Issues & Programs Reports

The purpose of the Issues and Programs Reports is to show that your station has served its community during that period of time. The annual report is due on December 1st of each year, but quarterly reports are also required to be posted on a station’s Online Public Inspection File using the following schedule:

  • January 10: information for the months of October, November and December of the previous year
  • April 10: information for the months of January, February and March
  • July 10: information for the months of and April, May and June
  • October 10: information for the months of July, August and September

Download an Issues & Programs Advisory and Sample Quarterly Report prepared by Scott Flick of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington D.C. Also, here are some guidelines for your quarterly reports:

  1. The issues list should be fairly general rather than specific.
    Issues might include unemployment, police protection, schools, pollution, jails, the availability of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, and DWI.
  2. The issues list should be no fewer than four issues and no more than ten.
    Most community issues are expressed as community needs and should change from quarter to quarter. For example, the issue “Education” may be more commonly discussed in the fall when school starts and might include the issue of overcrowded schools, while “Environment” may be more top of mind during the summer when people are outdoors and forest fires are a danger to air quality.

The response a station is expected to make to those issues is programming to help meet that community need. Most of these programs are discussion programs, interviews, or documentaries.

  1. The programs list should include programs that address the issues of concern in your community, that are outlined in your issues list.
    These are the programs that are generally considered “Public Affairs” programs.
  2. List each program with the time and date it airs as well as the program length.
    The program descriptions should include a brief narrative of the show’s content, including the name of the show host, the guest, the guest’s title or position and the topic of the show. 

Additionally, stations should note regular programming that serves your community. Some examples include news, weather and traffic reports. Add a line to your Quarterly Report that says something like “[THE STATION] provides local weather and traffic reports three times an hour every morning and afternoon and once an hour outside drive time” or “[THE STATION] carries 5 minutes of network news followed by 5 minutes of local news every hour.”

In addition, VAB NCSA campaigns can also be included in your quarterly report as meeting community concerns. If you have any question about current campaigns or a campaign’s importance to communities across the state, please contact

Download the example of an Issues and Programs Report from the DC attorneys at Davis, Wright & Tremaine.