Post-Newsweek opening airwaves to candidates


With six television stations in battleground states, the Post-Newsweek Stations group is pledging to serve the public interest by paying close attention to the electoral process, including a special emphasis on local races and the provision of free airtime to candidates, among other things.

The free airtime for candidates will be made within 30 days of the general election, and is one of five major points in the Post-Newsweek election plan.

The company has stations in Florida, Texas and Michigan, and it notes that there are key congressional battles in its locations, in addition to the presidential election on the ballot.

Group President Alan Frank (pictured) said, “Post-Newsweek Stations have a long-standing history of providing comprehensive election coverage in the communities we serve. The 2012 elections are of critical importance, both locally and nationally.  Our responsibility as news and public affairs leaders is to ensure that candidates and voters have a platform for rigorous public discussion and debate. We are committed to using our entire station resources, both on-air and online, to engage our viewers throughout the election process and to provide the information and context necessary to help them make the most informed decisions.”

The plan includes:
* free airtime for candidates during the 30 days leading up to the election
* at least ten minutes of locally-produced weekday political coverage
* debates and town hall meetings if possible
* special internet coverage
* get-out-the-vote PSAs

RBR-TVBR observation: Making time for local races is especially challenging in a presidential election year – it captures a lot of attention, but the length of local newscasts cannot change to accommodate it. Watchdogs notice this, and have been known persistently challenge licenses of stations that give local races short shrift. Post-Newsweek is wise to make local coverage a specific objective.