FCC Mandates Stations To Make Political Files Available Online
In April of 2012, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) passed an order stating that television stations will have to upload their public inspection files on the website created and hosted by the FCC. This transition will be done in a phased manner. In 2016, the FCC extended the order to radio stations, satellite radio stations, DBS providers and cable providers. The FCC guidelines for the public and the broadcasters are available here regarding the public inspection files.
The entire file storing system is cloud-based, and this enables the FCC to handle the spike in uploading documents during the elections.
Improvements To The System Formulated In 2012
After it was launched, the FCC made the first significant revision in it in 2016.
- The entire file storing system is cloud-based, and this enables the FCC to handle the spike in uploading documents during the elections.
- The system now supports multiple deletions of files, which was not present in the older system.
- In case a document is shifted to a new folder, then both the original date of the file being added and the date when it was moved, will be displayed.
- In the new system, a single document can be uploaded to several public files.
- The new system has added a feature that enables any third party to connect to a station’s files on the website and upload documents and records on behalf of the online station.
- All these improvements will apply to all the stations already connected and also to the new entrants.
The schedules for the transition to the cable system, DBS providers, SDARS licensees and radio stations are as follows:
- Within thirty days after the approval of rules by the Office of Management and Budget is published: Radio stations in the Top 50 having either five or more full-time employees, SDARS licensees and DBS providers must start uploading the new public inspection files and the political files to the website. For the time being, cable systems having subscribers between thousand five thousand, will not be required to do so.
- Within six months after the approval of rules by the Office of Management and Budget is published, all commercial radio stations that are included in the Top 50, having five or more employees, SDARS licensee, DBS providers and cable systems having thousand or more subscribers, are required to upload the existing political file sand public inspection files on the website.
- March 1, 2018: All commercial radio stations that are not included in the Top 50 or those who have fewer employees must upload their existing files by then. Moreover, they should also begin uploading their new political files and public inspection files by the date mentioned.
All these improvements will apply to all the stations already connected and also to the new entrants.
In case any party or station faces any difficulty in uploading their files within the scheduled period, then they may file a request to the FCC. If the FCC realizes that the hardship mentioned by them is real, then they will consider a waiver for the party.
Effects Of The Rules Made Mandatory By The FCC
The continuous access to the top TV stations will enable the media buyers to get information faster as they will not be needed to depend on the station’s personnel. Campaign managers will benefit by knowing about ad reservations and the pots that have been booked by the opponents. It will enable them to make accurate decisions and plan their campaigns more efficiently. The TV stations might lose revenue due to competitive pricing since the competitors will have full access to the rates and prices of the ads and spots booked by the candidates.
The public and campaigners welcome these rules. They are a step forward in making the elections more transparent and gives the right to the Americans to know the candidates well.