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Powell, McCain Challenge Stations to Air More Election News

Powell, McCain Challenge Stations to Air More Election News

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., and FCC Chairman Michael Powell are urging broadcasters to devote more airtime to election news. In a letter sent by both, men who are not normally on the same side of a communications regulation issue, the call for radio and TV stations to air more election news coverage and public affairs programming.
The letter was sent to NAB, Disney ABC, NewsCorp, Viacom/CBS/Infinity and NBC.
In the letter, they state: “We understand that several broadcasters have pledged to increase their political news coverage and public affairs programming during this election year. We commend these broadcasters and now challenge those who are not already doing so to step up and take similar actions to raise the level of public discourse during the election season ahead.”
Though TV remains the primary source of campaign and election information for most people, according to the Pew Research Center and NAB, in the seven weeks leading up to election day 2002, more than half of all top-rated local TV news broadcasts did not have any campaign coverage. That’s according to a report by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School and the University of Wisconsin and cited by Powell and McCain.
Broadcasters taking part in a panel discussion earlier this week as part of NAB’s Service to America Summit said they offer candidates free airtime, but candidates often don’t use it.