SDARS Political Broadcasting Requirements

OMB 3060-1212

OMB 3060-1212

In 1997, the Commission imposed political broadcasting requirements on Satellite Digital Audio Broadcasting Service ("SDARS") licensees. See Establishment of Rules and Policies for the Digital Audio Radio Satellite Service in the 2310-2360 MHz Frequency Band, 12 FCC Rcd 5754, 5792, para. 92 (1997) ("1997 SDARS Order"), FCC 97-70. The Commission stated that SDARS licensees should comply with the same substantive political debate provisions as broadcasters: the federal candidate access provision (47 U.S.C. Section 312(a)(7)) and the equal opportunities provision (47 U.S.C. Section 315). The 1997 SDARS Order imposes the following requirements on SDARS licensees: Lowest unit charge: Similar to broadcasters, SDARS licensees must disclose any practices offered to commercial advertisers that enhance the value of advertising spots and different classes of time. SDARS licensees must also calculate the lowest unit charge and are required to review their advertising records throughout the election period to determine whether compliance with this rule section requires that candidates receive rebates or credits. See 47 CFR Section 73.1942. Political file: Similar to broadcasters, SDARS licensees must also keep and permit public inspection of a complete record (political file) of all requests for SDARS origination time made by or on behalf of candidates for public office, together with an appropriate notation showing the disposition made by the system of such requests, and the charges made, if any, if the request is granted. The disposition includes the schedule of time purchased, when the spots actually aired, the rates charged, and the classes of time purchased. Also, when free time is provided for use by or on behalf of candidates, a record of the free time provided is to be placed in the political file as soon as possible and maintained for a period of two years. See 47 CFR 73.1943.

The latest form for SDARS Political Broadcasting Requirements expires 2021-08-31 and can be found here.


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