Public Broadcasting Compliance Services (Media)

Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC attorneys understand that public broadcasting stations incur special obligations that stem from receiving grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (“CPB”). These obligations come from the public broadcasting provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, CPB’s Community Service Grant General (“CSG”) Provisions and Eligibility Criteria, and individual grants from CPB and other funders.

The firm assists public broadcasting stations with their regulatory, transactional, and other legal needs that are common to all broadcasters. However, Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth, PLC understands that the public broadcasting industry is subject to additional statutory mandates like universal service, objectivity and balance in programming of a controversial nature, and serving unserved and underserved audiences. Additionally, the firm’s attorneys are well versed with CPB’s policies, grant eligibility requirements, and grant agreement terms. The firm’s attorneys collaborate with other public media experts through participation in the Public Media Consulting Group (www.publicmediaconsulting.com) to provide public broadcasting entities with a comprehensive array of compliance related services.

The firm can assist public broadcasting stations and other entities receiving CPB grants with a variety of services that are tailored specifically for them:

  • Performing on-site review of public broadcasting station compliance with the terms of the CSG Agreement including:
    • An evaluation of the Station’s compliance with the CSG General Provisions and Eligibility Criteria;
    • An evaluation of the Station’s compliance with the applicable certification requirements in the public broadcasting provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended;
    • An evaluation of the Station’s internal processes and procedures regarding risk management, about which CPB’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) auditors routinely inquire, that protect CSG and other funds from waste, fraud, or abuse; and
    • Recommendations for improving compliance with the CSG General Provisions and Eligibility Criteria and the certification requirements, as well as internal practices and controls to meet CPB requirements.
  • The firm’s attorneys can answer questions about CPB requirements and provide direction regarding CPB compliance through strategic advice on policy formulation, policy updates, best practices, and documentation development.
  • The firm’s attorneys can assist stations with developing and implementing policies that comply with the requirements in CPB’s CSG General Provisions and Eligibility Criteria. When a station is audited, CPB’s OIG auditors test for policy implementation. Having the proper policies in place will assist stations with having the proper documents that an OIG auditor will ask for and help ensure compliance with CPB grant terms.
  • The firm can assist public broadcasting entities facing a CPB OIG audit with preparation for the audit experience. Services include document assembly and review of station policy and practices. While no one can change history, the firm’s attorneys can provide direction for moving forward to document the implementation of prospective compliance measures.
  • Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC attorneys offer an email alerting service that immediately notifies public broadcasting stations each time the CPB OIG issues a report. The alerts summarize report findings so stations understand IG criticisms and can take steps to avoid the practices criticized ina report.
  • The firm’s attorneys are available to facilitate public broadcasting meetings or training seminars. When conducting a meeting or retreat, the best way to promote a positive outcome is to create an environment where the desired goals can be achieved. Part of this environment is having a facilitator that understands the unique needs of a public broadcasting station and can provide relevant direction to a public media groups discussing planning or strategy. The firm’s attorneys have considerable experience working in the public broadcasting industry and understand the internal and external factors that can influence public media business decisions.

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