Communications and Society Program
Communications and Society Program
A Proposal: Media Access for All Candidates and Ballot Measures
A Proposal: Media Access for All Candidates and Ballot Measures
Center for Governmental Studies
The sharply rising use of television and radio broadcasting by presidential candidates in the United States poses serious problems that affect politicians, the parties, the voters, and the very fabric of our democratic process. . . .It is the task of policymakers to ensure that technology itself does not alter our fundamental political principles, that men remain the masters of technology and not the other way around.
Voters Time, A Report of the Twentieth Century Fund Commission on Campaign Costs in the Electronic Era (1969)
The above warnings by a distinguished panel of Americans have largely gone unheeded. Congress has done virtually nothing in the past twenty-nine years to ameliorate this country's worsening problems with political broadcasting-other than to hold hearings and to decry the status quo. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has even compounded this neglect by repealing the Fairness Doctrine as it applies to ballot measures, thereby depriving voters of the opportunity to hear competing views regarding the measures on which they are asked to vote.1
During this same period, the costs of campaign technology have skyrocketed. Politicians continue to pour rapidly increasing sums into paid radio and television advertising, to the point that many candidates spend more time raising funds to purchase media time than they do discussing relevant issues. But despite this explosive increase in paid media, it would be difficult to argue that voters are about candidates and issues than they were thirty years ago.
One reason is that political advertisements are too often shallow, distorted, trivial, and mean. Thirty-second, negative "hit pieces" typically highlight flaws or omissions (sometimes minor, distorted, or even fabricated) in an opponent's record (a controversial vote, a personal indiscretion) and then magnify them to monumental proportions. These ads attack, but they rarely propose reforms, and they also fail to communicate much significant information. Responsible elected officials who have taken public stands on controversial issues are discouraged from seeking reelection out of fear that thirty-second political ads will distort their positions out of proportion. Those who do run for office are encouraged to state their views in the blandest of terms (such candidates are invariably "for education"), hoping to immunize themselves from attack.
Public attitudes toward elected officials continue to worsen. A Los Angeles Times poll reported that 53 percent of Californians believe their legislators are "taking bribes," two-thirds think "most state legislators are for sale to their largest campaign contributors," a large percentage believes "state government is pretty much run by a few big interests rather than for the benefit of all the people," and the average respondent thinks that nearly one-third of legislative and executive branch members attained their positions "by using unethical or illegal methods."
Despite, and to a certain extent because of, negative political advertising, voter turnout has now dropped from 63 percent in 1960 to around 50 percent in national elections, the lowest average of any industrialized democracy. In some local races, voter turnout has dropped to 10 percent. Low voter participation effectively turns representative democracy into a surrogate democracy, allowing a small percentage of the population to select a government for the rest.
There are, of course, causes for voter dissatisfaction other than negative political advertising-most significantly, campaign financing abuses. But the problems of campaign financing and political television are inextricably interrelated. The need of candidates to raise money is often fueled by the more fundamental need to purchase expensive media time.
Digital broadcasting offers new opportunities-if not to start afresh, then at least to rethink older problems in a newer context. If digital television broadcasters are able to transmit up to ten channels of standard television programming in one new six-megahertz channel allotment, then frequency "scarcity" problems are diminished. What is still needed, however, is a comprehensive approach to the problems of political broadcasting, one that applies to both the newer digital channels and the older analog ones.
Goals and Objectives of Media Reform
Even piecemeal political media reforms have been difficult to achieve-as the past three decades of inaction demonstrate. Yet there is merit in attempting to consider what a system of comprehensive political media reforms might look like. The following is such an attempt.
Thinking broadly, for comprehensive political media reforms to be successful, they should address at least the following goals and objectives:
Applicability to All Elections
Inadequate media coverage of political campaigns adversely affects the fabric of democracy at all levels of government-in campaigns for federal, state, and local office as well as campaigns around ballot measures. Presidential elections, to be sure, are vitally important to the nation, and improvements in media coverage for these races are highly desirable. But voters are also deeply concerned with state and local issues. Up to 20 percent of all American political money is spent at the local level, and ballot initiatives in many states have become the principal engine driving policy and political change-in some California election campaigns, for example, more money is spent on a single ballot measure than on all the general election presidential candidates combined. True political media reform in this country should thus be applicable to all candidate elections-for president, senator, representative, governor, state legislator, county supervisor, city mayor, and city council member-as well as to all state and local ballot measure campaigns.
