Garvey Schubert Barer Legal Update, May 14, 2008.
At the end of 2007, the FCC adopted a new requirement for television stations - the filing of quarterly enhanced disclosure reports on Form 355, which replaces the requirement to prepare and place in the public file a quarterly issues programs report. Once approved by OMB, television stations will prepare and file the quarterly Form 355 and will no longer need to prepare quarterly issues programs reports.
We continue to await OMB approval, but we recently received an indication from the FCC that it will not require filing of the Form 355 for this quarter. When the FCC issued a correction to the newly-adopted rules on May 5, 2008, it specifically stated that the rule changes would not become effective until OMB approval, and that all stations are expected to prepare their standard quarterly issues programs reports for the second quarter - not the enhanced disclosure report.
The reprieve from a second-quarter filing gives televisions some breathing room to gear up for the information-gathering necessary to complete the form. It calls for extensive quantitative data, including the average number of hours per week of programming on primary and non-primary channels devoted to national news, local news, local civic affairs, local electoral affairs, and independently produced programming.