Deborah D. McAdams / 07.10.2012 05:36PM
NAB Files Motion to Stay FCC Public File Rule
Rules would go into effect Aug. 2
WASHINGTON: The National Association of Broadcasters filed an emergency motion to stay the new rule requiring TV stations to post their public inspection files online. The lobby filed the motion in U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit to stay the rule before it comes into effect Aug. 2.
“The FCC engaged in arbitrary and capricious decision-making by disregarding the competitive harm that is likely to result from the order,” the NAB’s petition stated. “NAB’s members will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay because the order compels television station to post the prices for specific advertisements to a public website immediately after the sales.”
Broadcasters keep track of how much they charge for political advertisements in their public inspection files. FCC rules require that the offer candidates the lowest unit rates within 45 days of a primary election or 60 days from a general election. The information has heretofore been available only in hard copy at TV stations. The FCC passed new rules in April requiring broadcasters to keep public inspection file information in a database hosted by the commission.
“This will place NAB’s members at a distinct disadvantage to their non-broadcast competitors, who will not be required to post rate information on the Internet,” the group’s petition stated.
The NAB filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Court of Appeals in May, asking to have the rule vacated. It has now requested that a stay remain in effect pending the outcome of a complete judicial review.
In the meantime, the FCC has scheduled a public demonstration of the new online database portal for July 17.
May 24, 2012: “Broadcasters File Suit Against FCC’s Political File Rules”
Less than a month after the FCC ordered broadcasters to post political ad rates online, the National Association of Broadcasters has filed a lawsuit against the commission, opposing the new rule.
April 27, 2012: “FCC Orders Broadcasters to Put Political Ad Rates Online”
Once the rules go into effect, TV stations will have six months to post their existing public files online.