Mod­ern stump

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion com­mis­sion­ers on Oct. 30 hud­dled to re­spond to a re­quest from XM Satel­lite Ra­dio on whether it can pro­vide “free” and “un­fil­tered” air­time to pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates on its new chan­nel, PO­TUS ’08.

Al­ready a draft of an FEC ad­vi­sory opin­ion, dated Oct. 26 and ob­tained by this col­umn, con­cluded that XM’s pro­vi­sion of free air­time to pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates does in fact fall un­der the “press ex­emp­tion” of the Fed­eral Elec­tion Cam­paign Act of 1971, which nev­er­the­less was en­acted be­fore any­body con­ceived of satel­lite ra­dio and its wealth of chan­nels.

D.C.-based XM, which fea­tures more than 200 chan­nels and more than 8 mil­lion sub­scribers, an­nounced re­cently the launch of a 24-hour, com­mer­cial-free, na­tional ra­dio chan­nel ded­i­cated ex­clu­sively to the 2008 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The FEC ad­vi­sory ex­plains that a sep­a­rate and dis­tinct part of PO­TUS ’08 is to pro­vide free air­time for pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates or their rep­re­sen­ta­tives “to speak to vot­ers,” and those par­tic­i­pat­ing would have full “edi­to­rial con­trol” over the mes­sage con­tent.

Look for the free air­time to be of­fered to all pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who have qual­i­fied for the bal­lot in 10 or more states. They each would be al­lowed to broad­cast up to five min­utes per day dur­ing a spec­i­fied one-hour time block.

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Our na­tional namer: Nancy Pelosi

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