In Depth

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

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.