State Employee Grant Program

“…in the public interest 2001, broadcasters

bringing candidates & voters together”

 

I.  Executive Summary
II.  The Research
III. Bringing Candidates and Voters Together

 

I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 2000 elections produced some of the most hotly contested, closest, most intriguing campaigns in memory.  Voter turnout near 75% statewide showed that Washington voters were vigorously engaged from campaign kick-off to election night returns.

The local radio and television stations serving Washington’s communities covered the election from the day the first candidates announced their campaigns through the Presidential Primary and the State Primary to the wee hours of General Election night (and beyond).

Washington broadcasters provided time for candidates running for elective offices ranging from President of the United States to Port Commissioner; from Governor to Superior Court Judge; from County Commissioner to United States Senator; from Mayor to United States Representative; from County Prosecutor to Attorney General; from the State Legislature to PUD Commissioner; from Commissioner of Public Lands to State Supreme Court Justice; and from statewide initiatives to school levies.

Candidates representing major parties, minor parties and heretofore-unknown parties appeared, as did partisans for and against statewide initiatives and local ballot measures, alike.

Candidates took to the air talking directly to the voters, in their own words, in debates, live interviews, newscast coverage, taped responses to citizen and reporter questions, and open line voter call-in programs.  Many stations added links to their station web sites to further assist voters in gathering additional information about candidates and the election.

And that’s only part of the picture.  Local broadcasters also brought the resources of the national networks to their listeners and viewers by providing them with information and programming delivered through their affiliation with NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, and the Associated Press.

All of the airtime for the appearances described in this report were provided to the candidates free of charge.  Free time, freely given, a part of each station’s obligation to serve the public interest of its community.

In every manner, way, shape and form, local broadcasters in Washington went above and beyond the call of duty during the 2000 election cycle, serving the interests of their community, bringing voters and candidates together.

What follows is a description of typical programs on radio and television stations throughout Washington that WSAB discovered in its sampling of stations’ efforts to serve the public interest in the critical area of civic education.  Some samples are from big market TV and radio stations, other examples highlight the kinds of efforts that are found at small market radio and television stations.  Our compilation is by no means complete.  Time and space in our report prevent an exhaustive accounting.

II.  THE RESEARCH

When the 2000 election cycle began, WSAB asked selected stations to keep track of the free, on-air appearances by candidates for public office.  In compiling this information, we asked the stations to exclude all paid advertising, either by the candidate’s campaign committee or independent expenditures that addressed a candidate or issues related to a candidate.  Using this methodology, WSAB was able to focus on the appearances by the candidates in which they were able to direct information about the campaign directly to voters, or the voters were able to interact directly with the candidates, without the positioning and filtering of a paid advertising campaign.

III.  BRINGING CANDIDATES AND VOTERS TOGETHER

Debates

In a debate, not only can voters discover the positions of the candidates on issues that are important to them, but they get a glimpse of how each candidate reacts under pressure.  Washington TV and radio stations broadcast debates between candidates for offices from President of the United States to Mayor of Spokane.

Presidential Debates.  Debates or baseball?  Gore vs. Bush or Mariners vs. Yankees?  Viewers did not have to make that choice.  KING-TV in Seattle served Western Washington communities by broadcasting both.  When NBC gave its affiliates the ability to carry either a presidential debate or baseball, KING was able to broadcast them both live.  The debate was broadcast live, as it happened, on KING-TV’s sister station, KONG-TV, throughout Western Washington.  Thanks to a recent change in local TV ownership limits, Belo Broadcasting’s “duopoly” ownership of KING-TV/KONG-TV enabled the stations to provide the voters of Western Washington with this public service and still permit Mariners fans to see the crucial game with the Yankees. 

The Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates were also broadcast by all of the ABC and CBS stations in the Spokane, Seattle and Yakima/Tri-Cities markets, in addition to full, live coverage by half-a-dozen or more cable channels.  We often place undue emphasis on live, as-it-happens coverage of an event, such as a debate, forgetting that some viewers cannot be near a TV set at the appointed time, and once the live broadcast is gone, it’s gone for good.  While the rest of the Spokane market was saturated with live coverage of the debate, KHQ-TV, Spokane, kept its commitment to serve the public that either was not able to see the debate live, or was less interested in the debate than the Mariners’ game.  KHQ-TV provided a taped replay of the debate immediately following the baseball playoff game.  It should be noted that nearly every station manager agreed, that if it had been any team other than the Mariners playing in the conflicting ballgame, they all would have chosen to broadcast the debate.

