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FCC Issues $25K Fine for Late EEO Annual Reports and Lack of Outreach


For years, EEO enforcement fell under the jurisdiction of the Media Bureau. A few years ago, EEO oversight shifted to the Enforcement Bureau. As we noted then, The Enforcement Bureau will aggressively enforce all EEO rules.


An example of increased EEO enforcement involves a recent $25,000 fine on two commonly owned clusters of broadcast stations. The proposed fine was based on two EEO Annual Public File Reports at one cluster being uploaded late (one 5 months late, the other 17 months late) and one Annual Report at the other cluster being uploaded over a year late.


The FCC also found that, in two cases, the stations had not publicized job openings in a manner likely to reach the entire community served by the stations, as the rule that broadcasters “widely disseminate” information about job openings requires - relying solely on a recommendation from a departing employee in one case, and on the licensee’s on-air announcements on its own stations in the other. The Bureau also faulted the broadcaster for not keeping adequate paperwork to document its EEO efforts and for not conducting the required “self-assessment” that would have uncovered the issues.


This precedent-setting fine signals a more aggressive EEO enforcement policy. Be sure to take the EEO rules seriously and make sure you are filing the Annual Reports on time.


You can see the Enforcement Bureau’s decision here.


You can see a detailed discussion of the decision by noted communications attorney David Oxenford here.

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