The FCC’s proposal to move the public files of television stations online, and particular, the posting of information on political advertising run on the station, got another boost. House Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) fired off a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski supporting the proposal.
“Requiring disclosure of political advertising sales and the terms of their sale is not novel: Congress and the FCC have done so for decades under longstanding provisions of the Communications Act,” wrote Eshoo. “I support you proposed rulemaking because it merely brings this disclosure online and into the 21st Century. Where technical limitations might have made widespread availability of the public file infeasible in 1950, the failure to do so in 2012—using the internet – is inexcusable.”
She said that the requirement should not raise any concerns about anti-competitiveness, since the information targeted by the proposal is already available, “…albeit in antiquated form.”
She suggested that this valuable information should not continue to be buried in “largely inaccessible…basement filing cabinets.”
She also suggested that the FCC craft rules that address concerns about the administrative burden placed on stations. “I have no doubt the Commission can craft rules to ease the process for small broadcasters and minimize staff time devoted to the task.” She said the fact that the FCC was planning to host the online files, rather than placing that responsibility on broadcasters, was a good start.