NAB blasts lawmakers’ push for ad-rate trims

Across-the-board cut would mean more ads, Fritts sez

WASHINGTON — The National Assn. of Broadcasters on Thursday sent a letter to all U.S. senators declaring it would be unconstitutional to tie TV ads to campaign finance reform and force broadcasters to offer politicos a deep slash in rates.

Further, it would be equally as dangerous to force broadcasters to disclose the rates they charge political candidates.

Such provisions have been tacked onto the larger campaign finance reform legislation being considered by the Senate in a marathon session that’s lasted nine days so far.

NAB prexy-CEO Edward Fritts said in his letter broadcasters are in no way responsible for the escalating cost of running for public office. An across-the-board rate cut would mean more ads, not a reduction in the fundraising frenzy that has come to mark American politics.

“Cheaper rates translate into more ads purchased, more political ad clutter and more campaign spending, not less,” Fritts said.

While the Federal Communications Commission requires broadcasters to offer discounted rates, political candidates often will pay more if it means a better timeslot, or not getting preempted.

Senators say most of the money they are forced to raise goes to media buys. They argue that nets and stations should be made to better serve the democratic process, considering that broadcasters use airwaves that belong to the public.

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