Community Advisory Board Requirements

  1. Governing Legislation: The Community Advisory Board (CAB) requirements in the Communications Act are as follows: 

    (A)  Funds may not be distributed pursuant to this subpart to any public broadcasting station (other than any station which is owned and operated by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency) unless such station establishes a community advisory board. Any such station shall undertake good faith efforts to assure that: 
    i) its advisory board meets at regular intervals; 
    (ii) the members of its advisory board regularly attend the meetings of the advisory board; and 
    (iii) the composition of its advisory board are reasonably representative of the diverse needs and interests of the communities served by such station.

    (B) The board shall be permitted to review the programming goals established by the station, the service provided by the station, and the significant policy decisions rendered by the station. The board may also be delegated any other responsibilities, as determined by the governing body of the station.  The board shall advise the governing body of the station with respect to whether the programming and other policies of the station are meeting the specialized educational and cultural needs of the communities served by the station, and may make such recommendations as it considers appropriate to meet such needs.

    (C) The role of the board shall be solely advisory in nature, except to the extent other responsibilities are delegated to the board by the governing body of the station.  In no case shall the board have any authority to exercise any control over the daily management or operation of the station.

    (D) In the case of any public broadcast station (other than any station which is owned and operated by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency) in existence on November 2, 1978, such station shall comply with the requirements of this paragraph with respect to the establishment of a community advisory board not later than 180 days after November 2, 1978.

    (E) The provision of subparagraph (A) prohibiting the distribution of funds to any public broadcast station (other than any station which is owned and operated by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency) unless such station establishes a community advisory board shall be the exclusive remedy for the enforcement of the provisions of this paragraph. §396(k)(8)

  2. CAB Required for Most Stations: All stations other than those owned by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency must have a CAB[1]
  3. CAB’s Advisory Role:  The CAB’s role is advisory in nature but may have other responsibilities delegated to it by the station or its governing body.  However, the CAB must not exercise any control over the daily management or operation of the station.
  4. Station’s Oversight of CAB:  The Act requires that stations make good faith efforts to ensure that: 
    1. the CAB meets at regular intervals;
    2. the CAB members regularly attend its meetings; and
    3. the CAB reasonably represents the diverse needs and interests of the communities served by the station.
  5. CAB’s Responsibilities:  :  A CAB may establish and follow its own schedule and agenda. The CAB’s structure and composition, including the number of members, their terms, and method of appointment and removal, should be established by the station’s governing body. The CAB’s responsibilities include: 
    1. the right to review the station’s programming goals;
    2. the right to review the service provided by the station;
    3. the right to review significant policy decisions rendered by the station; and
    4. the obligation to advise the station’s governing body on whether the station’s programming and other significant policies are meeting the specialized educational and cultural needs of the communities served by the station, and to make recommendations the CAB deems appropriate to meet such needs.
  6. CAB Annual Certification: The Act requires stations to certify annually their compliance with the CAB requirements. This certification is a part of CPB’s required Certification of Eligibility.

[1] This requirement includes private college or university licensees that are not “owned and operated by a State, a political or special purpose subdivision of a State, or a public agency.” §396(k)(8)