Gubernatorial Debates.  Democrat Gary Locke and Republican John Carlson engaged in several lively debates that were shown throughout Washington by several cooperating stations.  KIRO-TV, Seattle, hosted an in-studio debate moderated by KIRO News Anchor Steve Raible.  On October 23rd, the gubernatorial candidates debated again, this time on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane.  This debate, moderated by KING-TV News Anchor Jean Enerson, was carried in Eastern and Western Washington by Belo Corporation stations KREM-TV, Spokane and KING-TV, Seattle.

Senatorial Debates.  On October 30th KING-TV broadcast the debate it organized and hosted between incumbent Republican U. S. Senator Slade Gorton and his Democratic opponent Maria Cantwell.  The debate was broadcast across the state from 7 to 8 p.m. and was moderated by KING-TV News Anchor Margaret Larson.  KING-TV also produced and broadcast a debate between Deborah Senn and Maria Cantwell prior to the Democratic Primary Election in the U. S. Senate race.  That debate was carried throughout Eastern Washington by KING-TV’s sister station, KREM-TV in Spokane.

Congressional Debates.  KIMA-TV in Yakima and sister station KEPR-TV in the Tri-Cities offered Fourth Congressional District candidates Jim Davis and Doc Hastings one hour (7-8 p.m.) for a live debate.  Unfortunately, Congressman Hastings was unable to participate, due to the length of the congressional session.

Local Debates.  KAYU-TV, Spokane, produced a debate between John Talbot and John Powers, the candidates for Mayor of Spokane.  The one-hour debate was broadcast just four days before the election and allowed the candidates to address their issues to the audience for a full hour.

Special Programs

Many stations put together a package of opportunities for candidates to appear in their own words, unfiltered by advertising techniques, newscast time constraints, debate rules, or other limiting factors.  Just the candidate, pure and simple.

 “It’s Your Time.”  KING-TV, Seattle, offered every Democratic and Republican candidate for Congress, the U. S. Senate and Governor the opportunity to prepare a one-minute taped segment that was broadcast after the Noon or 6:30 p.m. newscast.  In addition, the candidates were able to expand their statements to up to four minutes, which were broadcast as a one-hour special from Noon to 1 p. m on Sunday, November 5th, two days before the election.

“Straight Talk.”  Fisher Broadcasting’s 26 radio stations and 10 of its television stations featured a special program segment called “Straight Talk,” a public service begun in 1996, for political candidates to address voters during local newscasts in the six weeks leading up to the election.  Fisher television stations provided each candidate with three minutes in prime time news programming.  The candidates were required to appear alone and refrain from negative campaigning.  KOMO-TV, Seattle, broadcast “Straight Talk” segments by the candidates for Insurance Commissioner; 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th Congressional District candidates; candidates for U. S. Senator and Governor.  Fisher’s KPLZ-FM, Star 101.5, Seattle, broadcast “Straight Talk” segments in the Governor’s race; candidates for Congressional Districts 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9; and, U. S. Senator.

“Straight Talk II.”  Fisher Broadcasting’s Yakima TV station, KIMA, covered Central Washington candidates for Congress from the 4th District; the U. S. Senate; Governor; the state legislature in the 13th, 14th, and 15th District; and, even two positions for Yakima County Commissioner, in their “Straight Talk” segments.  Each set of candidates split a five-minute segment evenly.  These messages were broadcast at the end of the station’s newscasts.  The segments were provided free of charge and were produced at the station if the candidate needed that kind of assistance.  In the Tri-Cities, the “Straight Talk” segments on Fisher’s KEPR-TV focused on the campaigns of most interest in the Columbia Basin, particularly the hotly contested race between incumbent State Senator Valoria Loveland (D) and challenger Mike Hewitt (R).  In the four days prior to the election, KEPR-TV broadcast “Straight Talk” segments featuring candidates for the 4th Congressional District, United States Senate and Governor, in addition to the Loveland/Hewitt race.

