As a record three billion dollar political advertising season comes to a close, broadcasters must remember that the FCC requires many broadcast stations to stay open for business this weekend. Specifically, all radio and television stations that have provided weekend access to any commercial advertiser within the twelve months prior to the election must provide similar access to federal candidates the weekend before the November 2 election date.
A station only needs to offer federal candidates the same kinds of weekend services that it has previously offered to commercial advertisers. This means that if a station has provided weekend access only for deleting copy or canceling spots, as opposed to selling and scheduling new spots, the station is only required to provide those same pre-election weekend services for federal candidates. Stations also need to keep in mind that they cannot discriminate between candidates with regard to providing access.
According to FCC staff, unlike federal candidates, state and local candidates do not have a similar right to weekend access even if the station has provided such access to commercial advertisers.