FCC nixes Arnold rival

Commission says no to Angelides

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission rules do not require 11 California TV stations to give Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides equal time just because they all recently aired an episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” that featured Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a guest.

After the governator’s Oct. 11 appearance, the Angelides campaign asked the FCC to enforce an agency rule requiring equal air time for candidates for the same office.

But in a decision issued late Thursday, the FCC denied the campaign’s request, saying the show is exempt from the rule. “Appearances by legally qualified candidates on certain categories of bona fide news programming, including bona fide news interviews, are exempt from equal opportunities,” FCC said.

Angelides reps argued that “Tonight” is an entertainment program and thus shouldn’t qualify for exemption; agency said that over the last 20 years it has broadened its view of what constitutes bona fide news interviews.

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