“Let’s Talk About It.”  Without local radio’s dedication to bringing candidates and voters together, the only alternative for candidates to get their messages out in many communities is the Letters to the Editor column in the local newspaper.  KELA-AM in Centralia dedicated its morning discussion program to candidates for Lewis County Commissioner, District #1 on October 20th, and District #2 on October 23rd.  Each candidate was given 15 minutes in prime morning drive time.  The candidates fielded questions from listeners and the show’s moderator about their positions on issues affecting Lewis County residents.  To ensure that listeners who missed the first broadcast would have an opportunity to hear what the candidates had to say, sister station KMNT-FM rebroadcast the programs later in the week.

Holding the Candidates Accountable:  “Ad Watch.”  Some stations did in-depth analysis of candidates’ claims and promises.  Many did this in the context of their news coverage of specific campaign appearances.  KING-TV, Seattle, News Reporter Robert Mak produced and hosted a special feature, called “Ad Watch” designed to provide viewers with facts that could help them sort through the claims made by in selected political ads aired prior to the General Election.  These special reports were broadcast during the station’s 5 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts and examined such ads as State Senator Dan McDonald’s attack on Congressman Jay Inslee’s vote on taxes and Inslee’s attack on McDonald’s relationship with special interest groups.  KING-TV examined a total of eight different ads in the weeks leading up to the election.

Newscasts

More people rely on radio and TV stations as their major source of news and information than any other medium.  It would be hard to find a station that did not cover the candidates, their positions and campaigns in their newscasts.  For instance, in the six weeks between the primary and general elections, KIMA-TV, Yakima, carried 185 news reports about candidates and ballot issues.  KEPR-TV, Tri-Cities, carried 184 reports during that same period.  Some station preferred to cover news stories more in-depth, such as KAYU-TV, Spokane, which conducted one-minute interviews with the partisans for and against several statewide initiatives and broadcast the responses during the station’s 10 o’clock news.  Even music intensive stations delivering country and western, oldies, rock, or the myriad other music forms available today, include campaign coverage in their regular newscasts.  Here’s how some other Washington broadcasters used their prime news vehicle, the regularly scheduled newscast, to inform voters.

Use the News to Focus the Listeners.  KXRO, Aberdeen, devoted a segment on its Noon newscast, “Grays Harbor at Noon” to candidate profiles.  Dennis Morrisette and John Erak, candidates for Grays Harbor County Commissioner, District 2, were featured in extensive profiles lasting four minutes.  PUD Commission candidates Tom Casey and John Sharp faced off, via taped interviews, for 5 minutes apiece on KXRO’s major newscast of the day.  The station featured profiles of other candidates, as well as local ballot issues, such as the City of Aberdeen’s fire bond issue, throughout the campaign season.

Campaign Stops Draw Attention.  Campaign stops by national and statewide candidates draw extensive coverage from all local news stations.  Vice Presidential candidate, Joe Lieberman’s October 10th campaign stop in Seattle resulted in dozens of stories, soundbites and interviews on newscasts on all of Seattle’s television stations.  KOMO News Talk 1000 covered the Lieberman visit with stories throughout the day.  Governor Locke’s reelection campaign stop in Aberdeen generated several two-minute reports that ran in all of KXRO-AM’s newscasts that day.  The visit of Democratic candidates Maria Cantwell (U.S. Senate) and Jim Davis (4th Congressional District) to the Tri-Cities gave broadcasters a big story to cover.  KVEW-TV devoted substantial time to the campaign stop on both its early evening “Newshour” and late night “Nitecast” news broadcasts.  Sometimes, even the appearance of a member of the candidate’s family gets attention.  KAPP-TV provided several minutes of coverage of George P. Bush’s campaign trip to Yakima on July 14th in its 5 o’clock news hour, when he stopped in Central Washington to discuss issues relevant to the local Hispanic population.

Make It Available When They Want It.  KLKI, Anacortes, serves not only the Skagit Valley, but the San Juan Islands, as well.  The station used its newscasts throughout the day and night make sure that candidates messages were heard.  Even if a listener missed a comment by Kelly Barlean, John McCoy, Hugh Fleet or Barry Sehlin, candidates for the two seats in the State House of Representatives from the 10th Legislative District, KLKI repeated the stories and the candidates’ taped comments and answers to questions in the station’s 6:30 a.m., 8:00 a.m. and 5 o’clock or 5:30 p.m. newscasts the next day.  In that way, candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Skagit County Commissioner, Secretary of State, the U. S. House of Representatives, State Senator, County Treasurer and many other offices could be assured that the voters would hear what they had to say.

