2/5: Advocacy Ads: A Broadcast Veteran’s View

February 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Football, Sports, Sports Bench

What do those in broadcasting have to say about the Tim Tebow ad?

Lee Salzberger

Lee Salzberger

Lee Salzberger has a worked in the broadcast industry for 40 years.   He has managed television station affiliates of CBS and ABC and, as a group head, has additional Fox responsibilities.  Salzberger has served on the ABC Board of Affiliates and has taught television sales and programming at the University of North Texas for the past five years.

When Salzberger spoke with the Marist Poll’s John Sparks, he shared his insights into the advocacy ad discussion:

John Sparks
Lee, in the past, television stations and networks may have been reluctant to air commercials on policy issues such as abortion and gay rights.  Why is that, Lee?

Listen to the interview:

soundboard.com

Lee Salzberger
Gee, I wish I could answer that question why.  I think it’s the climate of the country, and I think the climate of the country has continued to grow and certainly is more liberal than it has been in the past with the present administration; and I don’t know that I would say that’s entirely the reason, but I think it’s certainly a big portion of it.

John Sparks
You have managed television stations.  Are there standards that broadcasters adhere to in deciding whether to air commercials that one might describe as an advocacy spot?

Lee Salzberger
The individual stations really don’t have any particular kind of guidance in this particular issue.  It is how they believe their licensed community might feel.  But, as you said, John, this is a network commercial and although the network is not licensed by the federal government, the stations are and it’s up to the individual stations to determine whether or not they choose to individually or not telecast that particular commercial.  In my judgment, it is likely that most of the television stations will likely telecast this commercial without reservation. It’s just another network commercial.

John Sparks
Do you think that this could set a precedent for advocacy ads in future Super Bowls?

Lee Salzberger
I don’t think it’s particularly precedent setting.  I can’t at this very moment recall any particular ads that may have been advocacy involved in the past, but I at the same time don’t feel that this is anything that is so particularly out of bounds that it would have been so rattling to the cages of everybody.

John Sparks
You have sold television time.  Any thoughts on the impact this ad might have?

Lee Salzberger
You know, John, if it sells, then it works. If it doesn’t sell, it’s not a good ad.  I haven’t seen the ad; you haven’t seen it; nobody has seen it, to the best of my knowledge, broadcast yet, so I can’t really speak to whether or not it will be or is an effective presentation of the issue.

John Sparks
Is there anything else you’d like to add or clarify on the subject?

Lee Salzberger
No, John, other than the licensee, the individual station, by virtue of the Communications Act has the opportunity to accept or deny access to its microphone. I believe that’s the actual phrase.  But you know, I just don’t see stations taking particular and specific action either for or against this particular ad.  I think the network has done its due diligence in investigating the copy and probably investigating the visual elements of this.  I don’t think they would telecast anything that was so extraordinary that would take the viewers into a total other area of belief without saying, “Hey, it’s just an ad, and we’ll take care of the other side through other opportunities from the standpoint of equal opportunity.”

Related Stories:

2/5: Advocacy Ads: The Lasting Impact?

2/5: Advocacy Ads During the Super Bowl? Public Okays Tebow Ad

Comments

One Response to “2/5: Advocacy Ads: A Broadcast Veteran’s View”

  1. Chong Jarrard on March 14th, 2010 7:17 am

    You cannot believe how long ive been looking for something like this. Went through 6 pages of Yahoo results and couldnt find anything. First page of bing. There this is…. Really have to start using it more often!

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