The Boston Globe did a small survey of noncommercial broadcast outlets in the wake of the Ninth Circuit Court’s finding that political and issue advertising should be allowed on their stations. It discovered that like just about all of us, the ruling caught the stations by surprise, that they aren’t rushing to embrace the idea, and that few think we’ve heard the final word on this topic yet.
At least one Massachusetts Democrat said having access to noncommercial stations, particularly on the radio side, would be a dream come true. Democrats have few alternatives if they wish to advertise on Talk-formatted stations which even in the liberal bastion of Boston lean very much to the right.
However, management at one station after another noted that while the money might be welcome, they were concerned that adding such advertising to the mix could alienate much of their audience. They also expressed concern that it could damage the bond of trust between the station and its audience.
The possibility of an appeal of the court ruling looms, and few think that the Ninth Circuit opinion will be the final word on the topic. As for federal regulatory agencies that may be impacted, they appear to have been caught off guard along with everybody else, and have uniformly declined to comment on it other than to say that the matter is under review.