3. Open Financial Records

  1. Governing Legislation:  The Communications Act provides as follows:

    Funds may not be distributed pursuant to this subsection to any public telecommunications entity that does not maintain for public examination copies of the annual financial and audit reports, or other information regarding finances, submitted to the Corporation pursuant to subsection (l)(3)(B). §396)(k)(5)

    Subsection (l)(3)(B) requires public telecommunications entities to comply with the following[1]:

    1. to keep its books, records, and accounts in such form as may be required by the Corporation;
    2. (I) to undergo a biennial audit by independent certified public accountants or independent licensed public accountants certified or licensed by a regulatory authority of a State, which shall be in accordance with auditing standards developed by the Corporation, in consultation with the Comptroller General; or
      (II)  to submit a financial statement in lieu of the audit required by subclause (I) if the Corporation determines that the cost of such audit on such entity is excessive in light of the financial condition of such entity; and
    3. to furnish biennially to the Corporation a copy of the audit report required pursuant to clause (ii) as well as such other information regarding finances (including an annual financial report) as the Corporation may require.   
  2. Public Telecommunications Entity:  The Act defines “public telecommunications entity” as any enterprise that:
    1. is a public broadcast station or a noncommercial telecommunications entity; and
    2. disseminates public telecommunications services to the public. §397(12) 
  3. Public Telecommunications Services: The Act defines “public telecommunications services” as:

    noncommercial educational and cultural radio and television programs, and related noncommercial instructional or informational material that may be transmitted by means of electronic communications. §397(14)

  4. Noncommercial Telecommunications Entity:  The Act defines “noncommercial telecommunications entity” as any enterprise that:

    A. is owned and operated by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, a public agency, or a nonprofit private foundation, corporation or association; and

    B. has been organized primarily for the purpose of disseminating audio or video noncommercial educational and cultural programs to the public by means other than primary television or radio broadcast station, including but not limited to, coaxial cable, optical fiber, broadcast translators, cassettes, discs, microwave, or laser transmission through the atmosphere. §397(7)

  5. The Public’s Access to Financial Information:  The Act requires stations to make available to the public their annual financial and audit reports and other financial information they are required to provide to CPB. CPB also requires that each CSG recipient post the following documents on its station website: 
    1. its most recent audited financial statement or un-audited financial statement for stations exempt from providing audited financial statements; and
    2. its most recent annual financial report (AFR) or annual financial summary report (FSR) (whichever is applicable).