Post-Election Ads not Subject to Lowest Unit Rate

As we move into the post-election season, a question has arisen regarding political advertisements aired as part of a recount process. The FCC has determined that lowest unit rate rules do not apply to these advertisements:

“The Media Bureau herein provides guidance as to whether broadcast radio and television stations are obligated to provide the lowest unit charge for post-election political advertising by or on behalf of contenders in races for which final results of the election remain pending. Section 315(b)(1)(A) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, bestows upon individuals running for public office an entitlement to the lowest unit charge for political advertising in the days preceding an election.

Specifically, the statute establishes a window “during the sixty days preceding the date of a general … election” when the lowest unit charge is available to a candidate.  Although the term “election” is not defined in Section 315, we interpret this term for purposes of the 2020 election to mean November 3, 2020, the election date designated by federal law.”

Importantly, the lowest unit rate rules applies still apply to run off elections.  This is because run-offs are elections.

To see the FCC’s decision click HERE.


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