In this hot political advertising year, it’s worth reviewing some of the online public file issues broadcasters are facing and what exactly needs to be maintained in the file.
Online theives have stolen “tens of thousands of dollars” from political media agencies after TV stations posted the agencies’ canceled checks in their online political files, according to attorneys Gregg Skall and Jim Kahl. “[B]ank account numbers, routing numbers and signatures are freely available online to the unscrupulous,” they say.
The NAB has moved to delay its lawsuit challenging the FCC’s order requiring TV stations to put political advertising data online. The group told a federal court that it needs more time to decide whether to drop the case entirely.
The NAB came out swinging in an emergency motion Tuesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. The trade group wants the court to stay an FCC ruling that requires stations to put on the Web information about political ad sales that they already must make public on paper. The NAB says that TV stations will be “at a distinct disadvantage to their non-broadcast competitors” if they have to post the ad rates online after a sale.
Broadcasters have launched a three-pronged attack against the FCC’s proposed new regulations requiring digital files to be placed online on an FCC-hosted website, including stations’ detailed political records. There have been a series of recent filings with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Office of Management and Budget and the FCC. The core thrust of the broadcasters’ challenges are focused on the requirement that TV stations disclose online very sensitive rate information about political advertising.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell says that rather than adopting Chairman Genachowski’s plan, he would prefer that stations “aggregate” the spending of individual candidates and PACs and report that on a weekly or daily basis rather than requiring them to put the rates of all political buys on the Web. And colleague Mignon Clyburn says she’s open to persuasion on the matter. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.