Candidate Control Over Messages
News coverage of candidate and ballot measure campaigns on television, radio, and in print is clearly important and desirable, as are candidate debates and news interviews. But they cannot substitute for messages directly shaped by the candidates or ballot measure campaigns themselves. Candidate and ballot initiative committees must be able to create, control, and deliver their own messages in their own ways. This goal requires some system of candidate and ballot measure committee "access" to the media, whether on a paid, reduced cost, or free basis.
Candidate Choice of Media
Candidates in some races need access to television to be competitive, but in other races they need access to media other than television. Because TV is the most desirable medium for political persuasion, and because its costs per voter reached are reasonable in those places where its coverage is coterminous with the electoral district, candidates will always prefer television if they can afford it. In smaller races, however, high costs make it prohibitively expensive for most candidates. For candidates who run in districted races (for Congress, state legislature, county supervisor, city council) and local ballot measure committees, the reach of television or radio is far broader than their district boundaries and thus too costly per actual voter reached. For these candidates, direct mail is the medium of choice.
Reform proposals cannot focus exclusively on television. Media reforms must give candidates and ballot measure committees flexible access to media other than television and radio-such as direct mail and political leaflets. (Newspapers and magazines are generally ineffective in political campaigns.) Media reforms should not be "ghettoized" to the new digital television media. Broadcast reforms should be applicable equally to digital and analog television as well as radio.
Free or Substantially Reduced Media Costs
Media costs are currently so high that many highly qualified potential candidates choose not to participate in electoral politics at all, while others must devote most of their time to fundraising-leaving them little time to discuss substantive issues, forcing them to avoid positions disliked by their contributors, and tainting them with the appearance of being unduly or corruptibly subject to influence by their larger contributors. At the same time, even the most brilliant political ideas cannot be communicated without a substantial media budget. Political success has become dependent on a candidate's fundraising abilities or personal wealth, rather than on the power of his or her ideas. Political media reform must therefore provide candidates and ballot measure committees at all levels with some significant ability to reach the voters-either by subsidizing their media purchases or by providing them with no-cost or substantially reduced-cost media access.
Limitations on Media Formats
Merely providing free or reduced-cost media to candidates and ballot measure committees will not solve all informational deficiencies. Without additional media reforms, negative advertising may easily continue poisoning the well. New formats for media messages may be needed, not just a new form of paying for them. Reforms should link the provision of free time to appropriate media formats.
Integration into Broader Campaign Finance Reforms
Providing candidates and ballot measure committees with free or reduced-cost media should not be a policy considered in isolation. Media coverage and campaign financing problems and solutions are interrelated. Candidates are pressured to raise enormous sums of money in substantial part to pay for increasingly costly media time. Public financing would help defray these costs, but without expenditure ceilings it would simply pour gasoline on a fire that is already raging-allowing candidates to spend even more money on uninformative or negative advertising without diminishing their demand for unlimited private funding. Free media time would help candidates, but it would also allow them to redirect the money saved to negative television ads or other forms of communication. Media reforms must thus be tied to broader campaign finance reforms-most importantly, to expenditure ceilings and public financing.
Some Proposed Reforms
The following proposals outline a comprehensive system of media reforms for all campaigns, varying with the size and nature of the campaigns. For presidential campaigns, senate and congressional campaigns, the most important reforms concern broadcast time, carriage, format, payment, campaign financing, new sources of public financing for primaries, purchase of additional broadcast time, equal time and other political regulations, and provisions for minority party candidates. An abbreviated list of the above concerns is important for reform of state and local campaigns. For ballot initiative campaigns, salient reforms concern information flow, funding, lowest unit rate provisions, and the Fairness Doctrine.
U.S. Presidential Candidates
Presidential candidates of major political parties2 who voluntarily agreed to limit their overall campaign expenditures would receive two-and-a-half hours of free time thirty to sixty days before the general election on each analog and digital television station, analog and digital radio station, and national cable television network in the nation.3 This time would be split between two distinct uses: programs and spots.
Programs. One and a half hours of this time would be available in program lengths of at least a half hour, and candidates could combine them into longer programs if they wished. These half-hour and longer programs would be controlled by the candidates and would allow them to explore issues in greater depth. Debates would be handled separately.
