Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wrote FCC Chairman Julius
Genachowski Monday to argue for online reporting of TV station political files,
including individual terms and conditions, and for expanding that requirement
to cable and satellite.
Political files are the files, currently residing in paper
form at local stations and MVPDs, which chronicle political ad time buys per
requirements to provide equal access and lowest-unit-rate charges.
Broadcasters have complained that real-time filing for that
information will be a burden, especially on smaller stations, and require
people hours and resources that will be taken away from local news and other
important public service functions.
Eshoo wrote that she had "no doubt" the FCC could
craft rules that would ease the process for smaller stations and minimize staff
time that would have to be devoted to the task. She said not putting the
information on the Internet was "inexcusable" given that the technology
was available to bring disclosure "into the 21st Century."
The FCC has proposed hosting the site, allowing broadcasters
to e-mail PDFs to the commission rather than having to post themselves, and
will start with a two-year pilot program of about 200 top-market stations
before requiring all stations to put their political files online.
Eshoo said creating an FCC-hosted website is an
"encouraging start." She also said she supported "future
action" to bring the public files of cable and satellite providers
online." The FCC has not proposed extending the requirement of online
filing to cable and satellite operators.
The FCC is scheduled to vote on its online disclosure item
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