Broadcasters are not happy with today’s FCC passage of a rule that will force stations to put their political advertising information — like who is buying what time and for how much — online. Stations already have to compile and make available the information as public entities, but they were against putting things like ad rates online that could more easily be seen by marketplace rivals. Now the top 50 markets must post their data to an open FCC database this year — during the lucrative presidential election season — and all stations must comply by 2014. “By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the Internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily,” the National Association of Broadcasters said in response to the vote, adding “we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”
They must have known it was coming, though. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski used his keynote speech earlier this month in the broadcasters’ backyard, the NAB Show, to say opposition to the proposal was “against technology, against transparency and against journalism.” Public interest groups agreed today. “We’re pleased that the FCC has ignored the overheated rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims of the broadcast lobby in this proceeding,” advocacy group Free Press said. “These modest measures will place minimal, if any, burden on broadcasters but will offer great public benefits.”
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