Whether or not TV stations are OK with needing to place their political files in a searchable online database overseen by the FCC—and many, for the record, are not—that is going to be a requirement for all stations starting July 1. That’s all of them, not only the top four stations in the top 50 markets now required to do so.
We would advise them all, top 50 and the balance, to bone up on the exact right way to do it, so they don’t leave themselves open to complaints from campaign finance reformers. The advice was prompted by complaints filed against 11 stations last week.
To its credit, NAB said it “takes seriously the political file rules” and will work with its members and advertisers toward a goal of 100% compliance. With a midterm election about to fill broadcast TV dance cards with political ad partners, and groups trolling the online database, broadcasters need to make sure they are familiar with the filing procedures and have their files up to date.