PBS Provides Free Air Time to Major Presidential Candidates

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Messages from Vice President Gore and Governor Bush Will Air After the NEWSHOUR Every Weeknight from Oct. 25 through Nov. 3

(ALEXANDRIA, VA - October 23, 2000) - With just two weeks remaining in one of the tightest presidential campaigns in recent history, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member stations are providing viewers nationwide with direct access to the major presidential candidates through messages broadcast over eight consecutive weeknights following THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER.

Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore each will address American voters for two and a half minutes on topics of their choosing between Wednesday, October 25 and Friday, November 3. One candidate will speak per night, with the messages airing on alternating days. The order in which the candidates present their messages will be determined by a coin toss. Their statements also will be posted and videostreamed daily on the PBS Democracy Project Web site at PBS.org/democracy.

Produced by the candidates and packaged by the NEWSHOUR, the messages will air weeknights following the NEWSHOUR broadcast on participating PBS member stations. The stations may broadcast or re-broadcast the spots in other timeslots within 24 hours of the original airing, as long as each candidate receives the same number of airings in periods of comparable viewership. The format requires that the candidates appear on-screen for the entire length of the presentation, without visual materials or sound effects.

PBS offered time to candidates for President who qualified for the ballot in states with enough electoral votes to have a mathematical chance of winning, and who reached an average of at least 5% of public support in five different polls. Only Vice President Gore and Governor Bush met these criteria.

Candidate free air time is a key component of the PBS Democracy Project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an initiative that provides distinctive and engaging local and national public affairs coverage to encourage expanded civic discourse. The final Democracy Project program of the campaign season is TIME TO CHOOSE A PBS/NPR VOTER'S GUIDE, a live, three-hour broadcast originating from five PBS stations around the country airing Wednesday, November 1, at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS and NPR stations nationwide (check local listings).

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.


Dara Goldberg

Jan McNamara