The FCC has voted to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to expand online public file obligations to broadcast radio, satellite radio, satellite TV and cable operators.
We recently reported that Chairman Tom Wheeler had enough votes with himself and the two other Democrats on the commission to pass the item.
GOP Commissioner Ajit Pai supported the item too, noting that moving public files online support’s the agency’s goal of modernization. He intends to pay attention to feedback from small radio stations, mentioning his trip last year to KZPA(AM), in remote Fort Yukon, Alaska. The FCC should be “sensitive to the fact” such small stations don’t have “the bodies and the bandwidth to handle every regulatory requirement Washington might conjure.”
“The FCC should do what it can to revitalize such stations, particularly struggling stations in the AM band” said Pai.
The item stems from a petition from three advocacy groups, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation, to make media ad purchases more transparent to the public. They had asked that the rule, which has been mandatory for all TV stations since 2012, be extended to cable and satellite television.
The FCC had wanted to expand the obligations to radio and believes this is the right venue to improve access to public files.