Spots. The remaining hour of time would be available to candidates in the format of short spot-announcements thirty to sixty days before the election. Different formats are possible, for example:
Candidate-controlled spots. One half of the remaining hour allotted to candidates during this period would be in the form of fifteen two-minute spots created directly by the candidates themselves. These spots would allow candidates to reach a wide audience by capturing the attention of viewers watching other programs. They would also allow candidates to respond to each other's positions nightly as the campaigns developed-creating, in effect, a serial debate. A two-minute spot is long enough to discuss a specific issue, yet short enough to avoid losing the majority of viewers to another channel. As an alternative, candidates could be given two one-minute spots per evening for thirty days before the election or one one-minute spot per evening for sixty days before the election.
Mini-debate spots. The other fifteen two-minute periods could be devoted to mini-debate formats, in which a citizen, reporter, or "celebrity" (e.g., Oprah Winfrey) would ask a question (for thirty seconds) and the candidates would provide back-to-back responses (for forty-five seconds each).
Both long and short program formats are necessary. Broadcast stations are on the air an average of nearly thirty thousand hours in a four-year period (assuming an average broadcast day of twenty hours), so a total of five hours of time granted to the two major party candidates combined would comprise a minute fraction (0.00017) of any station's overall programming time.
The candidates' longer programs would be broadcast simultaneously, and in prime time, on all radio and television stations and national cable networks, creating a programming "roadblock" that viewers and listeners could not avoid. The remaining hour of spots could be broadcast on individual stations at times chosen by the candidates. Carriage of this time would be in addition to carriage of any debates organized by the candidates themselves or by other organizations such as the League of Women Voters.
Candidates would be required to appear personally in at least 80 percent of each program segment and spot ad. This stipulation would allow up to 20 percent of the remaining time in each program or spot to include "produced" material (films, charts, interviews, and other graphic programming). This restriction would require candidates to present their ideas to the public personally, and in their own words, and it would allow the public to judge them directly, without the intermediary of professional announcers. It would also tend to eliminate "negative" advertising messages, because existing research indicates that the public dislikes negative ads (even though they work) and will vent its displeasure against any candidate appearing in his or her own negative ad.
Broadcast stations would be required to make this time available free of charge to all presidential candidates in exchange for their own continued free use of public frequencies and in lieu of a spectrum fee. (As additional options, broadcasters could be given a tax deduction for the fair market value of the time they are required to relinquish, or the costs of this time could be offset against the value of a newly imposed spectrum fee.) A free-time requirement would not violate broadcasters' First Amendment speech interests under current Supreme Court decisions.4
The basic existing system of campaign financing for presidential elections-expenditure ceilings, public matching funds, and contribution limits in the primary election, and expenditure ceilings, total public financing, and no private contributions in the general election-would remain in place. The provision of free broadcast time would allow candidates to spend public financing funds on other forms of campaign communications.5
New Sources of Public Financing for Primary Campaigns
The current primary election contribution limits of $1,000 for individual contributions (with a cap of $25,000 in total contributions) and $5,000 for political action committee (PAC) contributions would also be retained. However, contributors wishing to make contributions over the lower limits in the primary election-e.g., to give up to $5,000 per candidate for individuals and up to $10,000 per candidate for PACs-would be allowed to do so only pursuant to an important condition: that 50 percent of the excess amount of their larger contributions over the lower limits would go into a special fund to be divided equally between both candidates to promote candidate dialogue and improved public information.6 Candidates could use this additional money to pay for direct mail contacts with voters as well as other informational primary election activities (such as candidate debates, paid political advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts). Because such contributions would be voluntary and deemed an exception to the normal lower contribution limits, they should pass constitutional muster.7
Restrictions on Purchase of Other Broadcast Time
Candidate purchases of additional television and radio time would be prohibited. (As an alternative, purchases of broadcast time could be limited to no more than a total of one additional hour per station during the month before the election.)
Equal Time and Other Political Regulations
The equal opportunities doctrine (Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934) would be suspended for the general election but remain in place for the primary election. The other provisions of Section 315 (e.g., lowest unit rate, no censorship) would also remain, as would the Communications Act's "reasonable access" provision (Section 312[a]). The Fairness Doctrine with its Cullman corollary (establishing that, in order to meet its Fairness Doctrine obligation, a broadcaster must offer response time free of charge) would be applied to paid broadcasting time by presidential candidates during the primary election, with candidates receiving free time when they were unable to pay for at least one spot for every three of their opponent's.
