FCC Votes to End Tower Site License Posting Requirement

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The FCC voted early, removing an item from today’s agenda, on a decision to eliminate requiring broadcasters to post station licenses at certain locations — including tower sites. The rules date from the 1930’s. Noting that much of the information contained on licenses is now accessible online, the Commissioners voted to eliminate the provisions in Parts 1, 5, 73 and 74 of FCC rules, regarding license posting in certain locations.

No commenters opposed the change. The Commission found the requirements are often ineffective. The NAB told the FCC, requirements that mandate posting at the tower site can be of little benefit to the public because certain transmission sites, “are often in areas surrounded by security fencing, thereby limiting the public access to these facilities and any posted information.”

NAB found the most plausible reason for the requirements is that they were intended to ensure that a station’s authorization, ownership and contact information were readily accessible to Commission inspectors and the public, however, there’s “no evidence that anyone avails themselves of the opportunity afforded by the current rules. Thus, the time and effort spent by station personnel to post and maintain these posting requirements is without any corresponding public benefit.”

Broadcasters also told the Commission that because licensees typically don’t own the towers on which their antennas are placed, eliminating requirements to have licensees’ information physically displayed would not likely impede a first responder’s ability to contact the appropriate person during an emergency. In many cases, antenna structure registration numbers allow first responders and others to quickly identify a tower owner in the event of a lighting outage, collision or other problem.

The change is effective upon Federal Register publication.

December 12, 2018

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