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Political File Rule Tweak Takes Effect Sunday

FCC codifies a policy that was already in place

A tweak of the broadcast political file rules that was approved in January will take effect on June 5, the FCC announced.

As we reported earlier, the commission tweaked the definition of “legally qualified candidate,” and that change took effect in mid-March.

But a second part of its January action had to await approval by the Office of Management and Budget and publication in the Federal Register. 

The latter change extends a station’s political file requirements to any request for the purchase of advertising time that “communicates a message relating to any political matter of national importance.” Thus advertising about federal issues must be included in the file.

With the required steps now completed, the remaining changes become effective this Sunday, June 5. 

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This shouldn’t be a big change because the requirement had been adopted years ago but was never formally carried over in the FCC’s rules, according to broadcast attorney David Oxenford, quoted in our earlier story.

The announcement applies to broadcast licensees, cable television system operators, Direct Broadcast Satellite service providers and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service licensees.