Not Just Soundbites.  Stations cover campaign stories in more depth than they are given credit for.  KAYU-TV in Spokane regularly spent two minutes or more covering a single candidate in a newscast.  Typical of these stories is the coverage of 5th Congressional District candidate Tom Keefe on September 22nd which lasted two minutes and ten seconds; the coverage of the Spokane mayors race on October 18th that ran one minute and fifty seconds; and, a two minute ten second story on the U. S. Senate candidates in the KAYU-TV newscast that was broadcast on September 27th.

Here’s Who’s Coming to Town.  Often, stories in newscasts about upcoming local campaign visits by candidates might seem to be little more than promotional announcements for a candidate’s appearance.  But those news stories, heralding the upcoming appearance of a candidate, serve to notify the listeners and viewers of yet another way in which they can inform themselves and make better election decisions.

Talk Radio

Love it or hate it, say what you want about it, talk radio is the public’s soapbox.  It allows everyone to express his or her opinion, sometimes at their own peril.  It also delivers political candidates directly to the voters in a way that no other medium, no other forum can.

Candidates and Voters, One on One.  On November 2nd, Doug Sutherland, candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands, and his opponent Mike Lowry held a one-hour debate on KONP-AM, Port Angeles, during which the candidates took calls from listeners and were interviewed by host Todd Ortloff.  Sutherland also spent 30 minutes in prime morning drive time on KVI-AM, Seattle, answering questions from callers about what he would do as Commissioner of Public Lands.  KGA in Spokane provided listeners with both in-studio and telephone interviews with John Carlson and Gary Locke, candidates for Governor.  Ezola Foster, Reform Party Candidate for Vice-President spent 15 minutes in afternoon drive time on KVI-AM, Seattle, discussing the Reform Party, its goals, race relations and welfare.

Local Radio, Live from the National Conventions.  During the week of the Democratic National Convention, listeners to KVI-AM, Seattle, heard from, and had the chance to ask their own questions of Congressmen Jay Inslee, Adam Smith, Jim McDermott; State Democratic Chair Paul Berendt; Attorney General Christine Gregoire and Co-Speaker of the State House of Representatives Frank Chopp of Seattle.  During the week of the Republican National Convention, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Spokane Congressman George Nethercutt shared their experiences, expertise and insight with local listeners.

Listeners Take Their Best “Spot.”  The day before the election it was time to turn the tables on the candidates and the voters.  Ernie Brown gave callers to his show on KOMO News Talk 1000 in Seattle thirty-seconds to do their own “campaign spot” to get everyone prepared for election day.  In the hour between 4 and 5 p.m. Ernie’s listeners covered a multitude of issues and candidates.

All Sides; All Candidates.  Talk radio gets everyone involved.  Typical of talk stations, listeners and callers to KVI, Seattle, spent 20 minutes hearing from and talking with State Senator Harold Hochstatter who was running for the Republican nomination for Governor, after having had his opponent, John Carlson on the air a week earlier.  KVI also opened up the issues on Initiative 745 to public scrutiny by spending 45 minutes with Tim Eyman (pro) and The Alliance for Public Transportation (con) of that controversial issue, on two consecutive days.

Small Market Radio Brings Campaigns Home

Radio stations in smaller communities were highly active in bringing candidates and issues into their listeners’ lives.  More than any other business, small market radio stations are a basic part of the fabric of the community.

Olympic Peninsula. State Representative Lynn Kessler and her opponent Teri Schwiethale squared off for an hour on KONP, Port Angeles.  The free-form debate included question from listeners and interviews on issues in the 24th Legislative District House of Representatives race.  KONP also featured State Representative Jim Buck and opponent Pat Slaten in a similar hour-long program.  And County Commissioner candidates Mike Chapman and Carole Boardman took to the airwaves in another of the one-hour shows.  Initiative creator Tim Eyman got two shots on the air at KONP, debating opponents of his Initiative 745 n October 11th and the opponents of Initiative 722 on October 31st.

