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John Oliver on net neutrality.

How to comment on and keep track of FCC proceedings

It has been a relatively quiet week in social media radio-land. Don’t worry, Pandora, Spotify, Last.fm . . . they’re all puttering along. Gazillions of listeners are listening and clicking “like” buttons, or not, but nothing earth shaking has happened over the last few days. So instead of the regular updates we schedule for Mondays, I thought I’d offer a quick tutorial on how to be socially interactive with the Federal Communications Commission’s comment and proceedings databases.

The Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System website is where folks comment on ongoing FCC proceedings. A “proceeding” is a formally launched discussion on how the agency should implement a law or some portion of it, or change its current rules for implementing a law. Some weeks ago John Oliver directed a whole lot of people to the easiest way to interface with ECFS, the fcc.gov/comments page, in the hopes that they would weigh in on the Commission’s net neutrality proceeding (which they did).

But the FCC runs lots of other proceedings too. The trick is knowing the proceeding number. Once you’ve obtained  this, just go to the comment form and upload any word or pdf or whatever kind of electronic document you’ve produced (or you can submit a quickie comment without an upload). Your feedback will become part of that FCC rules proceeding.

Knowing the proceeding number means that you can also keep track of what other people are commenting on proceedings. Take, for example, the FCC’s comment cycle on the future of AM radio. The proceeding number for that is 13-249. So plug that number into the proceedings search page, and voila!

An FCC proceeding.

Keep in mind that you can turn any proceeding into an RSS feed and keep track of it that way. Now you’ve got access to what everybody is saying about this matter. In this case notice the comments filed by NPR and iBiquity Digital, among other big radio stakeholders.

So how can you find proceeding numbers? The FCC’s comments page offers some of the hottest proceedings (most notably net neutrality). Otherwise you are basically on your own. One tip: when you see a pdf filing in some FCC related news story, check the upper right hand section of the document page. The proceeding docket number is often there.

Or, you can ask me (no guarantees).

Back to radio/music social networking stuff next week!



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