Broadcasters now posting political files online

Starting today, broadcast stations in the nation’s top 50 media markets are required to make their political ad sales data available online.  

The new requirement, which was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this spring, is now in effect after a federal court rejected a request late last week by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to temporarily halt the rule.       

The FCC rule requires affiliates of the four major networks—ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox—to post political files online, allowing anyone to view the amount candidate campaigns and outside groups are spending on political ads.

Broadcast stations not in a top-50 market aren’t required to comply with the FCC’s new rule until 2014. It’s worth noting that a slew of battleground state markets this election year fall outside of the top 50, including the Roanoke-Lynchburg market in Virginia, and media markets in Des Moines, Iowa and Colorado Springs, Colo.  

The FCC’s decision was met with immediate resistance from the broadcast industry back in May, which argued the requirement could put stations at a competitive disadvantage by forcing them to make their political ad rates so easily accessible.   

The files are public information, but were previously only available through an in-person request at the broadcast station itself. Stations are now required to make the files available by uploading them to the FCC’s website.   

NAB expressed its disappointment in last week’s court ruling and has vowed to move forward with its lawsuit.


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