Northcentral Washington.  KOMW, Omak, has been serving the Okanogan Valley since 1947, This local broadcaster has served the public interest of its community by providing thousands of candidates, running for hundreds of offices, the opportunity to reach their constituencies for the past 53 years, not only with advertising, but with generous amounts of free airtime.  Election year 2000 was no different.  U. S. Senator Slade Gorton; Gubernatorial candidate Harold Hochstatter; Ron Perrow, Fred Hanke, Jim Doran, Doug Adams, Craig Vejraska and Dave Shulz, candidates for Okanogan County Commissioner; congressional candidate Jim Davis; and, Polly Johnson, candidate for Okanogan County PUD Commissioner; were among the many candidates who took advantage of the opportunity to appear for a full half-hour each, during KOMW’s prime morning drive time open line call-in program.  The station also devoted several half-hours of the same program informing listeners about Omak and Okanogan school levy ballot issues.

Columbia Basin.  Local radio played a critical role in bringing the major debates to Washington voters who could not be at their TV sets to watch.  KONA-AM/FM, Tri-Cities, provided full coverage of all three Presidential debates and the Vice Presidential debate, as well.  KONA also provided listeners the radio version of a 90-minute debate between 4th District Congressional incumbent Doc Hastings and his Democratic challenger Jim Davis.

Northwest Washington. Between 8 and 9 every weekday morning, Brett & Debbie, on KGMI in Bellingham, spend an hour informing their listeners about interesting and important issues in Northwest Washington.  During the campaign season, KGMI and Brett & Debbie ensured that their listeners would have the knowledge to make informed decisions at the polls.  They focused on the Governor’s race on September 29th, when they spent the hour with candidates Gary Locke and John Carlson.  Brett & Debbie interviewed the candidates and local callers were able to speak to the candidates directly and ask Governor Locke and Mr. Carlson the things that the listeners wanted to know.  KGMI’s Brett & Debbie brought listeners together with all four candidates for the two 42nd Legislative District seats in the State House of Representatives.  KGMI’s signal covers the entire 2nd Congressional District and the station realized the importance of this open seat battle.  On October 26th, just as voters were making up their minds, Brett & Debbie spent the morning’s hour with Democrat Rick Larsen and Republican John Koster, again providing a venue for local voters to talk directly to the candidates.

Convention Coverage

National Conventions.  Technology has made it possible for Washington broadcasters to bring news of our State’s activities at the national political conventions, on a real-time basis.  All of the Seattle network affiliates had their news anchors covering the national political conventions on-site.  Activities of the Washington delegations to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were monitored and reported back to the citizens of the state, with more relevance than ever in the past.

Local Gatherings.  KLKI in Anacortes brought listeners in the Skagit Valley right into the thick of things at the political party gatherings in its communities.  KLKI’s complete coverage of party gatherings, where candidates really put their issues up for scrutiny, brought their listeners in Anacortes important parts of speeches by Democratic candidates Dave Quall, Bob Terwilliger, Terry Bergeson, Tom Sheahan, John Doyle, Rick Larsen, Ken Dahlstad, Harriet Spanel, Mary Margaret Haugen and John McCoy.  On the Republican side, KLKI’s coverage of their Summer meetings put candidates such as Hugh Fleet, Jack Eisses, Jerry Ferrier, Katie Junquist, Mike Wensman, Kelly Barlean, Doug Sutherland, Barry Sehlin, Bob Hart and Harvey Wolden into the homes of their listeners.

Expanding the Reach of Broadcasters’ Efforts

Web Sites.  The Internet has become the research engine for political issues in America.  Broadcasters have embraced this new tool as another way to serve the public interest of their communities.

Streaming.  Stations all across Washington are streaming their signals on the Internet.  Just click and listen.  During the campaign season, coverage is now available in both audio and video files streaming live, and in some cases, archived for later review from many radio and TV stations in Washington.

Links.  The Internet has also allowed stations to provide listeners and viewers with direct links to candidate web sites, voter information, government sites regarding elections, voter registration and election returns.  During their newscasts or other campaign related programming, radio and television stations in small communities and large markets throughout Washington encourage citizens avail themselves of this outstanding opportunity.  The stations’ web sites are filled with these links during campaign season, expanding the stations’ coverage of campaigns with a level of detail that reporters cannot include, and viewers do not want, in a regular newscast report.  However, viewers can regularly log onto stations’ web sites and take links when they have more time to investigate these issues on their own, or when they want a specific piece of information about a candidate or a candidate’s position on an issue.

The Networks.  Local broadcasters bring the experience, insight and resources of the national broadcast networks into our living rooms.  No local station can match the on-going resources for coverage that the networks have.  But by bringing network reporting to local audiences, hometown broadcasters are delivering in yet another way on their commitment to serve the pubic interest.

