Busted: These Lobbyists Give Free Air Time to Politicians They Like

This Is, In Fact, A Two-Way Street

How often do we let businesses just give away their product to politicians who vote their way? Not very often, but these well-connected, highly-regulated businessmen found the perfect loophole to give pro-regulation legislators a free advantage come election season.


The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is the archetypical lobbyist group. It’s a group of businesses that seeks to keep regulations high in order to minimize competition and maximize profit. They march in lockstep with government to keep the checks flowing into their wallets.

Of course, if politicians changed the law to meddle with their priorities, that would be bad. So NAB needs to get the right people elected, and the easiest way to do that is to give them free airtime. And they found the perfect loophole to do it, in a move spotted by the Content Creators Coalition: pass the free ads off as Public Service Announcements:

The free airtime on community stations comes just as broadcasters are trying to showcase the importance of local radio and fight against possible new royalty fees for stations.

There’s a big overlap between members who have taken advantage of the free airtime and those who have signed on as co-sponsors of a NAB-backed resolution, the Local Radio Freedom Act, according to analysis by POLITICO. The measure says Congress shouldn’t impose new performance royalties on radio stations.


You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. Tell you all you need to know about their preferred policy. They want radio stations to be able to play music for free, while their online competitors have to pay for it. Sounds pretty unfair and obviously biased, right? Well, now you know how they get away with it.



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