Washington

Political File Posting: The Time to Talk Is Now

FCC wants to hear from broadcasters and others about its decision to require online posting of TV station political files 7/22/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

The FCC wants to hear from broadcasters and
others about its decision to require online posting
of TV station political files. Stations have
long been required to keep hard copies of contracts
with political ad buyers, but the FCC last
August started requesting that the information,
and other public file info, be submitted online.

The commission is phasing in this requirement,
initially applying it to the Big Four network
affiliates in the top 50 markets, with the same
obligation kicking in for the rest of the stations in
July 2014—unless it hears anything in these comments
to make it adjust the program.

The FCC reportedly has received 66,000-plus
political file documents, and the general online
public file has generated 2.5 million page views.
The file has been used by campaign finance reform
groups—notably the Sunlight Foundation—
to track spending and spotlight disclosure issues.

Also sought are comments on a petition by
top broadcast groups to reconsider the requirement,
or amend it so stations could opt to file
an aggregate total for political buys rather than
spot prices. Stations have argued that giving the
competition access to “competitively sensitive”
pricing info puts them at a disadvantage. The
deadline for comments is Sept. 23.

 

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