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FCC Cuts Deal With Broadcasters Over Political Files

Agency may be taking time-out on further investigations

The FCC is openly giving radio broadcasters a chance to reboot their online political file efforts and address timeliness issues for candidate and issue advertising rate uploads. The commission for now appears to be ending investigations into those online public files and holding off fining broadcasters that need to catch up.

The most recent developments stem from an investigation the commission launched in early 2019 following a complaint against Entercom and its Buffalo, N.Y., cluster from a political candidate and whether she was charged the lowest unit rate possible during the 2018 election cycle.

During that investigation several other major radio groups self-reported political file issues to the FCC with hopes of reaching an agreement on compliance. The National Association of Broadcasters helped broker an agreement earlier this summer that resulted in signed consent decrees with a half-dozen major radio groups that close FCC investigations and ensures compliance, but do not levy fines, said Robert Baker, an FCC attorney who appeared on a recent webcast hosted by the New York State Broadcasters Association.

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