With the 2024 election looming, broadcasters are already receiving requests for political advertising time, from PACs and other issue groups, and from both established candidates and newcomers eager to make an early splash to enhance their public standing. Some of these potential buyers advance unique policy positions and, sometimes, unusual ad buying strategies. How are broadcasters to deal with these early political ad buyers?
Each broadcaster needs to discuss the issues that arise with these early political ads, both internally with their business teams and with their outside FCC counsel or in-house legal advisor. The first question to ask is whether a station even wants to run these ads. Ads from non-candidate buyers do not need to be run by stations but, if run, will likely impose some political file obligations on stations to the extent that they discuss candidates, potential candidates, or electoral and political issues (for more on political file issues, see our articles here, here, and here, and this video discussion that I did for the Indiana Broadcasters Association).