Business report

FCC political advertising complaint dismissed

The FCC’s media office quietly dismissed a complaint filed by an Ohio individual seeking to be elected to Congress in 2020 who claimed his political ads and radio programs were “censored” by iHeartMedia.

It’s a rebuke of an 18 month fight by Jim Condit Jr. who wishes to serve in the United States House of Representatives for Ohio’s Second Congressional District, in the eastern parts of the Cincinnati market.

This sets up a likely reconsideration request putting the matter before the full Commission, or ending Condit’s quest for what he believed to be justice against two major iHeartMedia/Cincinnati spoken word AMs: WLW-AM 700 and WKRC-AM 550.

Here is Condit’s version of events.

On September 3, 2020, iHeartMedia/Cincinnati and Condit signed a contract to run nine weeks of political ads on Talk stations serving southern Ohio. After three weeks, with six weeks until Election Day, iHeart “censored” the ads.

“The damage to free speech and a candidate’s right to get their message across to the public is incalculable,” Condit said in a statement issued November 14, 2020 as part of an effort to garner support. for his fight.

According to him, the nearly 50-year-old Reasonable Access Act has been violated because he believes radio stations must broadcast federal candidate ads without editing or censoring the message.

This is where the Condit battle gets ugly – and racist.

“This censorship of commercials and broadcasts is exactly what iHeart, WLW and WKRC did to Jim Condit Jr. for Congress – because they didn’t like messages informing the public that an organized world Jewish shadow government controls all the major television and radio stations in the United States, and that this anti-American Jewish network is using its ill-gotten monopoly to try to place the American people under the tyranny of some 300 billionaire Jewish bankers promoting communism, such as George Soros.

Other anti-Semitic rhetoric appearing on his campaign site JimForAmerica.com refers to the COVID-19 pandemic as a hoax, among other things.

Condit sought to serve Ohio’s second congressional district as a write-in candidate. His quest began in August 2020. He says he was a bona fide candidate and iHeartMedia believed otherwise. The question is whether Condit made a “substantial presentation” of his application in good faith, a requirement of written applicants. Examples listed in the Commission’s rules include campaign speeches, distribution of campaign literature, publication of
press releases, maintaining a campaign committee and establishing a campaign headquarters
(although in some cases the registered office may be the residence of
the candidate or his campaign manager).

The iHeartMedia team says its staff understood that Condit had “previously qualified to be on the ballot and declared…that he was a legally qualified candidate,” based on a sample bumper sticker. -shocks, a road sign and a brochure.

In fact, the iHeart/Cincinnati team came to suspect that Condit had set out to exploit Section 312(a)(7) of the act by fabricating “a fictitious political campaign through which he could gain access to the airwaves in the purpose of disseminating its convictions to a wide audience.

Whether or not Condit, regardless of his racist statements, was a bona fide candidate is the question. And, head of the media office Holly Saurer thinks the answer is no, as he did not make a substantial showing of his candidacy before buying airtime on WKRC and WLW. Further, Saurer notes, “Although Mr. Condit claims that he engaged in campaign-related activities, none of these activities took place in the 2nd congressional district in which he was seeking votes. Likewise, although he claims to have spent time in the 2nd congressional district according to the filing, these activities were unrelated to the campaign.

Condit countered that he had engaged in campaign-related activities in his district. But, Saurer did not have it. “We do not believe that the activities in which Mr. Condit claims to have engaged in within the 2nd congressional district – distributing business cards at undisclosed locations on unspecified dates while Mr. Condit went about his business daily – constitute efforts that would reasonably support substantial evidence of bona fide candidacy. Likewise, engaging in routine daily activities in the 2nd Congressional District, such as shopping and attending religious services, are not “campaign-related” activities that would warrant finding substantial exposure. , and having family and friends who reside in a particular area are not “activities” at all.

Today, Ohio’s 2nd congressional district is represented by Republicans Brad Wenstrup. The incumbent easily beat Democrat Jamie Castle in the 2020 congressional race, with 61.1% of the vote to Castle’s 38.9%.

Condit received 37 total write-in votes.

He is believed to stand for re-election in 2022.