Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: How's Your Political Business this Year?

    • 1048 posts
    August 3, 2018 12:59 AM PDT

    Here in Washington State, there are at least two congressional primaries receiving national attention, and they're spending some big bucks on TV advertising.

    Closer to home, a three-way race for County District Court Judge has been very competitive, along with several other contested races in our home county and legislative district, and they're relying mainly on radio to get the word out, supplemented by some investment in social media and newspaper ads.


    What's the political advertising situation in your market, on your stations? Getting your fair share? Unfair share? 

    Anyone running particularly noteworthy political ads?

    Please post your answers in the comments below. Thanks!

    • 11 posts
    August 3, 2018 5:07 AM PDT
    What, if anything, should i do? A local station is intentionally charging political advertisers a significantly higher rate that does not comply with FEC rules about the lowest unit rate. Most of their current accounts get free “bonus” ads which results in the average rate for some accounts paying only $0.50 per ad! Station owner does not want political advertisers to know or pay this low rate and is publishing their local political rates running from $10-$15 per ad. The rate for an agency placing political ads has been $72, gross. Gigantic difference. The owner is fully aware of what political ad rates should be but reminded the salesperson that he was the owner of the station and he would determine what the rate should be and that only he would handle all the political advertising. The salesperson told owner he could not work for the station if it was going to intentionally operate outside the rules, and the owner said “fine”, so the salesperson had to immediately terminate his employment at the station.

    Should the salesperson say anything and if so, to whom?

    The salesperson is now unemployed and really has no recourse to the station/owner as he was an at will employee. Everyone else at the station is afraid to say anything to anyone for fear of losing their job. The unemployed salesperson fears retaliation by owner if he says anything.

    There is documentation to prove the above.

    • 26 posts
    August 3, 2018 6:13 AM PDT
    Watching this because I know what I'd want to do do (report him to FCC) but not sure that's the right thing to do. I think the campaigns have to do the complaining.
    • 1048 posts
    August 4, 2018 1:47 PM PDT

    Note to RSC members: we've added a "Political Advertising" category to the discussion forums.

    If you have questions or comments on anything having to do with political advertising, please consider posting a new topic there. The issue of LUR compliance is certainly relevant.

    I recently was involved in a dispute between a political candidate and a station group that, at first, was refusing to honor a gift certificate which the candidate had purchased at a charity auction. You can read about it here. It got ugly before it was finally resolved in the candidate's favor.

    Our Washington State Broadcasters Association is hosting a webinar on political advertising next week. Hopefully there will be some valuable takeaways to share here. Likewise, if you've received or are receiving special refresher training in political advertising, please consider sharing anything you find valuable here. 

    • 1048 posts
    August 4, 2018 1:49 PM PDT

    Dale and Lisa -

    Good questions, and I'll try to get some answers to them during the webinar.


    Update: FCC attorney David Oxenford, the presenter, stressed that stations are obligated to disclose to candidates all classes of time, discount rates and privileges given to commercial advertisers, that affect the value of spots, and of station policies that will affect the candidate's buying decision. It must be provided to all candidates when they want to buy time. For example, if within the political LUR window any of your commercial advertisers are receiving bonus spots, which effectively brings down the actual cost per spot, that rate must be extended to political advertisers who wish to buy ads in the same daypart(s), regardless of how many ads the candidate is buying.

    Incidentally, Mr. Oxenford publishes an excellent political broadcast law blog, which you can read here

    And if you do not have a copy of the RAB's Political Advertising Handbook, you can download it here.

    In regard to your particular sticky situation, Dale, it would be best to ask your station's FCC attorney for an authoritative answer.




    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at August 17, 2018 12:07 AM PDT