FCC to Commence EEO Audits
The FCC is poised to commence random audits of broadcast stations, cable systems, and other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) to gauge compliance with the equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules that became effective in March 2003. In a letter to the United Church of Christ earlier this month, Chairman Michael K. Powell reiterated the FCC’s commitment to conduct the EEO audits. The Chairman also defended the Commission’s decision to wait until the new rules had been in place for a year before conducting the audits to allow broadcasters sufficient time to implement new policies and document compliance.
The audits, which are to begin before the end of the month, will be conducted randomly of approximately 550 radio stations, 70 broadcast television stations and 70 MVPDs, including 5 percent of cable operators. In addition, a sampling of smaller stations and MVPDs that have claimed exemption from the EEO requirements will also be audited to ensure their qualification for the exemption and verify any discrimination information.
Please let us know if you would like assistance in reviewing your policies governing compliance with the Commission’s EEO rules, including preparation of your public file reports. With the radio renewal season in full swing and the Chairman’s commitment to ensuring EEO compliance by both broadcasters and MVPDs, now may be a good time to review your company’s EEO initiatives.