After beating up on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. for the past two weeks, media activists are turning their attention to a new broadcast-group owner, California-based Pappas Telecasting Cos.
Free Press complains that Pappas is giving $325,000 worth of airtime on seven TV and two radio stations to GOP candidates in many of the Golden State’s closest legislative races. Free Press is demanding that equal treatment be given to Democrats.
The airtime targets contentious races such as Sen. Mike Machado and Stockton Mayor Gary Podesto in the 5th Senate District, and Assembly Member Nicole Parra (D-Hanford), running for re-election against Dean Gardner.
"This is yet another example of a huge media company abusing the public's airwaves to advance their own political agenda," said Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver. "Pappas is making a bogus claim that the ads are not contributions. This is nothing but smoke and mirrors to avoid what appears to be a violation of federal laws requiring equal time," he said.
The TV stations are KMPH Fox 26 and KFRE 59, Fresno and Visalia; KTNC reaching the Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and San Jose areas; KBFX Fox and KABZ, Bakersfield; KAZA, Los Angeles; and KSWT, El Centro.
The radio stations are KMPH 107.5 FM in Fresno and Visalia and KTRB 860 AM in the Stockton-Modesto areas. Pappas officials did not return phone calls seeking comment