FCC Dems Vote to Extend Public File to Cable, Satellite, Radio

Add extending public file obligations to cable, satellite and radio operators among the items that have secured at least provisional approval via three Democratic votes.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Oct. 30 circulated the item to the other commissioners for a vote.

The three Democratic commissioners, which includes the chairman, have all voted for the item, according to FCC sources, which means it will be official as soon as the Republicans vote, no matter which way that goes. Once there is a quorum of votes(3) on an item, it goes on the clock and then must be voted within a set period of time--there can be an extension--or it would eventually become official without the other two votes.

A spokesperson for Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai would only say the office had not voted the item yet.

The item is in response to a petition filed by campaign finance reform groups seeking that extended online filing.

Currently, only TV stations are required to post their political files online to an FCC database, but in August the FCC asked whether that requirement should be extended, seeking input on a petition to that effect filed by the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation.

The NPRM is responsive to that petition, but it is adding radio stations, which the petitioners did not even ask be included.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.