Broadcasters consider dropping suit over FCC's political ad database


The government supports the motion.

TV stations were already required to compile data on how much political campaigns paid for ads, but previously, anyone who wanted access to the information would have to go to the station in person. The FCC's rule, which went into effect on Aug. 2, requires the broadcasters to load the information into a database on the agency's website.

NAB filed suit in May to overturn the order, arguing that the FCC overstepped its authority and that the rule is "arbitrary and capricious." The group claimed the rule will allow pay television providers to keep tabs on broadcast stations' advertising rates.

The deadline for NAB's opening brief in the case is due Oct. 4, but the group asked the court to reschedule the case until Feb. 15, 2013.

The group noted that political advertising will drop off dramatically after the November election, giving stations an opportunity to assess the effects of the order.

"Based on experience gained during the 2012 election cycle, NAB may conclude that it is not necessary to proceed with this case," the group wrote.

NAB said that based on developments over the next several months, it may conclude that it is "unnecessary to expend additional resources on this appeal."

The FCC says the rule is part of its effort to put more information online, and watchdog groups hope the rule will shed light on the big money behind political ad campaigns by making the data more accessible.