The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Friday to phase in new rules requiring local television stations to post key information about political advertising online.
The phase-in of the new rules that mandate the online postings will initially apply only to television stations affiliated with the top four TV networks in the nation's 50 largest markets, with the remaining TV stations being exempted from the imposition of the new rules until July 1, 2014.
Existing FCC regulations call for broadcasters to maintain at their stations political ad sales information in publicly accessible files, making the data unavailable without an in-person visit to a respective station.
The newly adopted rules also compel broadcasters to place additional information online, including network affiliation agreements and contracts relating to station ownership.
Broadcast station owners had forcefully lobbied against the new rules, objecting to the effect of advertising rates being accessible to competitors and placing the broadcast industry at a disadvantage with respect to local cable television channels, which are not subject to rules that mandate the posting of political ad information online.
According to a recent speech by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, which was presented to the National Association of Broadcasters, the broadcast industry is expected to take in $3 billion from political ad sales this year.
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