FCC Releases Report And Order On Ownership Report Form Changes
January 21, 2016 at 4:18 AM (PT)
The FCC has released the report and order on changes in its ownership report Form 323, adding a "Restricted Use FRN" to help small businesses and individuals avoid having to report their Social Security numbers on ownership reports. The RUFRNs replace the Special Use FRN. The form has also been revised to change noncommercial educational station's reporting to more closely hew to those of commercial stations, including a biennial requirement for filing, information about race, gender, and ethnicity; and use of a unique identifier, and deadlines for filing have been extended and the number of filings reduced.
Commissioner AJIT PAI's partial dissent criticized the Commission for taking "far too long" to determine the identifying number, saying that the FCC "has been pirouetting on a pinhead" trying to come up with a unique identifier for those with attributable interests and has "pondered which snowflake(s) to pluck from a blizzard of acronyms (CORES FRN, SUFRN, RUFRN, and more) for almost twice as long as it took the U.S. to defeat the Axis powers during WORLD WAR II."
He said that the Commission has gone down "rabbit holes" in the proceeding while ignoring or rejecting measures like an incubator program that he said would boost minority and female ownership. And he said he "cannot support the Commission’s imposition of a requirement that the officers and directors of noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcasters provide us with personal information, including the last four digits of an SSN, to obtain unique identifiers," adding that he fails to see any tangible benefit coming from the requirement, since multiple ownership rules do not apply to NCE stations; he also voiced continuing privacy concerns.
And Commissioner MIKE O'RIELLY also partially dissented, also on the basis of adding disclosure requirements to noncommercial educational station interest holders, questioning "whether the data collected will have any valuable impact on our decision making."