Minority Party Candidates
Minority party candidates receiving between 5 and 20 percent of the vote in the prior election would receive general election media time and financial support in proportion to the vote they received in that election. Candidates receiving over 20 percent of the vote in the last election would be treated like majority party candidates.
Senatorial and Congressional Races
In exchange for senatorial and congressional candidates' voluntary acceptance of expenditure ceilings and public financing (see below), each national political party would receive a total of one hundred hours of additional free air time (for an average of two hours on every television and radio station and cable system per state) to use to promote senate and congressional candidacies in the general elections. The political parties would have the discretion to obtain this time in minimum lengths of two minutes and maximum lengths of one-half hour. The national parties could not, however, acquire less than one hour, or more than three hours, from any station per state. This proposal would guarantee all candidates in smaller states, or in states with non-competitive races, at least one hour of time in the aggregate to communicate with voters, but it would still allow the national parties to focus their resources (up to three hours) on the more competitive or important races.
A national party might decide, for example, that races in California and Wyoming were particularly important (or competitive) in a given year, but that races in New York and Alaska were less so. It might therefore give its California and Wyoming candidates a total of three hours of time per station and its New York and Alaska candidates only one hour per station. In addition, the parties could concentrate their time (up to three hours) in communities with more candidates or with important races. This proposal would prevent individual stations from being overwhelmed with requests for time, yet not require candidates to take time who did not need it.
The national political parties would determine how to use the time allocated to them for each station. Time would be available to them only during the sixty days before the election. An average rate of two hours per station spread over sixty days would provide each party with an average of two minutes per station per day to allocate for all its senatorial and congressional candidates combined. Since congressional candidates, particularly those in larger urban areas with many districts such as Los Angeles, do not usually purchase television time, most of the time acquired in these urban areas would be devoted to senatorial races, party-wide messages (promoting all Republican or Democratic candidates, for example) or, in rare instances, individual but important and closely contested congressional races. Parties would have the flexibility to acquire, say, only one hour of time in rural areas with fewer candidates, and up to three hours in urban areas with numerous candidates.
As with presidential elections (see above), candidates would have to appear personally in at least 80 percent of each program or spot.
Stations would be required to make this time available free of charge to all candidates. (Tax deductions or spectrum fee offsets could be considered.)
A system of public financing (either total or matching) and expenditure ceilings would be adopted for all senatorial and congressional primary and general election candidates. Improvements to the presidential system of campaign financing (e.g., limits on "soft money" as suggested above) would be applied to senatorial and congressional races as well. Because candidates would receive free media time, they would not need as much public financing, and the cost of congressional campaign finance reforms would be mitigated somewhat.
New Sources of Public Financing
Current contribution limits should be maintained, but contributors wishing to give more (see above) would have to agree that 50 percent of the excess amounts over the lower original limits would be divided equally among both candidates. These moneys could be used only for speech-related purposes in the primaries (debates, ads, direct mail, etc.).
Restrictions on Purchase of Other Broadcast Time.
Purchase of additional radio and television time in the general election would be limited, although not prohibited (because candidates should have some freedom, in cases of disagreement with their national parties, to acquire supplemental amounts of time). Candidates, for example, might be able to purchase no more than the total amount of time allocated by their national political parties to their state, or no more than a specified amount of time (e.g., one-half hour per election) in the primary or general elections.
Equal Time and Other Political Regulations
As described above, the equal opportunities portion of Section 315 would be repealed for time acquired through the national political parties but retained for time purchased individually by candidates. The Fairness Doctrine would be applied to paid political appearances, so that any candidate unable to purchase one spot for every three of his or her opponent's spots would receive compensatory free broadcast time.
State and Local Candidates
Most states have adopted various campaign finance regulations, but they are preempted by federal law from providing candidates with access to broadcast time. States have thus been unable to create coordinated reform packages that include both campaign financing and media solutions. Congress should provide states with limited exemptions from the federal preemption on their regulation of broadcast time, allowing any state that adopts campaign finance reform packages within certain parameters (including adequate public financing and reasonable expenditure and contribution limits) to qualify their political parties to obtain limited amounts of free air time for candidates. (Interestingly, states might now be able to require cable television systems within their borders to provide candidates with free time over governmental access channels, although to date they have failed to explore this option.)
