The FCC, at its January 27 monthly open meeting, will be voting on the adoption of two relatively minor changes to its political broadcasting rules. While some press reports suggested that the changes would expand the FCC’s jurisdiction into online political advertising, in fact the draft of the FCC’s Report and Order released last week shows that the two rules at issue deal exclusively with over-the-air political advertising. Moreover, as we wrote here when the proposals were first advanced for public comment, the changes to be adopted are almost ministerial clean-ups of FCC rules, having little substantive effect on the current political sales practices of most broadcasters.
These two rule changes are likely to be adopted at the end of the month by a 4-member FCC that is still evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The first one deals with the showing that needs to be made by a write-in candidate to show that the candidate is “legally qualified” and thus entitled to take advantage of the FCC’s political broadcasting rules. The second change would conform the FCC’s rules to the already existing statutory provisions that require broadcasters to include, in their online public files, information about the sale of advertising time to non-candidate buyers who convey a message on a matter of national importance, i.e., a federal issue ad.
Continue Reading FCC Plans to Adopt Two Minor Changes to its Political Broadcasting Rules – What is Being Changed?