MYTH: LPFM stations are required to have a public file, do quarterly reports, have a chief operator as well as file ownership and EEO reports.
This myth culminates from confusion between the full-service and LPFM rules.
Full-service stations are required to maintain a public inspection file. This file is maintained online through a website maintained by the FCC. The public inspection file includes various documents that need to be uploaded by the station including an issues list that is uploaded once per quarter. These rules for full-service stations can be found in §73.3527.
Full-service stations are required to designate a person as a chief operator. The chief operator is responsible for inspections and calibrations of the transmission system and making any repairs or adjustments. The chief operator is also required to review the station records at least once per week to assure that entries are being made correctly. The rules for full-service stations can be found in §73.1870.
Full-service stations are required to file ownership reports once every two years and when certain application activity takes place. These rules can be found in §73.3615.
Full-service stations are required to file Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) reports at the time of their renewal and in the event of other specific application activity. These rules can be found in §73.2080.
FCC rules regarding LPFM stations can be found in Subpart G (§73.8xx). §73.801 of the rules is a cross reference of rules that are not in Subpart G but also apply to LPFM stations. §73.801 contains no cross-references to any of these rules shown, therefore they are not applicable to LPFM stations.
LPFM stations may voluntarily maintain a public file however, LPFM stations do not have access to the FCC’s public file website to upload documents. REC provides a voluntary public file system at lpfm.ws and stations can voluntarily upload documents there. Documents uploaded have no legal bearing on the station. REC is in the process of moving the LPFM Voluntary Public Inspection File uploading and maintenance functions into the REC myLPFM platform and expects release of that functionality in 2024.
LPFM stations are not required to have a chief operator however LPFM stations are required under §73.877 to maintain basic station logs. LPFM stations are expected to maintain compliance with all technical rules at all times. REC provides a “Self-Inspection Checklist” to assist in compliance. This can be found at https://recnet.com/checklist.
The FCC’s License Management System (LMS) does allow LPFM entities to file ownership reports, but this reporting is completely voluntary.
LPFM stations have no method of filing EEO reports and while LPFM stations are expected, under §73.881 to maintain basic EEO policies, they are not required to have formal EEO programs if they have 5 or more full time employees.
FACT: LPFM stations are not required to have a public file or a chief operator, nor are they required to file ownership or EEO reports.