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OPIF Encourages Stations to Re-Evaluate Their Public Affairs Programming (Ascertainment – Compliancy Programming – Issues)
Is OPIF, the new FCC Online Public Information File system, prompting you to take a look at how your station has been documenting your public affairs programs? Are you scrambling to figure out who among your overburdened staff has time to track the compliancy issues and update your station’s public file? Or, are you reassessing the actual public affairs program you’re currently airing and wondering if it meets all of the FCC’s requirements?
Public Affairs Programming Does Not Have To Be Produced Locally
We talk to program directors, public affairs directors and traffic staff everyday, in big and small markets all across the country, and we know every station grapples with these challenges. One thing we hear a lot is that stations are using their own staff time and resources to put together a public affairs show each week because they believe that the FCC requires public affairs to be locally produced. This is a misconception.
Public Affairs Programming Needs to Address Your Community’s Concerns
The FCC requires stations to operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity” by airing programming that is “responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license,” but there is nothing preventing stations from using syndicated programming like ours, which is national in scope, to meet the needs of their communities. Our two shows, Radio Health Journal and Viewpoints Radio, cover universal topics of interest like health, education, the economy, technology, civil rights, and many others that you’ll find on the list of issues that you’ve identified as important to your local community. Some of our affiliates air one or both of our programs exclusively, and some use them to supplement their own local shows or even other syndicated programming.
We’re Part of Your Public Affairs Programming Team
We consider ourselves almost as adjunct staff for radio stations. We provide the programs for free, and we make the paperwork as easy as we possibly can. For the past few years, in anticipation of OPIF, we’ve been compiling the quarterly logs into documents that you can download from our website and stick into your public file. Everything that you need is there: titles, names, date, time, duration and descriptions of the compliancy issues covered. It’s all the information from 13 weeks of program logs, conveniently pasted into one document for you – which you can then easily upload into OPIF. Our affiliates love it, and in the 25+ years that we’ve been producing public affairs programming, not one of our affiliates had ever had problems with the FCC regarding their public file.
We Make Public Affairs Programming Easy For You and Interesting For Your Listeners
In addition to digitalizing our quarterly reports for affiliates, we’ve also eliminated the paperwork of affidavits. No more mailing in, faxing or emailing forms to us: all it takes now is a quick click in a box on the screen. Our listeners also enjoy being able to read our program transcripts online, and finding out more about guests and topics on our Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
Like many of you, we are excited by all the technological innovations in our industry, including OPIF, but we also know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes. We’re happy to help you navigate all that and cross some of the most time-consuming tasks off of your to do list. Talk to us about becoming an affiliate today.