The FCC has instructed its regional offices to make visits to TV stations to request copies of a station’s public file, including its political file. In some cases the FCC has asked these stations to make copies of their file within a 48 hour period. Obviously you must comply with this request.
The industry has argued that proposed FCC rules to place public files on-line are unduly burdensome. It’s possible the FCC is trying to prove that it’s not so burdensome. Regardless of the reason, make sure your public file and your political file are in order in case the FCC shows up at your door.
ProPublica, which describes itself as “an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest,” is recruiting people to visit stations and examine their political files. Once copied, the group plans to upload the station’s political file on the Internet. Apparently, it has already uploaded the political files of stations in Chicago, and has visited stations in New York City. We expect this effort to expand. Here is the link to the ProPublica website. http://www.propublica.org/article/if-tv-stations-wont-post-their-data-on-political-ads-we-will
Like the public file, the political file is a public document and must be made available to the members of the public upon request. Nonetheless, you may charge a reasonable fee for copying the file. Bottom line, make sure your station’s political file is in order.