Noncoms Seek Carve-Out From Station Reporting Proposals
CPB, PBS and APTS say their delivery of programming of interest to communities is self-evident
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/30/2012 5:03:18 PM
In comments on the FCC's proposal to require online reporting of station information, including potentially additional information about what types of programming they are airing, CPB, PBS and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) said that any new programming disclosure rules should include a safe-harbor for CPB-qualified TV station licensees who submit relevant portions of the studies and surveys they already have to conduct and submit to CPB.
The FCC tentatively concluded that noncom stations should not get a carve-out from proposals to make station info more accessible online, including possibly replacing the current issues/programs list with more detailed descriptions of programming. PBS et al want to meet any new reporting requirements by submitting portions of the Station Activities Benchmarking Study (SABS) and Station Activity Survey 9SAS) they already file annually with CPB. They point out those already provide info on how stations are serving their communities.
Making those surveys, with sensitive financial info withheld, available on the FCC's Web site "would provide members of the public with ready access to this information and allow them to evaluate Public Television Licensees' programming activities," the noncoms argue, while avoiding imposing new info collection burdens on cash-strapped stations.
"We support the Commission's effort to standardize information about their public interest programming and activities," said Lonna Thompson, executive VP and general counsel of APTS, in a statement. "However, we strongly encourage the Commission to exempt public television licensees from burdensome reporting requirements given public television licensees' demonstrated success in delivering upon their mission to provide programming that addresses the needs and interests of their local communities."
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