July 1, 2014 Online Political File Deadline Reminder
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: April 4, 2014
MEDIA BUREAU REMINDS TELEVISION BROADCASTERS OF JULY 1, 2014 ONLINE
POLITICAL FILE DEADLINE
MM Docket No. 00-1681. In the Second Report and Order in MM Docket Nos. 00-168 and 00-44,1 the Commission
required broadcast television stations to post their public files online in a Commission-hosted database
rather than maintaining the files locally at their main studios.2 With respect to political file documents
that must be maintained in the public file, stations affiliated with the top four national networks (ABC,
NBC, CBS, and Fox) licensed to serve communities in the top 50 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) were
required to post political file documents online beginning August 2, 2012, but all other stations were
exempted from posting their political file documents to their online public file until July 1, 2014.3
2. This Public Notice is a reminder to television stations not affiliated with the top four national
networks and those licensed to markets below the top 50 that they must begin to comply on July 1, 2014.4
1 Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest
Obligations, Extension of the Filing Requirement for Children’s Television Programming Report, Second Report
and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4535 (2012) (“Second Report and Order”).
2 All permittees and licensees of a “TV or Class A TV station” in the commercial and noncommercial educational
broadcast services must maintain a public inspection file, including a political file. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.3526(a)(2)
3 See Second Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4536-7, ¶ 3. On August 2, 2012, television stations that were not
exempt were required to start uploading documents to the online file on a going-forward basis. With respect to
public file documents other than political file material, stations were given six months, until February 4, 2013, to
complete the process of uploading their existing public file. Id. at 4580-81, ¶ 98. See also Television Broadcast
Stations Reminded of their Online Public Inspection File Obligations, Public Notice, MM Docket Nos. 00-168 and
00-44, DA 12-2003, rel. Dec. 11, 2012. Stations are not required to upload their political files as they existed prior
to the relevant deadline to the online database; rather, they are required only to upload new political file content on a
going-forward basis. See Second Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4536, ¶ 2 and at 4551, ¶ 33. Existing political
file documents not required to be uploaded to the online file must continue to be maintained at the station, however,
until the end of the two-year retention period. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.3526(e)(6) and 73.3527(e)(5).
4 In the Second Report and Order, the Commission stated that, by July 1, 2013, the Media Bureau would issue a
Public Notice seeking comment on the impact of the online posting requirement for the political file so that the
Commission can consider whether any changes should be made to the requirement before it takes effect for other
stations. See Second Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4536-7, ¶3. Consistent with this commitment, the Media
Bureau issued a Public Notice on June 25, 2013 seeking comment on, among other things, the experience of stations
currently subject to the online political file requirement in posting their political files to the Commission-hosted
database and the ability of stations that are currently exempt from the political posting requirement to comply with
As noted above, on that date stations that are currently exempt must start uploading new political file
material on a going-forward basis.5 These stations are not required to upload political files placed in their
public file prior to July 1, 2014; however, they are required to retain those documents at the station until
the end of the two-year retention period.6 Given that these television stations have already been required
to use the online public file for documents other than the political file since August 2, 2012, we do not
expect them to have difficulty determining how to upload new political file documents to the online file.
3. Members of the public and broadcasters will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
on the FCC’s website (https://stations.fcc.gov/) if they have questions. For further information, you can
contact the Licensing Support Hotline at (877) 480-3201 option 2, (717) 338-2888, or (717) 338-2824
(TTY). The Hotline is available to assist with questions Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
ET. You may also submit requests and report any errors or problems with the online sites at
https://esupport.fcc.gov/request.htm. In order to provide better service, all calls to the Hotline are
4. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Kim Matthews, Kim.Matthews@fcc.gov,
of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2154. Press contact: Janice Wise (202- 418-8165;
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the July 1, 2014 deadline. Media Bureau Seeks Comment on Online Political File and Petition for Reconsideration
Filed by the Television Station Group, Public Notice, MM Docket No. 11-168, DA 13-1440, rel. June 25, 2013. The
Media Bureau also sought comment on the Petition for Reconsideration filed by the Television Station Group which
requests that the Commission reconsider the online political file requirement in the Second Report and Order. The
Commission has not acted upon that Public Notice, or in any way altered the online political file requirement or the
July 1, 2014 deadline for compliance by television stations that are currently exempt. Therefore, the requirement as
codified –the July 1, 2014 compliance deadline for stations not subject to the 2012 deadline – still stands. 47 C.F.R.
5 We also remind all television broadcasters subject to the political file rules that documents must be placed in, or
uploaded to, the file as soon as possible. Section 73.1943(c) of the Commission’s rules provides that records “shall
be placed in the political file as soon as possible and shall be retained for a period of two years. As soon as possible
means immediately absent unusual circumstances.” 47 C.F.R. § 73.1943(c).
6 See, supra, note 3.
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