Political Broadcasting

FCC Political Advertising and Broadcast Rules

2022 Election Season Schedule

The recent NY State Court of Appeals decision (4-3) has thrown some primary elections into a bit of turmoil. The Court struck down the redistricting maps for U.S. Members of Congress. Congressional districts in New York will now be determined by a court-appointed “Special Master.” In addition, the NY State Senate District maps were rejected.

Accordingly, the Court ordered Congressional and State Senate primary elections to be moved from Tuesday, June 28 to Tuesday, August 23, 2022. At this time, June 28th primary elections for U.S. Senate, Statewide offices, (including the Governor) the State Assembly, Judicial Delegates and Alternates, and any local offices will remain the same.

The lowest unit charge period begins 45 days prior to a primary election and 60 days prior to a general election. The primary and general election dates and the date for the beginning of the lowest unit rate period can be found below. (Click on the Federal/State and Local Primary or General Election button)

This issue is still in court and the NY legislature may act to move all primaries to August. Until there is further action, the above dates are the legal dates for the primary and general elections.

Additional information regarding New York State and Federal elections can be found on the NY Board of Elections website. To access the website, click HERE.

Election Date:

Lowest Unit Rate Period Begins:

Political Rules Webcasts

The FCC’s political rules are complex. The following webcasts will explain not only the basics but some of the more complex questions that may arise during a campaign.

FCC Political Rules - November 18, 2021

Updated webinar on FCC Political Rules - Click HERE

Political File Compliance Webinar - August 19, 2020

The FCC has increased its enforcement of the political file rules. The FCC’s political team of Robert Baker, Gary Schonman and Sima Nilsson discuss all the FCC’s political file requirements in detail. Former NAB General Counsel and political broadcasting expert Jack Goodman hosted, asking all the right legal questions.

For a summary of the webinar click HERE.

To see the slide deck click HERE.

To view the webinar click HERE, use the password   %W?6.xrV

Political Broadcast Rules Webinar - January 18, 2018

On January 18, 2018, we hosted a Webinar in association with the Colorado Broadcasters Association for member station.  We are now providing stations with access to that webinar updating the FCC’s Political Broadcasting Rules. The webinar featured attorneys from the noted law firm of Fletcher Heald and FCC Attorney Bobby Baker, who is the Commission’s leading expert in this area.

Topics covered include:

  • Lowest unit rate calculation for various classes of time and day parts.
  • Equal Opportunities (sometimes called equal time) requirements and what programs are “exempt”?
  • Are political ads streamed on the internet affected?
  • When can broadcasters edit or turn down political ads?
  • How to handle “issue” ads from PACs, an expected big revenue source in 2018?
  • What political file recordkeeping is needed to avoid complaints and fines?
  • What are the requirements for uploading of political files to the FCC’s “publicly” available website?
  • How can uploading of a political file potentially hurt a station?

To access the archived webinar click HERE.

February 9, 2012 Archived Webcast

While this webcast covers a previous election cycle, the basic information is applicable today.

Political Broadcasting Primer

Our friends at Pillsbury Winthrop, Shaw Pittman LLP have produced an excellent primer on the FCC’s political rules. The primer summarizes all the rules you need to know for this political season. To see a copy of the new primer click HERE.

NAB Political Agreement Forms