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FCC Denies Stay of Online Public File Rule Change

NAB’s focus now moves to appeals court

The FCC has denied NAB’s request that the agency stay the effectuation of the new online public file rules for television stations.

The rules are due to take effect Aug. 2. The commission has planned a demo next Tuesday, July 17, of the interface that broadcasters would use to upload their files to the agency’s new online public file database, we’ve reported.

NAB had also filed a Petition for Review at a federal appeals court. This week, anticipating the FCC’s rejection, NAB filed a separate motion asking the appeals court to stay the activation of the rules while the court considers the trade group’s petition.

NAB has called the new requirement arbitrary and capricious, and says requiring TV stations to place their public inspection files online puts them at a disadvantage. That’s because the files would also include political files, including the price of political advertising — a requirement their satellite and cable competitors do not have, NAB argues.

The FCC, which is also considering applying the new requirement to radio, says the rules will make stations’ public documents easier for the public to find.

In the agency’s decision, the commission says NAB failed to show the new rules would cause stations irreparable harm and that the NAB is likely to prevail on the merits of its claims. NAB has also failed to show that other parties would not be harmed if a stay is granted or that a stay would serve the public interest, said the FCC.