Television. Both the major party Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, and some minor party candidates, made the rounds (some several times) of the Sunday morning news programs, “Face the Nation,” on CBS; ABC’s “This Week;” and, “Meet the Press” on NBC.  Presidential candidates turned up in the most unexpected places.  During the week of October 30th, both Governor Bush and Vice President Gore appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”  “NBC Nightly News” offered both Governor Bush and Vice President Gore two minutes nightly to answer questions posed by anchor Tom Brokaw.  Governor Bush declined; Vice President Gore accepted.

Radio.  The “networks” are not just on TV anymore.  Radio networks give local exposure to the national coverage of campaigns and interviews with national candidates, and open the door for local Washington listeners to ask questions of national political figures.  National network radio programs, aired on local stations in Washington State, provide Washington citizens the opportunity to participate in the national political scene to an unprecedented degree.  Imagine a local listener in Wenatchee or Longview being able to talk directly to a presidential candidate and ask that candidate the one question that will decide for whom that listener will cast his or her vote.  Imagine how valuable it is to a candidate to be able to get that kind of direct, grass roots feedback, instantly.  Local broadcasters make that possible.

Cable News Channels.  Belo Broadcasting’s Northwest Cable News channel, carried throughout Washington, Idaho and Oregon, extends the reach of Belo’s Seattle and Spokane stations, and allows its news organization to present more in-depth coverage of campaign issues and events.  Viewers throughout the region benefit from the resource sharing between Northwest Cable News and Belo’s free, over-the-air stations.  In addition, Northwest Cable News carried the debates broadcast by the Belo TV stations, either live or on a tape delay basis, offering Northwest viewers additional opportunities to hear candidates’ views on issues.  Cross-promotion of these repeat showings ensured that viewers did not miss out on an important campaign replay.

Get Out The Vote.  Washington radio and TV stations in virtually every community take on the task of getting out the vote.  In responding to earlier surveys, broadcasters indicate that they work with local organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, to mount organized campaigns to increase voter registration and turnout.  In addition, stations constantly remind voters in the days leading up to the election to be sure to vote.  The reminders are nearly constant during Election Day.  Every time a station reports on projected voter turnout, listeners and viewers are reminded of the time remaining for the polls to be open and are urged to cast their ballot.  Many stations also work with community groups to publicize ways for people to get to the polls if they need help.

Secretary of State Legal Notice Advertising Program.  Nearly every commercial radio station in Washington was a participant in the 2000 Washington Secretary of State Legal Notice Advertising Program.  In the clatter and din of candidate and initiative campaigns, some lesser-known, but vitally important issues might be overlooked, except for Washington broadcasters’ commitment to serve the public interest through their participation in the Legal Notice Ad Program.  Although the Secretary of State can afford to buy only a small amount of commercial ad time to publicize proposed amendments to the State Constitution, Washington radio stations are committed to running additional spots, at no charge, to increase awareness of these critical measures.  The announcements also remind citizens about the Voters Pamphlet; what a valuable tool it is; and, to be sure to study it carefully and thoroughly before voting.

Lose A Little On Each Sale; Make It Up In Volume.  Candidates, their committees and their supporters spent a record amount of money on paid advertising during the 2000 election cycle.  There were more contested races, even for the Washington State Supreme Court.  There were more candidates, as the Libertarians fielded candidates in every Washington congressional race, and several minor party candidates qualified for the November ballot in many races.  The campaign season was the longest in memory, if not history.

But, despite the eye-popping number of dollars spent on political campaigns, if anybody got rich off of candidate spending, it certainly was not radio and television stations.  Free, over-the-air broadcasters must sell every candidate spot at the station’s “lowest unit charge.”  Even without demand for airtime from political campaigns, most stations would be “sold out” selling spots to their regular advertisers, at much higher rates.  So, every time a candidate’s spot is broadcast, a spot for which the station receives only a fraction of the revenue is replacing a much costlier, regular advertiser’s spot.  Contrasted with a comparable period with no candidate advertising, the stations are losing significant revenue.  Independent expenditure spots are sold at the same, or higher, rates as regular advertisers, so the stations make up on independent expenditure spots much of what they lose on candidate spots.

The Candidates

From WSAB’s sampling of stations throughout Washington, here is an illustrative list of the candidates who’s election campaigns were provided with free time during the 2000 campaign.

