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Webinar Webinar Presentation Transcript

  • Political Broadcasting Broadcasters Association © Womble Carlyle 2007
  • Political Broadcasting
    • It pays to know the rules
  • Political Rules in a Nutshell
    • A broadcast licensee must provide to LEGALLY QUALIFIED political candidates for federal office (President, Vice President, U.S. Congress) REASONABLE ACCESS .
    • When a legally qualified candidate makes a USE of a broadcast facility during a NON-EXEMPT PROGRAM , then an opposing candidate is entitled to make a REQUEST for EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES .
    • Certain uses may qualify for the station’s LOWEST UNIT CHARGE . A full DISCLOSURE of the station’s selling practices must be made to all political advertisers.
  • Nutshell (cont.)
    • All uses must be free from CENSORSHIP , and must bear the proper SPONSORSHIP IDENTIFICATION and BCRA statement.
    • Each request for a use of the station’s facilities, and the disposition of that request, must be recorded in the station’s POLITICAL FILE.
    • The FAIRNESS DOCTRINE has been repealed. Court invalidated POLITICAL EDITORIALS, PERSONAL ATTACKS corollaries.
    • Stations are still subject to NEWS DISTORTION rule
    • BCRA requires some 3 rd party ads be noted in the political file.
  • Who is a Legally Qualified Candidate?
  • What is a Candidate “Use” Why is it important?
  • Candidate Access
  • Access to Specific Programs?
  • Non-Standard Lengths
  • How do the Rules differ for State and Local Candidates
  • Deadlines and Weekend Access to Station
  • Equal Opportunities § 315 Communications Act
  • Are Any Programs or Times Exempt from Equal Opportunities?
  • Exempt Programs
    • Bona fide newscasts
    • Bona fide news interview programs
    • Bona fide documentaries
    • On-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (includes station-sponsored debates)
  • Content that Conflicts with Law
  • What about Problem Ads ??
  • Censorship & Prior Review
  • Rates
  • Political Rates
  • Lowest Unit Charge WINDOWS 2008
  • California PRIMARIES - 2008
    • February 5, 2008
    • (LUC Begins December 22, 2007)
    April 19 December 22 LUC Begins No 53 No N/A June 3 February 5 California Governor U.S. Representative U.S. Senate State Federal Offices General Election State Runoff Primary (if necessary) State Primary Presidential Primary State
    • NOVEMBER 4, 2008
    • SEPTEMBER 5, 2008
  • Lowest Unit Charge The lowest price charged for any individual unit of time sold in the same class, in the same length and program or daypart that runs within the Lowest Unit Charge window
  • Charges Inside the Political Window:
    • Maxim: The political advertiser must be treated no worse than a station’s MOST FAVORED ADVERTISER.
    • Even though buying only a single spot spots, treat as your best and highest volume advertiser year in and out.
  • Who is entitled to LUC?
    • Only “uses” authorized by legally qualified candidate’s campaign in connection with the campaign are entitled to lowest unit charge
  • Classes of Time
  • Preemptible Time
  • Special Political Class of Time or Candidate Discount
  • Rotations
  • Package Plans
  • What to Include in the LUC ?
  • What to Exclude From the LUC ?
  • Network Exception ?
  • Rate Increases or Decreases:
  • Agency and Rep Commissions
  • Specific Programs
  • Sold Out Time ?
  • Production Facilities
  • Make Goods
  • Time Sensitive Make Goods
  • Three Most important Rules of Political Broadcasting
    • Disclose !!!
    • Disclose !!!
    • Disclose !!!
  • Disclosure Statement Political Advertising Disclosure Statement Preemption ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Time Categories ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Weekends ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • What Must Disclosure Statement Include ?
  • Sponsor Identification
  • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Sponsorship ID
  • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Lowest Unit Charge
  • Federal Candidate Certificate
  • BCRA ID - Radio
  • What’s Wrong with This Radio Ad? The Right Way !
  • BCRA ID - Television
  • What’s Wrong with This TV Ad?
  • What’s Wrong with This TV Ad?
  • What’s the Issue
    • BCRA applies to the Candidate, not the broadcaster
    • Consequence is loss of entitlement to LUC
    • Claims against the Broadcaster – illegal campaign contribution
    • Civil Liability – FEC Enforcement
      • Up to 200% of amount involved
      • 300% to 1000% of amount involved for conduit schemes
    • Criminal Liability -- DOJ
      • $2 to $25K: Fine &/or Up to 1 yr
      • $25K and Up: Fine &/or Up to 5 yrs
  • The Transcript
    • Commissioner Weintraub
      • I didn’t measure to make sure it was exactly 80 percent as our regulations provide but if not it was pretty darn close.
      • And I didn’t think there could possibly be any confusion that he was the guy at issue who was making the disclaimer
    • So: Comm Act Violation: ??
