Belo TV stations gave free airtime to 135 candidates in 2012 election

Michelle Clancy | 17-01-2013

US TV station owner company Belo Corp has reported that its stations provided free airtime to 135 congressional and gubernatorial candidates across the country during the 2012 election season, through the company's It's Your Time programme.

Belo also showed an average of 120 minutes per week of political coverage on each of its 14 news-producing television stations in the six weeks leading up to Election Day.

From 23 September to 5 November 2012, Belo television stations aired an average of 87 local and national election-related stories each week. The coverage included eight debates that gave viewers a focused look at the candidates and their platforms. Belo rebroadcast an average of 105 stories weekly on the company's regional and local news channels.

The company also streamed and archived election-related stories and debates on its 20 station websites and distributed election coverage on its digital multicast sub-channels, mobile applications and station Facebook pages.

Belo also aired a one-hour Texas Republican US Senate debate which aired on all Belo Texas television stations including WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, KHOU-TV in Houston, KENS-TV in San Antonio and KVUE-TV in Austin. The debate was streamed on each station's website as well as on Belo's regional cable news channel, TXCN. It was also streamed on the website of The Dallas Morning News and made available state-wide to Texas radio stations and Spanish television stations.

This debate was followed by: an additional one-hour Texas Republican runoff debate hosted by WFAA; a one-hour Texas US Senate debate hosted by WFAA between Republican and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Democrat and former State Representative Paul Sadler;
a one-hour Washington state gubernatorial debate hosted by KING-TV in Seattle/Tacoma between Democrat and former US Congressman Jay Inslee and Republican Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna; and a one-hour gubernatorial debate hosted by WCNC-TV in Charlotte between Democrat and former Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton and Republican and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.

"The political coverage our stations provide our local communities is essential to citizens having the information they need to make informed choices," said Dunia Shive, Belo's president and CEO. "Belo is pleased to give candidates the opportunity to air their positions on important issues through the It's Your Time programme."

Belo launched It's Your Time in 1996 to educate viewers on issues facing their local communities. Each eligible candidate participating receives five minutes of free airtime. Since the programme's inception, Belo has provided free airtime to more than 1,100 candidates in nine consecutive election cycles, including 2012.