Doug Adams, Okanogan County Commissioner

Bruce Ager, State Representative

John Ahern, 5th Legislative District

Nancy Aldrich, Benton County Commissioner

Coleena Alexander, Benton County Commissioner

Aaron Anderson, 13th Legislative District

Ted Anderson, Skagit County Commissioner

Brian Baird, 3rd Congressional District

Kelly Barlean, 10th Legislative District

Heidi Behrens-Benedict, 8th Congressional District

Terry Bergeson, Superintendent of Public Instruction

David Black, Kittitas County Commissioner

Carole Boardman, Clallam County Commissioner

David Bowen, Kittitas County Commissioner

Leo Bowman, Benton County Commissioner

Bill Bradley, President

Walter Braten, 15th Legislative District

Lisa Brown, 3rd Legislative District

Patrick Buchanan, President

Jim Buck, 24th Legislative District

Bill Burke, Spokane County Commissioner

George W. Bush, President

Maria Cantwell, U. S. Senator

John Carlson, Governor

Tom Casey, Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner

Tom Chambers, State Supreme Court

Bruce Chandler, 15th Legislative District

Gary Chandler, 13th Legislative District

Mike Chapman, Clallam County Commissioner

Frank Chopp, 43rd Legislative District

Richard Clear, 5th Congressional District

Jim Clements, 14th Legislative District

Ken Dahlstad, Skagit County Commissioner

Jim Davis, 4th Congressional District

Alex Deccio, 14th Legislative District

Norm Dicks, 6th Congressional District

Jim Doran, Okanogan County Commissioner

John Doyle, Skagit County Commissioner

Jennifer Dunn, 8th Congressional District

Hans Dunshee, 39th Legislative District

Jack Eisses, Skagit County Commissioner

John Erak, Grays Harbor County Commissioner

Doug Erickson, 42nd Legislative District

Jerry Ferrier, 40th Legislative District

Hugh Fleet, 10th Legislative District

Tom Flynn, 5th Congressional District

Ezola Foster, Vice President

Paul Franklin, 14th Legislative District

Ron Gamache, Yakima County Commissioner

Paul George, Yakima County Commissioner

Jack Gerahety, 5th Legislative District

Jeff Gombosky, 3rd Legislative District

Al Gore, President

Slade Gorton, U. S. Senator

Christine Gregoire, Attorney General

Marta Guavara, 42nd Legislative District

Fred Hanke, Okanogan County Commissioner

Jim Hargrove, 24th Legislative District

Bob Hart, Skagit County Commissioner

Mary Margaret Haugen, 10th Legislative District

Doc Hastings, 4th Congressional District

Brian Hatfield, 19th Legislative District

Chuck Haumwriter, Lewis County Commissioner

Mike Hewitt, 16th Legislative District

Bill Hinkle, Kittitas County Commissioner

Harold Hochstatter, Governor

Greg Holmes, 5th Congressional District

Robert Imhoff, 42nd Legislative District

Jay Inslee, 1st Congressional District

Jeff Jared, U. S. Senate

Eric Johnson, Lewis County Commissioner

Polly Johnson, Okanogan County PUD Commissioner

Katie Jungquist, Skagit County Treasurer

John Kallas, 4th Legislative District

Tom Keefe, 5th Congressional District

Lynn Kessler, 24th Legislative District

Alan Keyes, President

John Koster, 2nd Congressional District

Mike Kreidler, Insurance Commissioner

Robert Kroboth, Mayor of Spokane

Rick Larsen, 2nd Congressional District

Bob Lawrence, 6th Congressional District

Drew Lesofsky, 3rd Legislative District

Jim Lewis, Yakima County Commissioner

Joseph Lieberman, Vice President

Kelli Linville, 42nd Legislative District

Barb Lisk, 15th Legislative District

Ed Lisowski, 14th Legislative District

Gary Locke, Governor

Valoria Loveland, 16th Legislative District

Mike Lowry, Public Lands Commissioner

Jeanne Massingham, Lewis County Commissioner

Trent Matson, 3rd Congressional District

John McCain, President

Kate McCaslin, Spokane County Commissioner

Jim McDermott, 7th Congressional District

Dan McDonald, 1st Congressional District

John McCoy, 10th Legislative District

Wiley Mills, Yakima County Commissioner

Dan Monks, Skagit County Commissioner

Jeff Morris, 40th Legislative District

Dennis Morrisette, Grays Harbor County Commissioner

Jim R. Morrison, 14th Legislative District

Joyce Mulliken, 13th Legislative District

Ralph Nader, President

George Nethercutt, 5th Congressional District

