WASHINGTON (Grey DC) – Political advertisements are in all places throughout an election yr. You possibly can’t keep away from them.

We get a number of questions from viewers about this subject: Why does our TV station run them? Can we censor them? Do we have now to offer air time to all candidates?

On this Grey TV information to political advertisements, we’ll break down the federal guidelines on political promoting.

Broadcast TV stations depend on promoting to earn money. Politicians purchase advert time to assist them attain voters. And the Federal Communications Fee makes the foundations.

It is very important word that there are two sorts of political advertisements: candidate advertisements and concern advertisements.

“The candidate advertisements — these are coming immediately from the candidate or their licensed marketing campaign committee,” mentioned Joan Stewart, a lawyer at Wiley, who specializes in FCC rules. “A difficulty advert is coming from both a person, an organization, a political motion committee – anyone outdoors of that marketing campaign circle.”

We requested Stewart to reply a query we get rather a lot: Does our TV station must run concern and candidate advertisements?

“Stations don’t have any obligation to air concern promoting,” defined Stewart. “Candidate advertisements – it is determined by the kind of candidate. Stations are legally obligated to offer what’s referred to as ‘cheap entry’ to federal candidates. This implies they have to present no less than a number of the time requested by a federal candidate.”

Federal candidates are these operating for president, vp, U.S. Home, and U.S. Senate. Additionally they must be ‘legally certified’ – which means they’ve introduced they’re operating and are certified to carry the workplace they’re in search of, amongst different {qualifications}.

So, if our station runs an advert for one candidate, do we have now to run advertisements for the rivals too?

Stewart defined, “A one-out candidate is available in and buys a schedule – perhaps it has some nice primetime spots, perhaps they seem in sports activities programming — their opposing candidate has the precise to return in and say, ‘I need as near an equal schedule as you may give me for a similar worth.’ And the station has to do their finest to accommodate that request.”

That is referred to as ‘equal time.’ Equal time doesn’t simply apply to promoting. Any look on our station by one legally certified candidate provides the opposing candidates a possibility to request equal time, though there are some exemptions.

“If, for instance, a candidate seems on a information program, and what they’re doing is newsworthy — perhaps you’re masking their marketing campaign or one thing like that — that isn’t topic to equal time,” defined Stewart.

The opposite candidates have seven days to request equal time.

Our station has to maintain detailed information concerning the political advertisements we run and make them accessible for the general public to view.

“Now, all the pieces has gone on-line,” defined Matt Eldredge, general manager at Gray TV station KOLO 8 News Now in Reno, Nev. “There’s a hyperlink on our web site, they usually can entry our FCC website, and we have now to place…the schedule. The schedule has what [campaigns] bought, the dates, the instances, and so forth.”

Eldredge’s station –- and all of our Grey Tv stations — are accountable for ensuring there are key parts in each political advert earlier than it airs.

“They’ve to offer identification of who’s sponsoring the advert or who’s paying for the advert,” Eldredge defined.

Federal candidates should additionally make this assertion verbally: “I’m (title), and I permitted this advert.”

State or native candidates, with some exceptions, solely have to disclose sponsorship in writing.

“The font must be 4% of the display and final for no less than 4 seconds,” mentioned Eldredge.

Our station shouldn’t be accountable for the content material of the advertisements. We frequently hear from viewers who suppose they’re offensive or stuffed with lies.

“By FCC rule, we can not censor or refuse to run a candidate advert, whatever the claims which might be made within the advert,” mentioned Eldredge.

The no censorship rule doesn’t apply to concern advertisements, since our station doesn’t must run them.

So, the following time you see a political advert run on our station, you’ll know extra about why we air them.

Hyperlink to FCC guidelines:


To view Grey TV stations’ public inspection information:

On a Grey TV station’s homepage, scroll to the underside of the web site. You’ll see a hyperlink for both “Public Inspection File” or “FCC Public File.”

Senior reporter/government producer Ted Fioraliso contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 Grey DC. All rights reserved.

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