To better understand how local broadcast stations deal with third party ads and fact checking of political content in news and on line, 260 local broadcast television station managers and executives were surveyed from March 26 through June 8, 2012. The 260 included those responsible for stations under corporate ownership and locally owned stations. Because this was an opt-in sample, we do not know whether these 260 are representative of practices of broadcast stations in general. Our focus is on the consistency or variability of practices among the 260 managers and their understanding of FCC regulations governing the airing of various forms of political ads.
We found wide variability in the understanding of federal regulations, as well as differences in the treatment of third-party political ads, the number who engage in “ad watches,” and the treatment of product advertising and political advertising.