TV-station-group owner Pappas Telecasting Cos. has committed to airing at least five minutes of candidate-centered speech per day for the 30 days preceding the general election on its six stations that produce local news, as well as airing "get out the vote" public-service announcements on all 25 of its stations starting now and ending on Election Day.
The formal campaign and per-day minimum are firsts for the group and come in the wake of increased pressure on broadcasters from Washington to boost candidate speech in the run-up to the election.
Senator John McCain, with the moral support of FCC Chairman Michael Powell, has urged broadcasters to do more, with McCain adding that it they don't, he could revive a mandatory free airtime bill.
Pappas stations committing to the coverage are KMPH Fresno, KUVR Reno, KSWT Yuma, KHGI Lincoln, KPTM, Omaha, and KBBC El Paso.
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