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GAO Looking Into Sponsorship IDs

The Government Accounting Office is preparing a report to
Congress on sponsorship identification requirements for TV and radio stations,
cable systems and satellite operators, according to an e-mail request for
information obtained by B&C/Multi.

The FCC proposed adding sponsorship ID info to stations'
public files, files which it is now going to put online, but has reportedly not
included that in its disclosure proposal slated for a vote later this month.
But broadcasters breathing easier over that move now face more government
attention to their relationship with advertisers and paid programmers.

At the request of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) and ranking House Energy & Commerce Committee member Henry
Waxman (D-Calif.), GAO is looking at "current issues with sponsorship
identification by media outlets, including the prevalence of video news
releases and sponsorship in news and other features, the prevalence of broadcasters
not meeting the requirements, the actions FCC has taken in the past, and the role
FCC and others may play in the future as technology changes," according to
an e-mail request from a field office analyst to one stakeholder.

In the letter, the analyst said the following were the
topics GAO had been asked to focus on in its report:

  • "Discuss how FCC regulates the sponsorship identification
    laws and regulations;
  • Identify challenges to implementing the regulations, meeting the requirements,
    and reporting violations;
  • Discuss if Congress or FCC should consider any changes to the laws or
  • Identify, how many complaints FCC has received and what enforcement actions FCC
    has taken in response to complaints and violations; and
  • Discuss stakeholders' views on the effect of the regulations and the effect of
    the enforcement actions."

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