Skip to comments.FCC pulls council candidate off the air
Posted on 10/24/2005 1:44:52 PM PDT by Niteranger68
KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. For the past 10 months, Kings Mountain City Council member Jerry Mullinax has spent his evenings on the air waves hosting a gospel music show on WKMT, a local AM radio station.
Now that Mullinax is running for re-election against Tommy Hawkins, the station decided to pull his show off the air.
Tommy was thinking that I was getting too much support through the station, he said. Never did I mention my candidacy, never.
Even if there is no campaigning going on, the Federal Communications Commission requires that candidates get equal air time.
Of course (Hawkins) is saying he did not create this, the fact that I left, but who else could have done it? Mullinax asked. He admits to calling the FCC.
Hawkins does admit to calling the FCC, but only as a last resort. He says he tried for 10 weeks to get WKMT to return his phone calls and letters, but when he got no response, he made the call.
I certainly never intended for my opponent to be taken off the air; that was not the issue, he said. The issue was that I just wanted some equal time.
A spokesperson for the radio station says it must follow FCC guidelines and it had no choice but to take the radio show off the air. However, the station does say that Mullinax is welcome back as soon as the election is over.
I am going back to work at WKMT-1220 at 8 oclock at night and just do it for the people, Mullinax said. If we are not victorious in the election, we will be victorious in coming back to work.
Kings Mountain residents say they will be sure to stay tuned in to this City Council race.
Election Day is Nov. 8.
The "Equal Time" Law
47 USC Section 315
(a) If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station: Provided, That such licensee shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast under the provisions of this section. No obligation is imposed under this subsection upon any licensee to allow the use of its station by any such candidate. Appearance by a legally qualified candidate on any--
(1) bona fide newscast,
(2) bona fide news interview,
(3) bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary), or
(4) on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (including but not limited to political conventions and activities incidental thereto),
shall not be deemed to be use of a broadcasting station within the meaning of this subsection. Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from the obligation imposed upon them under this chapter to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.
(b) The charges made for the use of any broadcasting station by any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office in connection with his campaign for nomination for election, or election, to such office shall not exceed--
(1) during the forty-five days preceding the date of a primary or primary runoff election and during the sixty days preceding the date of a general or special election in which such person is a candidate, the lowest unit charge of the station for the same class and amount of time for the same period; and
(2) at any other time, the charges made for comparable use of such station by other users thereof.
(c) For purposes of this section--
(1) the term "broadcasting station" includes a community antenna television system; and
(2) the terms "licensee" and "station licensee" when used with respect to a community antenna television system mean the operator of such system.
(d) Rules and regulations
The Commission shall prescribe appropriate rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.
First Amendment does not apply to broadcast media.
But it would have been amusing if the station had invited the other candidate to have his own gospel music show, and not mention his candidacy on it. I wonder if he would have taken them up on such an offer?
The SC Justices who voted for McCain-Feingold should be required to read this news story every day when they come into the office. And should be required to write a letter to James Madison explaining their decision. And write an essay explaining why a need, no matter how compelling, cannot be a valid justification to give an individual the right to do anything, nor a valid justification to infer that the government has a power it was not explicitly granted in the Constitution.
And McCain must never become President.
A few years ago, actor George Taki (Star Trek's "Sulu") ran for office in his CA city. His opponent filed a complaint with the FCC saying that because Star Trek reruns were always on, they amounted to free air time for Taki and thus fell under the FCC's equal time rules. Taki had to withdraw from the race. The real irony is that none of the original Star Trek cast ever got any money for all the reruns that have poured approximately $2 billion into Paramount's bank account.
Like hell it doesn't. The government just ignores it, that's all.
Since when? Good to see the FCC is busy again. Just another useless government agency not intended by the Framers
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