    • BCRA violation – illegal contribution?
    • Pretty darn close standard
  • Third Party Candidate Spots
  • Third Party Issues Spots
  • Credit Must Be Offered If:
  • Political File
  • Contents of Political File
  • Recordkeeping Retention Period
  • Ads and Other Communications Activities of others Ideas for Enhanced Selling & NTR
  • Outside Groups
  • Who can pay for a campaign ad? What is off limits?
    • Federal PACs -- no limit
    • Individuals -- No limit, but
      • Over certain limits must report
    • Corporations (including non-profits) and Unions – no treasury funds for:
    • Express advocacy
    • Electioneering communications
  • What is express advocacy?
    • In 1976, Supreme Court:
      • speech that “expressly advocates” the election or defeat of a candidate.
    • Bright line between advocating a candidate and advocating for an issue
    • Became known as “magic words” test -- “vote for,” “defeat,” “re-elect”
  • Almost 30 years later
    • Supreme Court: Express advocacy test has proved “functionally meaningless”
    • “ Call and tell” ads.
    • “… And though he talks about protecting children, Yellowtail failed to make his own child support payments – then voted against child support enforcement. Call Bill Yellowtail. Tell him to support family values.”
  • Electioneering Communications
    • Congress attempts to stop end-run around express advocacy test through “sham issue ads”
  • What are Electioneering Communications
    • Broadcast, cable or satellite communications
    • Refer to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office
    • Publicly distributed within sixty days before a general election or
    • thirty days before a primary election
    • Targeted to the relevant electorate
  • Electioneering Communications Before Wisconsin Right to Life
    • No corporate or union funding if:
      • Ad refers to a candidate for federal office
      • Ad runs 60 days before general election; 30 days before primary
      • Broadcast, cable, or satellite
      • Targeted to 50,000 or more of candidate’s potential voters
    • Effectively Thrown out by Wisconsin Right To Life
  • Electioneering Communications After Wisconsin Right to Life
    • WRTL's ads may reasonably be interpreted as something other than an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate
    • they are not the functional equivalent of express advocacy
  • Electioneering Communications
    • A communication is the “functional equivalent of express advocacy” only if it “is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.”
    • So as long as its not a call to vote for or against a candidate, its fair game inside and outside the BCRA windows.
  • What’s Not Covered?
    • Print, Internet, Telephone, Billboards
  • Politics and the Internet Pew Research Center © Womble Carlyle 2004 - 2006
  • HD & Dedicated Channels
    • XM POTUS 08 Channel
    • Radio channel dedicated exclusively to the 2008 presidential election
    • Everyone with XM radio
      • XM subscribers or not
      • news updates, candidate interviews, complete speeches, debate coverage, latest polling results, fundraising status, and live call-in shows. Non­traditional media outlets, such as bloggers and podcasters & C-SPAN
  • HD & Dedicated Channels
    • XM POTUS 08 Channel
    • Radio channel dedicated exclusively to the 2008 presidential election
    • Everyone with XM radio
      • XM subscribers or not
      • news updates, candidate interviews, complete speeches, debate coverage, latest polling results, fundraising status, and live call-in shows. Non­traditional media outlets, such as bloggers and podcasters & C-SPAN
  • POTUS 08
    • Also
      • provide free airtime
        • presidential candidates, or
        • representatives to speak to voters
      • Candidate Full Editorial Control
    • Full Compliance
      • §315, §312(a)(7), No censorship or filter
      • Subject to certain access guidelines
        • For pay, time limits, profanity
  • XM is a Press Entity
    • On a regular basis, produces a program that disseminates news stories, commentary, and/or editorials
    • Neither XM nor POTUS ’08 is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate
    • the Candidate Supplied Content is a form of “guest commentary”
    • the provision of free airtime to qualified presidential candidates constitutes “covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial.”
  • FEC Ruling
    • XM and POTUS 08 are exempt from prohibited corporate contributions and expenditures under the press exemption
    • none of XM’s POTUS ’08 satellite radio broadcasts will constitute an electioneering communication
  • Required Disclaimer
    • Candidate POTUS ’08
      • a disclaimer that clearly states
        • paid for by the candidate’s authorized committee
        • Presented in a clear & conspicuous manner
        • BCRA Stand-by-You-Ad statement
  • Political Ads
    • Send MPEG and MP3
    • [email_address]
    • Gregg Skall — CBA Washington Counsel
          • 202-857-4441
          • [email_address]
          • 1-877-4 FCC LAW
    • Bobby Baker : Hope Cooper —
    • FCC Political Programming Branch
    • 202-418-1440
    • [email_address] ; [email_address]
        • www.fcc.gov/mb/policy/political/
    • NAB Legal Department
    • (NAB Member Stations Only) — 202-429-5430