Local News

Capitol Broadcasting, WRAL Offer Free Air Time to Major Gubernatorial Candidates in April

Posted March 30, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— WRAL-TV and parent companyCapitol Broadcasting Companyhave committed to making free air time available to major North Carolina gubernatorial candidates throughout April.

Theunedited two-minute messageswill allow candidates to convey their thoughts on selected issues directly to voters.

All of the five major gubernatorial candidates will address:

  • The future of Smart Start
  • A state lottery
  • An issue of his choiceThe free time will be provided in addition to paid political ads.

    "Why should television only be the thirty-second commercials?" says Ferrel Guillory of the UNC School of Journalism. "Here's another way, a responsible way, for broadcasters to inform viewers."

    WRAL-TV Director of Special Projects John Harris explains. "We wanted to give voters a chance to hear where the candidates stand on issues in an unedited fashion."

    Harris says the segments provide "a little more in-depth type of statements than what they might hear on the evening news."

    The segments will air on Capitol Broadcasting TV stations in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and Wilmington.

    The idea grew out of theAlliance for Better Campaigns, which promotes useful campaign information getting to the most voters.

    "We hope that stations in the Triad and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area will try things, and that different stations will do different things. It doesn't all have to be one thing," Guillory says.

    Other broadcasters are considering doing something similar. So far, only Capitol Broadcasting stations have committed to the free air time.

    Capitol's stations have made the same offer of free air time for 30 days prior to the general election in November.

    The results of Capitol Broadcasting's effort will be monitored by the UNC School of Journalism.