FCC’s Martin Wins Title ‘Porker of the Month’ for NASCAR Sponsorship

Oct 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is being named “Porker of the Month” by a government watchdog group thanks to the FCC’s $355,000 sponsorship of a NASCAR car to promote the digital TV transition.


Citizens Against Government Waste today suggested the decision demonstrated “poor judgment” and questioned whether Mr. Martin adequately consulted other FCC commissioners before approving the sponsorship.
“It is one thing to have an ad on television about the digital transition, but who is going to see that ad on a racing car?” said Tom Schatz, the group’s president. “I also don’t know that the intended audience [for digital transition messages] would be watching a NASCAR race. It’s a completely ineffective use of tax dollars that raises lots of questions.”
Mr. Schatz said some of the NASCAR races will be in North Carolina, where it has been speculated that Mr. Martin might eventually run for political office.
FCC officials didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
The FCC announced the sponsorship of David Gilliland’s Number 38 car last week. The FCC is sponsoring the car’s running in three races and will get signs on the car as well as on the tracks promoting the digital transition. Yates Racing owns the car.
The watchdog group gave Mr. Martin its October award and said that puts the FCC chairman in the running for its “porker of the year” award.

61 Comments

  1. This is indefensible.
    It is in NASCAR’s interest (as well as the channels they broadcast on) to promote the digital switch-over (less potential viewers = less ratings and ad revenue.)
    Digital tv allows broadcasters to more accurately track viewership than antenna users as well. Overall, digital promotion = sustained viewership, and better data about viewership.
    This is a no-brainer. ESPN, ABC, CBS, etc have their a big financial incentive. That’s why you see your local and Brian Williams talking about it frequently.
    Kevin Martin really sucks. He is a Bush appointee and he’s done his boss’ bidding – i.e., pushing for ownership deregulation (you know, allowing a big company to own 2/3 of the TV stations and newspapers in your town, which as you might guess, does wonders for local news coverage.)

  2. Do not be surprised that Mr. Martin, after his time at the FCC, will be transformed in a high paid NASCAR or Yates Racing officer…….

  3. Martin is another doughy pasty republican Bushie with roundish glasses…is there a factory in Texas or Connecticut making these these people?

  4. Why can’t we get “political appointees” that are somewhat suited for the position? Another BRILLIANT Bush appointee feathers his own nest . . . getting close to “quittin’ time” . . . bet a used Palin Dress that he ends up working at NASCAR or Yates . . . .

  5. I may be a Dem., but this accusation is off base. Here is my take … The FCC is under the direction to make this Digital conversion by Feb. 17. It affects millions of households that run antennas (still). About a month ago, the FCC did a test conversion in the Wilmington, NC area, but no one really had been effectively made aware of the test. Screens went to snow, and local “mayhem” ensued as no one with an antenna knew what the hell was going on. The Wall Street Journal did a front page article on the ineffectiveness of the mass communication to the local Wilmington test debacle. So they (FCC) had to find a more effective medium, and saw that NASCAR’s last few races were on BROADCAST TV (ABC). They simply found a discounted opportunity to use this medium to reach a mass audience and create a viral cause marketing message. NASCAR probably directed them to a team that had a few race sponsorships available. That was Yates. Why is this different from all the TV commercials they are running currently and other forms of advertising they are spending (already approved and budgeted) ad dollars on? I think this hit job is because such Washington watch dog groups simply view NASCAR as right wing and redneck – which is probably correct to a small degree. But me and my Dem friends are huge fans and love the sport. Get off the FCC’s back. I’m glad to see a respected team like that get support and at the same time make a difference in the world. The money was effectively spent!

  6. Hey, relax. It isn’t real money. It’s taxpayer money!
    Ever see Martin on an interview? The guy’s like Martin Short’s nervous Dr Strangelove-like character he used to do years ago.
    Like his predecessor, Michael Powell, Martin has led his friends to the public coffers and given away huge amounts of bandwidth to his friends and Bush’s contributors.

  7. Fire his dumb arse!! We are sick and tired of waste. Don’t just fire him, but if this was done for political or private gain, throw his sorry arase in jail where he can pay up for his crime.

  8. What’s worse is that our military has for years under the Bush Admin been spending MILLIONS per year on Nascar sponsorships while our troops go without proper equipment.
    355k is nothing compared to what has been thrown to big Republican supporters at Nascar’s “Asphalt Rodeo / Professional Wrestling Match” and fake auto race company.

  9. Hmmm, the FCC needs to promote the DTV transition.
    “who is going to see that ad on a racing car?” All the NASCAR fans, who watch a lot of TV.
    I don’t see a problem here. A fair question is whether this is a cost-effective way to promote the transition. Depending on how bit the rolling billboard is, it might be a steal.
    -dB

  10. To all of you “drop in the bucket” thinkers;
    That is how the bucket is filled.
    A drop at a time.
    I don’t follow NASCAR but I do
    understand ‘camera time’
    If the ad is visable to the camera
    AND
    If the driver is doing well
    AND
    If the announcers are cooperative
    THEN
    It is money well spent.
    IF NOT
    It is just another drop in the bucket.

  11. Chairman Martin’s stealing of $355,000 in FCC funds for self-promotion in his home state is just the tip of the corruption iceberg in his office.
    Martin continues to allow good buddy Dan Gonzalez to keep his powerful post as FCC “Chief of Staff” – the go-to guy who steers the outcome of every decision voted on by the Commission.
    This is the same Dan Gonzalez under suit for alleged involvement in a $56 million “Ponzi” investor fraud scheme while moonlighting as a board member of the fraudulent MCube Petroleum Company — right from the Chairman’s office!
    The disgraced Gonzalez and his MCube compadres are supposedly all under DOJ investigation right now. So the public must ask: How can there possibly be any integrity within the Chairman’s Office, when Martin allows such a shady individual to maintain the second most powerful job at the FCC?
    The message is clear: FCC Chairman Martin and top staffer Gonzalez believe they have free rein to misuse their hefty positions of power for personal gain — at the public’s expense!

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