NAB Drops Court Challenge To Online Filing Requirement

The National Association of Broadcasters has dropped its court challenge to the FCC's requirement that TV stations upload their public files to an FCC database. NAB and the FCC will each pay their own court costs.

It was a bit of a second-shoe drop by NAB, which had supported putting the challenge on hold back in 2013.

In August 2014, NAB even told the FCC that it was fine with the commission extending its online political file mandate to all video services, including cable and satellite and even broadcast radio. The FCC voted to propose that expansion last December.

The Campaign Legal Center had intervened in support of the FCC in the broadcaster challenge.

“Requiring broadcasters to put their public file online was a no-brainer,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director of the center, in a statement. "Both its name and its purpose reflects the intention that the file be publicly accessible, but the public virtually never saw them unless they were willing to travel to the station and request the opportunity to review them. Broadcasters maintain their programming information in digital format, so in fact it was more burdensome for the stations to produce the statutorily required information on paper.”

The center wants the FCC to "take the next logical step" and require the information be filed in a standardized, searchable, sortable format.

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.