NAB Seeks Emergency Stay of Online Political File Rules

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The
National Association of Broadcasters Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia to block the FCC's implementation of its online
political file rules, the latest in a series of broadcaster moves to try and
stop the FCC from posting individual TV station political spot prices online
when cable and satellite competitors have no similar online reporting
requirement.

Scheduled to take effect Aug. 2, the rules require the top four network
affiliated stations in the top 50 markets to start sending any information they
must keep in their station paper political files, including spot prices, to the
FCC for posting in a national, online database. The FCC will do a year-in check
of the process then plans to apply the requirement to all TV stations a year
after that.

In its petition, NAB, which has already asked the same court to overturn the
rules and the FCC to stay enforcement of them, said the emergency stay was
warranted because it is likely to win its court challenge on the merits and
that it is likely to suffer competitive harms if there is no stay --
essentially the same arguments it made to the FCC in calling for it to postpone
enforcement until the court weighs in.

"NAB's members will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay because the
order compels television stations to post the prices for specific
advertisements to a public website immediately after the sales occur," NAB
said in its filing. "This will place NAB's members at a distinct
disadvantage to their non-broadcast competitors, who will not be required to
post rate information on the Internet," NAB said.

But wait, there's more: "The balance of hardships and the public interest
also favor a stay because the likely harm from requiring immediate posting of
detailed price information about specific advertising sales outweighs the
benefits of such a requirement," said NAB.

Separately, TV station groups have asked the FCC to reconsider its April
decision, offering an alternative where they would supply the FCC with aggregate,
rather than individual prices, and expand reporting to categories of political
spots not currently required to be reported.

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