NAB Backs Off Political File Challenge - Broadcasting & Cable

NAB Backs Off Political File Challenge

Asks court to delay hearing its appeal until Feb. 15
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After fighting hard against the FCC’s online political file posting mandate, broadcasters have backed off their court challenge, at least for now.

The National Association of Broadcasters last week asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to delay hearing its appeal of the mandate from Oct. 4 to next Feb. 15. The suggestion is that experience gained from this election cycle will help the NAB determine how, and even if, to proceed. The NAB says the FCC and its supporters are OK with pushing back the schedule.

Last April, the FCC voted to require the top four affiliates in the 50 largest TV markets to start uploading their political files online; the regulation went into effect Aug. 2. Both the FCC and the appeals court rejected broadcaster requests for stays.

The FCC still has before it a petition for reconsideration from broadcast groups. In asking the court to hold off, the NAB points out that the FCC could act on that; the commission has also said it would review the results from the 200 station postings before it applies that requirement to all other stations starting in 2014.

“Based on experience gained during the 2012 election cycle, NAB may conclude that it is not necessary to proceed with this case,” the association said in a statement. And if, instead, the results reinforce the NAB’s argument that posting individual spot prices puts it at a competitive disadvantage, the FCC could still act on its petition for reconsideration, which offered up an alternative where stations would provide aggregate prices.

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