Granite's Give-away

Mad rush for free political air time failed to materialize in ’06
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Granite Broadcasting announced last week that it would give away free air time for major political candidates for the 10th year in a row. The platform is open to federal, state and local candidates at Granite stations in seven states.

Broadcasters have been criticized in recent years for not providing enough public service programming, including coverage of political debates and issues. Privately, however, they say that candidates rarely opt for the risky, impromptu exposure of televised debate.

“What we have discovered, and think it is important to note,” a Granite spokeswoman said, “is that politicians’ participation tends to be higher during local races, and on average, candidates representing between two and 10 races take advantage of Granite’s Free Political Air Time offer.”

Granite provided Television Broadcast with the following chart of how many candidates took it up on its offer during the 2006 elections.

San Francisco, Calif. -- 0
Detroit, Mich. -- 0
Buffalo, N.Y. -- 2
Fresno, Calif. -- 11
Syracuse/Utica, N.Y. -- 0
Binghamton,/Elmira, N.Y. -- 10
Fort Wayne, Ind. -- 2
Peoria, Ill. -- 0
Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis. -- 0