State of California California Department of Consumer Affairs

Advertising (Political)

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), carries out enforcement of the Federal Communications Act, requiring that a mass media station that sells air time to one candidate must provide equal time to other major candidates for that same office. The station must keep strict records of candidate requests for air time.

Equal air time: excludes appearances by a legally qualified candidate on a bona fide newscast or in on-the-spot news coverage. Censorship of political candidates by broadcasters or the public is prohibited.

Issues can be resolved with stations at the local level. If your concerns are not resolved, you may mail, fax, or e-mail a complaint about a radio or TV station to the following address:

Federal Communications Commission
Enforcement Division, Mass Media Branch
445 12th Street, SW, Room 2-C334
Washington, DC 20554
(202) 418-1440
(202) 418-0232 (fax)
(888) 225-5322 (toll-free FCC telephone number)
e-mail complaints to

The FCC encourages that you include the following information in your complaint:

  • The call letters of the station (example: kcra [channel 3], kovr [channel 13], knci [105.1 fm]);
  • The city and state where the station is located;
  • The name, time and date of the specific program or advertisement in question, if applicable;
  • The name of anyone contacted at the station, if applicable; and
  • A statement of the problem, as specific as possible. Send an audio or video tape or transcript of the advertisement (if possible).

Include your name and address if you would like information on the final disposition of your complaint; however, you may request confidentiality.

The FCC prefers that complaints be submitted in writing, although you may submit complaints that are time-sensitive by telephone, especially if they involve safety. The FCC can only act on allegations that a station has violated a provision of the Communications Act or the FCC's rules or policies.

Publications Available: None are offered by the Consumer Information Center.

See Also: "Federal Trade Commission"

Other Referrals: None

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