Starting August 2, 2012, affiliates of the four major television networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) in the nation’s 50 largest markets must transition from maintaining their “political file” in hard copy at their station to uploading the documents to an FCC website. The political file includes information about air time purchased regarding certain political matters including issue advocacy and candidate spots (including purchaser and amount paid).

Online access should benefit candidates, Super PACs, and anyone else considering buying broadcast time, because it will provide a simple way to learn what others are doing, and how much they are paying. Even advocacy groups that are not entitled to discounted advertising rates close to the elections will benefit.

Broadcasters have long objected to this online transition and have filed an appeal in federal court.

We have more information about this rule here.