Skip to main content

Sunlight Launches Political Ad 'Weather Report'

The Sunlight Foundation has ramped up its
efforts to collect and report on TV station political ad info from the FCC's
online database as well as FEC data on donations.

has launched a weekly YouTube video series, the Political Weather Report, which
will spotlight markets with heavy advertising and so-called "dark
money" spending in the final weeks of the election.

first installment identifies Las Vegas, Denver, Tampa, Norfolk and Grand Rapids as the markets that
this week experienced the "heaviest rainfall" of political spending.

also points out that the info comes from its Political Ad Sleuth Web site,
where it is collecting FCC data on TV station ad spending. It points out that
it is the first election where that data is available online, but also points
out that the FCC's decision to require online posting of TV station political
files only applies to the top 50 markets -- and actually only the Big Four
affiliates in each -- "leaving out dozens of markets in battle ground
states," says Sunlight, which says thousands of ads aired there without
having to be reported to the FCC.

spot did double duty as a plug for the Ad Sleuth initiative to get boots on the
ground in local markets to copy and upload political files from stations not
subject to the FCC's new rule, which went into effect Aug. 2.

commission does plan to require all stations to upload those files to an FCC
database, but not for another two years and not until after the FCC reviews the
initial top four stations in the 50 markets filing requirement.