FCC Proposes ‘No Significant Changes’ To Political Ad Rules


Last week, it was announced that the FCC would be considering some changes to its political broadcasting rules at its monthly open meeting in August. This had some voicing concerns over major changes ahead of mid-term elections.

But, as respected D.C. communications law attorney David Oxenford notes, the proposed changes are “almost ministerial.”

The Wilkinson Barker Knauer legal eagle took a look at the proposed changes, and he concludes, “it turned out that the changes were instead very minor.”

How so? “The proposed rule changes revise the Commission’s rules on two matters that are already part of the practices of stations and the lawyers who advise them on political broadcasting matters.”

Two changes are being proposed.

The first, as RBR+TVBR previously reported, pertains to a write-in candidate showing they are legally qualified and therefore able to take advantage of the FCC’s political broadcasting regulations. This includes ad rates for political candidates deemed qualified.

The second is, in Oxenford’s words, “just a rule change to conform FCC rules to statutory requirements that broadcasters include, in their online public files, information about the sale of advertising time to non-candidate buyers who convey a message on a matter of national importance, i.e., a federal issue ad.”

Thus, there are no significant changes ahead of the 2022 Congressional elections to worry about.

The rule changes are up for consideration at the Commission’s August 5 monthly Open Meeting. If the Commissioners agree, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on adoption of the rules will move ahead. That’s expected to occur.