- The window to make an impact is limited. Local media options are finite - use a mix to reach all the voters possible.
- Adding radio will amplify your message to reach more people across time, place and day that Television alone cannot.
- Optimize budgets to improve reach, impressions, frequency, and cost efficiency.
- Run discrete targets (independents, Hispanics, etc.) to evaluate and optimize.
These political advertisement agreement forms have been designed to serve as actual contracts for the sale of political broadcast time and to satisfy FCC record retention requirements.
Produced by NAB's Legal Department and Published by the NAB Publications Department.
Upcoming Elections 2023 & 2024
UPCOMING STATEWIDE ELECTIONS:
Political Broadcast Rules, Resources and Manuals Quick Review of Key Points about Political Ad Rules
Presidential Primary Election - March 5, 2024
General Election - November 5, 2024
The political window for any primary is 45 days. For any election that can result in a final outcome, the window is 60 days. That means that a special election that is included on a primary ballot (e.g., replacing a state assembly person) that can result in the final election of a candidate will have a 60 day window even though all other offices on that primary ballot will have only a 45 day window.
A candidate's voice must be included in a commercial in order for it to qualify for the Lowest Unit Rate (LUR). No exceptions.
The candidate does not have to pay for the spot, but if they authorize the spot and they knowingly contribute their voice to the spot, it qualifies for the LUR (e.g., they can't just be quoted from a speech, they must contribute their own voice).
All legally qualified candidates for office, regardless of the office, qualify for the LUR. They can be running for a city office, a county office, a state office or a Federal office, as long as they have announced their intention to run, are qualified by law to run and to appear on the ballot or as a write-in candidate.
The LUR is determined by the lowest rates on advertiser contracts in effect on the station the week before and the week following a candidate's schedule.
You may have what you "term" 'no charge spots' on a contract within the window as long as there is written documentation in your files (not your public files) that allocates a portion of the total cost of a contract to each spot. E.g., you may average spot costs. You may deduct costs from the rate on one spot to be allocated to a no charge spot. But whatever is the lowest rate, either printed on or documented elsewhere for a contract, is the effective LUR.
You must accept advertising from any candidate for FEDERAL office. You are not required to accept advertising for any other offices. However, once you accept one candidate for a given office, you must accept timely made demands for equal opportunities from all other candidates for that office, but you do not have to notify all other candidates, or offer time beyond the 7 day demand period.
You may restrict the number of spots that any, except a Federal, candidate is allowed on your station.
No matter what length of spot or number of spots a Federal candidate requests, you must consider the request. If the request is unreasonable, you may negotiate with the candidate and the candidate must negotiate with the station. If you cannot reach a mutual accommodation, you may seek an interpretation of your obligations from the FCC Mass Media Bureau Policy Division Assistant Chief for Political Broadcasting, Robert (Bobby) Baker. Bobby Baker has frequently settled such disputes through mediation.
Anytime a candidate makes a non-exempt appearance on your air, any other candidate for that office may make a timely request and must then be given equal opportunities to your airwaves. An exempt appearance is if they are part of a bona fide news story (e.g., Candidate A gets arrested for drunk driving, or Candidate B speaks at an event that is a recognized part of their job and is newsworthy). In other words, a story run based on a decision regarding its newsworthiness and not to advance the exposure of a particular candidate. If one of your air talent decides to run for office, their opponents can request equal opportunities to your airwaves in response to each appearance your talent on the air.
A candidate has 7 days to request equal opportunities after a spot for his opponent has aired. So, if candidate A has run a schedule for 5 weeks, candidate B can only request equal opportunity to match the previous 7 days of advertising. It cannot be claimed in advance. However, if the station knows that the 5 weeks are going to air, it often makes sense to go ahead and work out the schedule of the opposing candidate.
These notes have been read and approved by Gregg P. Skall, the Washington DC based FCC attorney (pro bono, thank you Gregg) for the CBA and us. However, they do not constitute and may not be considered as the provision of legal advice to any particular station or licensee. You should always confer with a lawyer of your choosing for the provision of specific legal advice applicable to your station and situation.