* Broadcasters seek court ruling before required to post ad
* Say new FCC rules would cause broadcasters "irreparable
* Say broadcasters could lose millions in ad revenue
By Jasmin Melvin
WASHINGTON, July 11 The National Association of
Broadcasters has asked a federal appeals court to prevent new
rules from taking effect Aug. 2 that would force broadcasters
to publish political advertising contracts online.
The Federal Communications Commission adopted the rules in
April in an effort to provide insight on campaign spending ahead
of November's congressional and presidential elections. The
rules would reveal who is paying for political campaign ads and
just how much they are shelling out.
The NAB filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Federal
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday
to block the rules from taking effect until the judicial review
The group said its members stand to lose millions of dollars
in ad revenue.
"Non-broadcast competitors will be able to determine in a
matter of seconds exactly what prices local broadcast stations
are charging for specific spots," NAB said in its court filing.
"As a result, they will acquire an unfair advantage over
broadcasters in the competition for political and commercial
advertising, just as a poker player who is able to peak at an
opponent's hand acquires an unfair advantage in a poker game,"
The trade group said the FCC's disregard of the competitive
harm of leaving broadcasters' cable and Internet competitors
unaffected by the new rules would cause the industry irreparable
TV stations have been making public their records of
campaign advertising buys and other community-related issues
since 1938 as part of their public interest obligation.
Obtaining these files is currently a time-consuming,
labor-intensive task, requiring multiple trips to TV station
studios and money to pay for photocopies of the documents.
The new data format, to come initially from the four biggest
TV broadcasters in the top 50 media markets, includes detailed
information on who paid for political ads, key personnel of the
groups buying ads, when political ads aired and rejections of
requests to buy air time.
The four biggest broadcasters are ABC, operated by Walt
Disney Co, CBS Corp, News Corp's Fox,
and NBC, controlled by Comcast Corp.
The top broadcasters would have to upload their political
files to a database hosted on the FCC's website beginning Aug.2
if the court does not grant the NAB's motion.
The trade group previously filed a petition for review in
April with the D.C. appeals court, charging that the rules are
arbitrary, capricious, violate free speech protections in the
U.S. Constitution and go beyond the FCC's statutory authority.
The FCC declined to comment.