FCC Rules Pappas Telecasting to Provide Free Air Time

Nov 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission late Friday ruled that Pappas Telecasting must provide free airtime to a California state Democratic assembly representative so that she can respond to her Republican opponent, who got free time on several Pappas TV stations in California.

In a complaint filed at the FCC, Nicole Parra, a Democratic incumbent running for re-election to the California Assembly, said an opponent, Dean Gardner, got free time from a gift that Pappas Telecasting donated to California state Republican county central committees.

But Ms. Parra, according to the FCC, said the Pappas stations had informed her that she would have to buy time to respond. “Based upon the facts that have been presented to us, we find that the broadcast time that has been made available to candidate Gardner was furnished free of charge,” said FCC Deputy Media Bureau Chief William Johnson. “Thus, under the these circumstances, we find that the complainant is entitled to equal opportunities on the same free basis as her opponent.”

Pappas Telecasting said in a statement, “We were surprised by the ruling but we are complying with it fully,” said Mike Angelos, VP of corporate communications for Pappas Telecasting. “We are reserving the right to appeal to the full commission.”