Class A and Full-Power Television Broadcasters in All Markets Regardless of Network Affiliation and Market Rank Must Comply with the Online Retention of Political Programming Materials as of July 1, 2014

The FCC recently published in the Federal Register a reminder that all Class A and full-power television broadcasters must, by July 1, 2014, begin maintaining new political advertising materials mandated by Section 73.1943 of the Commission’s Rules in the station’s online public inspection file.

As previously reported, pursuant to the FCC’s Second Report and Order (“R&O”), adopted in May 2012, Class A and full-power television stations affiliated with the top four networks in the top 50 Designated Market Areas (“DMAs”) have been required to comply with the online political file rule since August 2, 2012.

The R&O stayed the online political file requirement for all Class A and full-power television stations that are not a top four network station in the top 50 DMAs until July 1, 2014. Accordingly, from July 1, 2014 forward, all stations, regardless of network affiliation or DMA, must begin keeping their political file in their online public inspection file. Notably, while political advertising documents created on or after July 1, 2014 must be placed in the online public file, stations should continue to retain hard copies of pre-July 1, 2014 documents in their physical public file to comply with the two-year retention period for political file documents set forth in Section 73.3526(e)(6).

The Federal Register notice can be viewed at :http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-29/pdf/2014-09761.pdf.