1. Open Meetings

  1. Governing Legislation:  The Communications Act provides:

    Funds may not be distributed pursuant to this subsection to the Public Broadcasting Service or National Public Radio (or any successor organization), or to the licensee or permittee of any public broadcast station, unless the governing body of any such organization, any committee of such governing body, or any advisory body of any such organization, holds open meetings preceded by reasonable notice to the public.  

    All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the board, or any such committee or body, and no person shall be required, as a condition to attendance at any such meeting, to register such person’s name or to provide any other information. § 396(k)(4)

    The term ‘meeting’ means the deliberations of at least the number of members of a governing or advisory body, or any committee thereof, required to take action on behalf of such body or committee where such deliberations determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of the governing or advisory body’s business, or the committee’s business, as the case may be, but only to the extent that such deliberations relate to public broadcasting. §397(5)

  2.  Open Meetings: Meetings that must be open to the public include, but are not limited to, the following (collectively Open Meetings):
    1. board meetings;
    2. board committee meetings; and
    3. community advisory board (CAB) meetings. 
  3. Prerequisites for a “Meeting”:  In order for a gathering of board, committee, or CAB members to constitute a meeting under the Act, the following are necessary:  
    1. the presence of a quorum; and
    2. deliberations that determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of business relating to public broadcasting.

    Note that deliberations do not require any formal action or vote. Any discussion of public broadcasting issues that may influence the opinions of members makes it a meeting.

  4. Access to Open Meetings:  The Act requires stations to allow anyone to attend any Open Meeting (or any portion of a meeting that is open) without requiring the person to register, or provide his or her name or other information. In the event such information is necessary to ensure a safe meeting environment, CPB would not consider such a request a violation of the Act.
  5. Notice of Open Meetings: The Act requires stations to provide the public with reasonable advance notice of an Open Meeting. Stations may satisfy that requirement by providing at least seven days’ advance notice of an Open Meeting, including the time and place of the meeting, by:
    1. posting notice on the station’s website[1];
    2. broadcasting notice on-air between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., as shown by the station’s log;
    3. placing notice in the “Legal Notices” section of a local newspaper in general circulation in the station’s primary coverage area; or
    4. giving notice through a recorded announcement accessible on the station’s phone system.

[1] “Station website,” as defined in the General Provisions, includes the CSG recipient’s station website, if it has one, and if not then its licensee’s website or an affiliated station’s website. If the CSG recipient has none of the foregoing, it may, with CPB’s approval, use a website shared by other public broadcasting stations.