Montana Politician Demands Equal Time On Local Station Where Opponent Is Weatherman
October 22, 2014 at 4:34 AM (PT)
A Republican congressman from MONTANA is insisting on getting equal time on a local radio station where his opponent is the weatherman, according to a report in the BILLINGS GAZETTE.
Five months after launching a similar complaint that cost opponent JOHN PULASKY his weatherman job, Rep. CLAYTON FISCUS is asking for air time equal to what PULASKY spends providing weather reports on STAR PRINTING COMPANY Triple A KATL (770 AM)/MILES CITY, MONTANA.
KATL's signal is "faint to nonexistent" in BILLINGS, but FISCUS told THE GAZETTE he can pick up the station on his car radio when parked in the driveway of his home. That means voters are receiving nine minutes and 30 seconds of DEMOCRATIC candidate PULASKY every day and none of the one-term incumbent FISCUS.
“I’m a lawmaker, not a law breaker,” stated FISCUS.
FCC law states that U.S. radio and television stations are obligated to offer equal time to opposing candidates who request it, with some exceptions for news interviews, documentaries, scheduled newscasts and debates, claiming unequal air time can influence an election outcome.
KATL station manager DONALD RICHARD insists BILLINGS isn’t part of the area in which the station provides “city grade” service and neither is the district in which FISCUS and PULASKY are competing. FISCUS argues that equal-time law also pulled the plug on former MONTANA SENATORS CONRAD BURNS and DAVE RYE, two radio personalities who served one term in the early '90s, who.left their stations rather than offering free equal time to political opponents. Broadcaster TAYLOR BROWN left the air in 2008 when he successfully ran for state Senate. All three were heard on BILLINGS-based NORTHERN BROADCASTING stations.
It was BROWN who took PULASKY off the air in late MAY after FISCUS asked for equal time on NORTHERN BROADCASTING, costing the weatherman his 24-year job.
“It was devastating, just devastating,” said PULASKY, who managed to get work with radio stations in LEWISTON, MILES CITY, PLENTYWOOD and WOLF POINT after NORTHERN canceled his contract.
RICHARD said he won’t grant FISCUS’ request because PULASKY "isn’t on a station that has city-grade service in the political district in which he’s campaigning."