Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > FCC Political Window…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

FCC Political Window Opens Friday, Sept. 4

Friday marks an important date for commercial Radio and TV broadcasters – Sept. 4 is the opening of the FCC’s political window for the Nov. 3 general election.

The date is important because most of the FCC’s political rules, such as lowest unit charge, come into play during FCC political windows.

The fall general election political window is a 60-day period, as is the political window for municipal and school board elections.  

The primary election and any primary election runoffs feature a 45-day period.

For a complete review of the LUC regulation and the FCC’s other political rules, stations can check out TAB’s Guide to Political Broadcasting compiled by TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

The guide includes TAB’s Political Forms which stations can use to capture the information the FCC requires for political recordkeeping that is uploaded to the online station Public Inspection File.

The guide and forms, as well as other TAB legal guides and advisories, may be downloaded from the Member Services section of

Look for the Member Services tab on the main page and once there, station staff will need to login to view the “Legal Guides/Hotline” page.

Questions on accessing the Members Services sections of  Contact TAB.

FCC Continues Intense Political Recordkeeping Scrutiny

Pillsbury notes in its latest FCC Enforcement Monitor that the commission continues to enter into scores of consent decrees with radio broadcasters stemming from its Political File rules.

Said Pillsbury, the consent decrees “continue to involve obligations under Section 315(e)(1) of the Communications Act, which requires broadcasters to place in their Political File records of requests to purchase political advertising time made: (1) by or on behalf of a candidate for public office (i.e., federal, state, or local candidates); or (2) by a non-candidate third party whose ad communicates a message relating to a ‘political matter of national importance.’”

A key issue raised by the FCC is stations’ negligence in adhering to Section 73.1943 of the FCC’s Rules which Pillsbury attorneys Scott Flick, Warren Kessler and Simone Wood said requires stations to upload this documentation “as soon as possible.”

That means “immediately absent unusual circumstances” the decrees note.

Investigations into political file recordkeeping are arising from “issues identified in each of the affected stations’ license renewal applications,” Pillsbury’s Enforcement Monitor said.

Texas radio stations will start their license renewals in 2021 with Texas TV stations following in 2022.

License renewal forms require stations certify compliance with several of the FCC’s rules, including those pertaining to the station Public Inspection File.

“FCC staff indicated that failures to timely upload political file materials has been a recurring problem, and that when the rules say that records of a request to purchase airtime must be uploaded to the Public File ‘as soon as possible,’ the FCC interprets that to mean within one business day of the date of the request,” said Pillsbury.

The law firm also notes that the decrees have been issued for large groups of radio stations AND smaller operators.

According to Pillsbury’s Enforcement Monitor, the FCC insists that station timely file these records online because they are “essential to a candidate’s ability to assert a right to equal time over the airwaves, as well as to keep the electorate informed so that they can evaluate the validity of political messages and hold political interests accountable.”

TAB and other state broadcast associations recently presents a webinar on the FCC’s political file rules that featured key FCC staff including the head of the commission’s political bureau, Bobby Baker.

Stations can access the webinar and slide deck in the Webinar Archive of the Member Services section of    

TAB Political Update Webinar – The Most Competitive Political Races in Texas

TAB will conduct its first-ever TAB Political Update webinar right after the Labor Day holiday, the traditional political ramp-up to the general election in Texas.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 10 at 2pm CDT and register here for this free TAB member service offering.

TAB plans on recording the session and storing it in the TAB online archive for later viewing.

Join TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez and Michael Schneider for this inaugural 60-minute online TAB political review. 

We’ll provide an overview of the nearly 50 competitive political races in Texas this year with a breakdown regionally of specific races.

Most of the competitive political contests in Texas in 2020 take place in the Austin, DFW, Houston and San Antonio markets. 

There are some outliers, but that number is very small.

Accordingly, station sales staff from other markets in Texas might not find the webinar as useful. 

Newsroom staffers in these other markets, however, can get a better overall idea of what’s happening in Texas elections this year from this webinar. 

That could come in handy on election night when there’s time to fill between new returns.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News