Television broadcast group Belo Corporation will be extending the offer of free air time to candidates for political office for the eighth time since it began the program in 1996. Candidates for governor or the US House and Senate are eligible.
Belo calls the program “It’s Your Time.” It gives candidates five guaranteed minutes of airtime, four for stating their case for election to the public and one for answering questions from the public. The video is kept alive on Belo websites.
Belo also commits to at least an hour of coverage of the election weekly in the six weeks prior to voting.
Belo says that in 2008, 140 candidates used the program to happily burn up over 14 hours of airtime.
RBR-TVBR observation: Not only does this policy reflect well on Belo in terms of both public relations and its public file, it goes a long way towards heading off the perennial calls that free air time be mandated by law to which politicians are prone.