Tue September 18, 2012
WSAU Radio Gives Dem. Free Ads
A Wausau radio station has agreed to give five hours of free campaign advertising to a Democratic assembly candidate, after it kept her Republican opponent on the air as a talk show host after he announced he was running.
When conservative talk show host Pat Snyder announced his candidacy for the 85th assembly seat back in February, his employer WSAU radio kept him on the air. Democrats harshly criticized the decision. Now, station managers admit they left Snyder on the air too long. FCC equal time rules started to apply the day after the August 14th primary, and Snyder kept broadcasting until August 30th.
WSAU radio has reached a deal with Snyder’s Democratic opponent Mandy Wright. The station is giving Wright five hours of free one-minute ads. Wright says about the deal, "I think it was very amicable, and I'm happy that we were able to reach this settlement quickly. And, I think this is a great opportunity to reach out to more voters and introduce myself."
What Democrat Mandy Wright sees as a great opportunity, Republican Pat Snyder sees as unfair. Snyder says, "I was told by my management that it was okay, that I was not supposed to mention my opponent's name, my race, which I didn't. And now, to just give her a free five hours of basic campaigning, I guess I really ask, where's the ethics?" Snyder says he does not believe his campaign can afford to purchase five hours of radio ads.
There is a third candidate in the Wausau assembly race, Libertarian Jim Maas. Now he wants his share of the free airtime. “If there's going to be compensation, and there's three candidates on the ballot, I should get half of that time."
Maas says he has yet to hear from WSAU management on his request.