And the way it happened has rivals pondering possible complaints to regulatory authorities. ABC KEZI-TV 9 in Eugene OR is the on-air home of newsman Rick Dancer. He’s exiting to pursue the office of Oregon Secretary of State, which is fine. The complaint is how he announced his candidacy — during the first three minutes of the station’s 2/24/08 newscast.
On-air broadcasters who become candidates for public office, according to conventional wisdom, typically exit their broadcast gig and announce their political ambitions thereafter. But in this case, Dancer began the 11 o’clock news with the announcement of his exit from KEZI after 19 years, and the reason, then was interviewed by another news personality.
The owner of the station, Carolyn Chambers, is said to be a solid, fund-donating Republican, but the station claimed that was not why they allowed Dancer to launch his candidacy from his news desk. Rather, station management felt that loyal viewers deserved to know the reason for his upcoming absence.
That is not the way four announced Democratic candidates for the position feel. Each would like their own three minutes on the station to make their own case for election to the position. It is not known, however, if any plan to place a formal equal time complaint with the FCC — at one local candidate, state Sen. Vicki Walker, is said to be considering it.