Advertising (Political)

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809 - Federal Communications Commission


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. Unresolved complaints may be sent to the following address:

Federal Communications Commission

Enforcement Division, Mass Media Branch

445 12th Street, SW, Room 2-C334

Washington, DC 20554

(888) 225-5322

(202) 418-1440

(888) 835-5322 TTY

ASL Videophone: (866)432-2275

The FCC requires the following information on complaints:

  • 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. The FCC will accept an audio or video tape or transcript of the advertisement (if available).

Consumers should include their name and address if they would like information on the final disposition of the complaint.

The FCC prefers complaints submitted in writing. Phone complaints will be accepted if the issue involves public 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.

See Also:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)