by Laura Lynch Flick and Scott R. Flick
April 1, 2017 is the deadline for broadcast stations licensed to communities in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas to place their annual EEO Public File Report in their public inspection file and post the report on their station website. In addition, certain of these stations, as detailed below, must electronically file their EEO Mid-term Report on FCC Form 397 by April 3, 2017 ( as April 1 falls on a weekend).
Under the FCC’s EEO Rule, all radio and television station employee units ( “SEUs”), regardless of staff size, must afford equal opportunity to all qualified persons and practice nondiscrimination in employment.
In addition, those SEUs with five or more full-time employees (“Nonexempt SEUs”) must also comply with the FCC’s three-prong outreach requirements. Nonexempt SEUs must broadly and inclusively diseminate information about every full-time job vacancies to referral organizations that have requested such notification, and earn a certain minimum number of EEO credits, based on participation in various non-vacancy-specific outreach initiatives ( “Menu Options”) suggested by the FCC, during each of the two-year segments (four segments total) that comprise a station’s eight -year license term. These Menu Option initiatives include, for example, sponsoring job fairs, and having an internship program.
Nonexempt SEUs must prepare and place their Annual EEO Public File Report in the public inspection files and on the websites of all stations comprising the SEU ( if they have a website) by the anniversary date of the deadline for that station’s license renewal application. The Annual EEO Public File Report summarizes the SEUs EEO activities during the previous 12 months and the licensee must maintain adequate records to document those activities. Nonexempt SEUs must submit to the FCC the two most recent Annual EEO Public File Reports with the license renewal applications.
In addition, all TV station SEUs with five or more full-time employees and all radio station SEUs with more than ten full-time employees must submit to the FCC the tow most recent Annual EEO Public File Reports at the midpoint of their eight-year license term along with FCC Form 397–the Broadcast Mid-Term EEO Report.
Exempt SEUs–those with fewer than five full-time employees–do not have to prepare or file Annual or Mid-Term EEO Reports.
For a detailed description of the EEO rule and practical assistance in preparing in preparing a compliance plan, broadcasters should consult the FCC’s Equal Employment Opportunity Rules and Policies–A Guide for Broadcasters published by Pillsbury’s Communications Practice Group.