Each political party would receive up to two hours on each television or radio station in the state during the sixty-day period before the general election. The time would be available in minimum lengths of two minutes and maximum lengths of one-half hour. The state political parties could allocate this time among statewide, legislative, or even local candidates, according to the parties' electoral priorities. (Although many local candidates run in non-partisan elections, they are often informally aligned with specific parties; in any event, parties could support local candidates whose views most closely matched their own.)
The parties and their candidates would select the desired time periods.
Candidates would have to appear personally in at least 80 percent of each program or spot.
Broadcasters would be required to make this time available free. (Tax deductions for the fair market value of this time or spectrum fee offsets could be considered.)
New Sources of Public Financing
States with a basic contribution limit would be allowed to adopt a second, higher contribution limit and provide candidates with half of the difference between the higher contribution and the lower limit (see above). These funds could be used to purchase media including broadcast and direct mail.
Equal Time and Other Regulations
The equal opportunities provision of the equal time doctrine would be suspended for time acquired under these new provisions by the state political parties, but the Fairness Doctrine would be applied to all political "uses" of broadcast time. A candidate would therefore receive free spots if his or her opponent acquired more than three times the time that he or she acquired.
Ballot Initiative Campaigns
Ballot initiatives are used in about half the states and in the District of Columbia, and their use is increasing.8 Yet ballot initiatives confront a number of informational obstacles. First, the Supreme Court has ruled that limits cannot be placed on either contributions to, or expenditures by, ballot initiative committees. This has allowed large financial interests to swamp some initiative campaigns with one-sided spending (sometimes at a ratio of more than twenty to one).9 Second, the Supreme Court has struck down limits on the use of paid signature gatherers, thus further aggregating the impact of financial disparities. Third, Congress has not required broadcast stations to sell ballot measure campaigns air time at the "lowest unit rate," although it has made this rate available to political candidates. Finally, the FCC has repealed the Fairness Doctrine for ballot measures, thus leaving voters often exposed to one-sided barrages of paid commercials for or against proposed laws which, once approved, may not be amended for decades.
Ballot initiative campaigns are often funded in grossly disproportionate ways, with one side frequently receiving financial support from corporate, labor, or business interests and the other side forced to scramble for small individual contributions.10 Moreover, ballot initiative committees must pay the highest rates for air time, and stations are not required to balance one-sided ad campaigns with free response time under the Fairness Doctrine.
Lowest Unit Rate
Congress should apply the lowest unit rate provision of Section 315 to ballot initiatives as well as candidates. There seems no apparent policy reason why ballot measure committees should be forced to spend many times more on political spots than candidates. Because ballot initiatives, once adopted, immediately become law and frequently cannot be amended even with a unanimous vote of the legislative body, the argument for reduced-rate media time to discuss the pros and cons of such measures seems even stronger than in candidate campaigns.
Congress or the FCC should reinstate the Fairness Doctrine for all ballot measure campaigns. In the 1988 general election in California, for example, when the FCC still applied the Fairness Doctrine to ballot measures, insurance companies spent over $80 million to promote a series of ballot initiatives in their favor. A competing measure (Proposition 103) was qualified by a coalition of public interest organizations. Without the Fairness Doctrine, Proposition 103 would have been deprived of any semblance of informational balance in the campaign; with it, voters were exposed to all views. As a result, they rejected the four insurance industry-sponsored measures (some by close votes) and chose the public measure instead.
Some Concluding Points
The need for an informed electorate applies to all levels of politics-federal, state, and local, and to both candidates and ballot measures. Suggested reforms must be applicable to all campaigns at these levels.
Although these proposed reforms place a financial and programming obligation on the broadcast media to provide free time, those burdens are comparatively small. If the proposed reforms are adopted for campaigns for president, senate, congress, and state and local offices, an individual broadcast station will be obliged to provide an average of up to fourteen hours of free time to candidates of both parties once every four years during presidential elections and another nine hours during the off-year congressional and state elections.11 This amounts to a total of twenty-three hours of time over a four year period-under six hours a year, or 0.0008 of the average broadcaster's time.12
In a presidential election year, assuming that the fourteen hours of time is allocated during the sixty days before the general election, each station would be required to make available an average of about fourteen minutes of time per day for all candidates and ballot measures. In an off year, it would make available about nine minutes a day.
