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FCC, Six Major Radio Groups Reach Political Ad Settlement


Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted Consent Decrees with several major broadcasting groups, including Alpha Media, Beasley Media, Cumulus Media, Entercom, iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group. These decrees settled investigations into each group, which had been charged with failing to upload data about political and "issue" advertising purchases in a timely manner.

Under the Consent Decrees, among other things, the groups agree to implement a comprehensive Compliance Plan and to provide periodic Compliance Reports to the agency's Enforcement Bureau. The companies agreed that they will implement the Plans within 90 calendar days after the Effective Date of the decrees, develop and implement a Compliance Plan designed to ensure future compliance with the Political Record-Keeping Statutes and Rules, and with the terms and conditions of this Consent Decree.

The Commission first adopted rules requiring broadcast stations to maintain public files documenting requests for political advertising time more than 80 years ago, and political file obligations have been embodied in the rules since 2002. Radio station licensees are to maintain and make available for public inspection information about each request for the purchase of broadcast time that is made: (a) by or on behalf of a legally qualified candidate for public office, or (b) by an issue advertiser whose advertisement communicates a message relating to a political matter of national importance.

Stations are required to upload information about such requests to their online political files "as soon as possible." The Commission's rules requires stations to maintain and make available for public inspection information about all requests for broadcast time made by or on behalf of candidates for public office.

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