 2012.

Cable systems with more than 1,000 subs, DBS providers, satellite radio operators and radio stations in the top 50 markets must start uploading their new files June 24 and existing files within six months after that date, with the exception of political files.

Cable operators with 1,000 or more subs but fewer than 5,000 will not have to put political files in the online database until March 1,2018. Cable systems with fewer than 1,000 subs are exempt from all filing requirements.

Also on June 24, TV stations will have to use the new expanded online public inspection file (OPIF) rather than the existing online broadcast public inspection file (BPIF). The FCC says the new system, which will be cloud-based, will make it easier to upload files and to connect the online file to third-party web-hosting services.

The FCC's goal is to make the files more easily searchable by the public and other interested parties.

Cable operators and others cn demo the OPIF at https://publicfiles-demo.fcc.gov/admin/.

The FCC also reminded broadcasters of their requirement to put copies of all joint sales agreements in their public files.