Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program

The many benefits of participating in the North Dakota Broadcasters Association's ABIP

The Federal Communications Commission and the NDBA have joined together in a very important public-private partnership. It is called the "Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program" or "ABIP".

What is the ABIP? Under this program, the FCC has agreed that it will not conduct a random inspection of your station for three years. The program does not prevent the FCC from conducting "targeted" inspections, such as for EAS compliance, or inspections based on individual complaints against a station.

What are the costs for participating? This program generally involves the expenditure of several hundred dollars per station. When compared to the benefits generated by the program, no station and no station group owner should view this cost as anything but extremely reasonable. If you are a current NDBA dues paying member and participate in the PEP programs, your station pays half the cost of the overall inspection while the association subsidizes the other half and all other incurred expenses.

Radio Members: $400/station Non-Members:$800/station
Television Members:$500/ station Non-Members:$1000/station

What are the benefits of such participation? A station which successfully completes the ABIP has freed itself from non-targeted, random FCC inspections for a period of three years. A random inspection by the FCC often carries with it the likelihood that the station will receive a citation which will require not only corrective action but consultation with experienced communications counsel to insure that the corrective action is indeed adequate and that the response to the FCC is fully adequate, truthful and contains a "defense" (if there is one) that is not frivolous, misleading or actually counterproductive. The station staff time and legal cost required to engage in this consultative/corrective action process does not even include the amount of the possible forfeiture which may flow from any violation(s). As the FCC's routine News Releases reflect, the fines are often in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, even for the most technical of violations. The FCC continues to inspect stations nationwide on a targeted basis. For example, EAS Compliance is a current focus. While participation in the ABIP may not stop a targeted FCC inspection, the successful completion of the program should eliminate the real risk that the FCC will find something of significance amiss at the station. This is a very important byproduct of the ABIP participation. The FCC wants broad, vigorous participation in this program in order to reduce the need for FCC inspections and to raise the level of compliance throughout the entire country. If your station does not participate in the NDBA’s ABIP, you are at risk that the FCC may target your station for inspection. Visit the online checklist.