Stations pay the government relatively little for the right to operate on scarce public spectrum space. By comparison, anyone cutting timber or drilling for oil on publicly owned lands pays a significant fee based on the value of that right. To preserve and enhance electoral democracy in this country, and to compensate the public for broadcaster use of valuable spectrum, broadcasters should be asked to do no less.
1. For a good overview of the Fairness Doctrine, what it required, and why it was repealed, see Anthony Corrado's paper, "The Public Interest and Digital Broadcasting: Options for Political Programming," in this volume.
2. If a candidate of a party (e.g., Republican Party) gets over 20% of the vote in the last Presidential election, than a candidate for that party is deemed a major party candidate in the next election.
3. Applying this rule to television networks rather than individual stations would not suffice, because the programming would not reach many independent stations in the United States. Applying the rule to cable television networks rather than individual cable systems, however, should suffice, since few cable systems provide independent programming.
4. In Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969), for example, the Supreme Court held that broadcasters can be compelled to share a portion of their channel space with other users if that sharing serves a broader "public interest." See CBS v. FCC, 483 U.S. 367 (1981). Miami Herald v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 (1973), applied to newspapers and rested substantially upon the "chilling effect" of a rebuttal requirement, which is absent under this proposal. Conceptually, the broadcaster would be viewed as having been licensed to control the entire broadcast day except for a few hours every four years which would be withheld for public use. (See my Government-Created Scarcity: Thinking About Broadcast Regulation and the First Amendment, in this volume.)
5. In addition, a number of improvements should be considered. These improvements should include raising the expenditure ceilings by 25 percent; lowering postal rates for candidates; eliminating "soft money" loopholes; eliminating "bundling" by PACs and other organizations; imposing aggregate contribution limits on all PAC contributions (e.g., PAC contributions could account for no more than 20 percent of candidates' total contributions); limiting spending by wealthy candidates; and restraining independent spending by corporate and labor PACs. The last two measures would require a modification of the Supreme Court's overly restrictive doctrines in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
6. Thus, an individual contributor could give a presidential primary candidate a normal contribution of up to $1,000, all of which would go directly to the candidate. If the contributor chose to exercise his or her option to give a candidate a special contribution of, say, $5,000, the money would be apportioned as follows: The first $1,000 would go directly to the candidate, as before. Of the remaining $4,000, 50 percent ($2,000) would also go to the candidate; the other 50 percent would be placed in a fund to be divided equally between the candidates to finance their contest ($1,000 each). In effect, therefore, a $5,000 individual contribution would net the direct recipient $4,000 and his or her opponent $1,000.
7. Contributors not wishing to give any of their money to opposing candidates would have to keep their contributions under the standard $1,000 limit. Contributors wishing to give their candidates more money under the special higher contribution limit would be deemed voluntarily to have consented to have a portion of their contribution dedicated to a "debate fund" to make possible a dialogue between the candidates.
8. Between 1900 and 1980, the average number of initiatives reaching the ballot in all the states remained roughly constant. In the 1980s, this number jumped 400 percent. In many states, with California still in the lead, major state environmental, fiscal, and governmental policies are increasingly resolved at the ballot box and not in state legislatures. The growth of the Internet can be expected to accelerate this trend, allowing voters to circulate, qualify, debate, and ultimately vote upon these measures from their homes or offices via computers and modems.
9. In California's twenty highest spending recent ballot initiative campaigns, two-thirds of all the money raised came in contributions of $100,000 or more, and one-third of all the money raised came in contributions of $1 million or more.
10. During the 1988 California Proposition 99 campaign for increased cigarette taxes, for example, the cigarette industry contributed $18 million for the "No" side, while anti-smoking forces raised less than $2 million for the "Yes" side.
11. This twenty-three hour total includes fourteen hours every four years plus an additional nine hours during off-year elections: a total of five hours of time for two presidential candidates; a total average of four hours for senatorial and congressional candidates (two hours for each national party); four hours for state and local candidates (two hours for each state party); and perhaps up to one hour for ballot measure rebuttals under the Fairness Doctrine. In addition, the national and state political parties would receive up to eight hours for off-year elections and, presumably, stations in some states might also incur one additional hour of Fairness Doctrine rebuttal time for off-year ballot measure campaigns.
12. This assumes the average broadcast station is on the air 20 hours a day, 365 days a year.