Darcie Nielsen, San Juan County Commissioner

Claudia Oliver, Benton County Commissioner

Michael Parks, 3rd Legislative District

Michael Pearson, 13th Legislative District

Ron Perrow, Okanogan County Commissioner

Richard Pope, Attorney General

John Powers, Mayor of Spokane

Dave Quall, 40th Legislative District

Sylvia Riddle, Spokane County Commissioner

John Roskelley, Spokane County Commissioner

Carl Saunderman, Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge

Lynn Schliner, 4th Legislative District

Teri Schweithale 24th Legislative District

Barry Sehlin, 10th Legislative District

Deborah Senn, U. S. Senate

John Sharp, Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner

Tom Sheahan, Skagit County Commissioner

Richard Shepard, Attorney General

Dave Shulz, Okanogan County Commissioner

Tom Silva, Yakima County Commissioner

Mary Skinner, 14th Legislative District

Pate Slaten, 24th Legislative District

Adam Smith, 9th Congressional District

Norma Smith, 10th Legislative District

Sid Snyder, 19th Legislative District

Harriet Spanel, 40th Legislative District

Stan Stave, Benton County Commissioner

Jeff Sullivan, State Supreme Court

Doug Sutherland, Public Lands Commissioner

Robert Swisher, Benton-Franklin County Commissioner

Joe Szwaja, 7th Congressional District

John Talbott, Mayor of Spokane

Bob Terwilliger, Secretary of State

John Thompson, Yakima County Commissioner

Chris Vance, 9th Congressional District

Henry Vanderwood, 14th Legislative District

Bonnie Varner, 6th Legislative District

Tom Verge, Skagit County Commissioner

Chris Vejraska, Okanogan County Commissioner

Tom Walker, Benton County Commissioner

Mike Wensman, Secretary of State

Jim West, Mayor of Spokane

Russ Wigley, Lewis County Commissioner

Harvey Wolden, Skagit County Commissioner

Alex Wood, 3rd Legislative District

William Yallup, 15th Legislative District

The Offices

From WSAB’s sampling of stations throughout Washington, here is an illustrative list of many of the elective offices and campaigns that were covered with free time during the 2000 campaign.

Attorney General

Commissioner Benton County

Commissioner Clallam County

Commissioner Grays Harbor County

Commissioner Kittitas County

Commissioner Lewis County

Commissioner Okanogan County

Commissioner San Juan County

Commissioner Skagit County

Commissioner Spokane County

Commissioner Yakima County

Commissioner Grays Harbor County PUD

Commissioner Okanogan County PUD

Congress 1st District

Congress 2nd District

Congress 3rd District

Congress 4th District

Congress 5th District

Congress 6th District

Congress 7th District

Congress 8th District

Congress 9th District

Finger Print I.D. Funding Ballot Measure

Fire Bond Issue City of Aberdeen

Fluoridation of Water in Spokane Ballot Measure (Pro)

Governor

Harborview Medical Center Funding Ballot Measure

Incorporation of Liberty Lake

Initiative 53, City of Seattle Monorail (Pro)

Initiative 713 (Con)

Initiative 722 (Pro)

Initiative 722 (Con)

Initiative 728 (Pro)

Initiative 745 (Pro)

Initiative 745 (Con)

Insurance Commissioner

Legislature 3rd District

Legislature 4th District

Legislature 5th District

Legislature 6th District

Legislature 10th District

Legislature 13th District

Legislature 14th District

Legislature 15th District

Legislature 16th District

Legislature 19th District

Legislature 24th District

Legislature 39th District

Legislature 40th District

Legislature 42nd District

Legislature 43rd District

Mayor (Spokane)

Operations Levy Fidalgo Pool

President

Proposition 2- City of Bellingham (Pro)

Public Lands Commissioner

Sales Tax Increase/King County

School District Capital Facilities Bond Issue Mount Vernon

School District Levy Brewster (Pro)

School District Levy Okanogan (Pro)

School District Levy Omak (Pro)

School District Levy Tonasket (Pro)

Secretary of State

United States Senate

State Supreme Court Justice

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Superior Court Judge Benton-Franklin County

Transportation Tax King County

Treasurer Skagit County

Vice President


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