If you put unsold inventory up for auction on the Internet, does that count when you are calculating lowest unit rate (LUR) when charging a politician for airtime? 41 state broadcaster associations (and one from Washington DC) want to know.
The use of three internet services to peddle unsold inventory is a process that is off the rate card, and the coalition of associations wants a declaratory ruling on whether they should be considered, and also wants to know if there are any other pertinent issues involved with the use of internet services of this type.
Three are mentioned specifically: Bid4Spots, SoftWave Media Exchange and dMarc Broadcasting. The FCC is opening the issue for public comment under MB Docket No. 07-137, on an ex parte permit-but-disclose basis.
SmartMedia observation: If in some parallel universe, political campaigns are entitled to buy carpeting at lowest unit rate for its portable campaign stage, it should not be expected to pay the going rate for carpet remnants unless it is willing to buy the remnants and sew or glue them together itself. Likewise, broadcast inventory remnants have no business being considered in a calculation of this type. If politicians want to troll the internet for cheap airtime in an unsold daypart, fine, they should be welcome to do so. But a station's documented standard business procedure should be the sole determining factor for LUR.