If a Seattle-area legislator gets his way, TV stations would be essentially 'forced' to give away air time to political candidates. It's HB1180 (House Bill 1180).

Representatives Ryu, Goodman, Jinkins, Slatter, and Tarleton (who all hail from the West Side) have co-sponsored the bill, which reads in part as follows:

"A broadcaster must provide to each local candidate in each  community in which it has a licensing broadcasting station, upon request of the candidate, two segments of airtime without charge for each primary and general election at which the candidate appears on  the ballot. Each segment of airtime must: (i)  Be at least two minutes in length; (ii) Air during the morning or afternoon commute hours or during  a news show between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.; (iii)  Air within thirty days before the primary and general election, as appropriate; and (iv)  Be separated by the candidate's other segment by at least  ten days. (b)  A broadcaster must post the airtime segments online within forty-eight hours of the broadcast and maintain the segments online  until the election. (c)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the broadcaster may select the time and format of the broadcast."

So, they'd be forcing TV stations to air free political ads during Prime Time, which is essentially the 'richest' window for television. Now, the broadcaster may select the time and format, but they're still being handcuffed. This will create all sorts of headaches for the station, and many critics say it will backfire.

People tire easily of political campaign ads, and this won't provide a 'miracle tonic' for those candidates. This bill shows these legislators have very little knowledge of how media actually works.

The reason behind the bill is these legislators believe there are many "diverse members of our communities' and financial constraints prevent many of these 'candidates' from being able to reach their 'goals' of running for or being elected to political office.

Our prediction? This bill will die before it even gets out of committee.

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