NEWS BLOG (WSAU) It happened on Tuesday. It may happen today and Friday, too. These are days when 100% of WSAU’s local advertising will be political.
I know, it’s hard to listen to. We’ve had complaints.
Here are some things you should keep in mind about broadcasters and political advertising.
Under federal law a candidate gets the lowest advertising rates when they buy TV and radio airtime. Normally lowest-unit-rate commercials are preemptable – they can be ‘bumped’ by higher-paying clients. Not political ads. They literally crowd out other sponsors. You can imagine our frustration at having to tell car dealerships, casinos and cell phone companies that we don’t have room for their commercials. (Political action groups do not get the “political rate”. They pay regular rates.)
Broadcasters are not allowed to reject or edit ads based on content. If you’re offended by an ad – sorry – we can’t take it off-air or change it. Candidates get special freedom of speech rules that wouldn’t apply to false or misleading ads from other clients.
There is an equal time rule, but the name is deceiving. It should really be called ‘the equal opportunity’ rule. A broadcaster can’t accept advertising from one candidate and then refuse advertising from an opponent. They get the same rate and same chances to run their commercials, but they still have to pay.
It ends in five days. Then your favorite radio station will be more listenable.