In spite of strong opposition from broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to require TV stations to post online the advertising rates they charge political candidates. Rates charged to advocacy groups, promoting candidates and party-driven campaigns will also be part of the disclosure.
Until now, stations would only offer the records in paper files, which would have to be personally reviewed, usually in broadcast stations' lobbies during regular business hours. But broadcasters pushed back, saying they were being singled out in the requirement.
"By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the Internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations," said Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Network-affiliated stations in the top 50 markets will have six months to comply. Smaller broadcasters face a deadline of 2014.