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FCC Activity Report from V-Soft

Sooner or later you may receive email from “FCC Activity Alert <>” with the subject “FCC Activity Report from V-Soft for“. Stations send these emails to Prometheus sometimes, because they are confused or alarmed, or simply to make sure we have all of their important information. We’re happy to talk about the specifics or concerns, but here’s some general information to get started.

Who: V-Soft sells (expensive!) software and services primarily to professional broadcast engineers, including to us at Prometheus. They are NOT the FCC, NOT the government, NOT official in any way. At least one other company is known to send similar emails, and someday Prometheus might too.

You’re getting these emails because your name is associated with one or more FCC applications.

What: The email contains the public status of your FCC applications from the FCC’s LMS online application-filing system. It’s all public knowledge you’ll already know if you’re keeping up with your application status.  It is both a courtesy to let you know if something has changed, and an advertisement for V-Soft’s “PREMIUM FCC Activity Reports”.

V-Soft is one of several companies, groups, and individuals who monitor FCC data and email selected information to people who express an interest in monitoring certain stations. We generally call these alert services and even have one of our own in house, which we may make available publicly from time to time.

When: V-Soft’s emails, and those from other companies which sell services to monitor FCC data, are sent after a change occurs, for example an application is filed, or granted. The courtesy/advertisement emails may be issued the same day or even 2-4 weeks following the change, while the paid services may be issued in less than an hour. The paid services also allow you to monitor other stations of interest.

Why: Alert services like this one from V-Soft exist because while the FCC is good about making important data public quickly, they don’t make it easy to track stations of interest, even your own. The FCC model traditionally has been that one has to manually check, preferably every day, both LMS and the daily FCC bulletins. That makes it easy to miss an important change, which may have specific legal requirements and an important deadline.

It’s pretty easy to program a computer to monitor FCC data and send email, but programs sometimes have bugs, so the manual-check model is still the gold standard,.

How: Alert services usually download the daily FCC database releases, check (“scrape”) the FCC LMS public search website pages, and may also scrape the FCC’s daily bulletins. When application status changes are detected, they are emailed to associated or interested parties.

Finally… These courtesy/advertisement emails can be ignored. However it’s never a bad idea check that your FCC applications’ status is what you expect it to be, but be aware that the email might reflect FCC status as of days or weeks ago rather than the current status, which is an incentive to purchase their upgraded service…