From: Joseph E. Harenski <>

To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(piac)

Date: 12/2/97 5:24pm

Subject: Public Comment

To whom it may concern:

I write to urge you to require digital broadcasters to provide substantial

free TV time to candidates for public office.

Obviously, it is imperative for candidates to get their message out. To do

this, they must pay for expensive TV time. But we, the people, own the

airwaves! While the broadcasters use our commonly owned resource to make

profits of hundreds of millions of dollars, they should have an obligation

to reduce the role of big money in politics, by providing free TV time to

qualified candidates. This will lead to a more

representative democracy, where ideas rather than dollars have the most


The threshhold to qualify for free time should be reasonable, and low

enough to allow third party and independent candidates to have access as

well. Free TV could be linked to spending limits, to reduce the ability of

rich candidates to buy public office. Additionally, free TV could require

candidates to appear in their own ads, and to speak for longer than a

typical thirty second ad, to raise the level of debate in our politics and

engage a citizenry now largely "tuned out" by negative political


While the broadcasters may argue that such an obligation impinges on their

profits, such profits are only possible because of their use of a publicly

owned and limited resource. Does anyone think there will be a lack of new

applications for digital broadcasting licenses, simply because the licenses

come along with a requirement for substantial free TV for candidates? Not

very likely, in my view.

I urge the Committee to support such a requirement, and look forward to

hearing your response.


Joe Harenski

157 Oakview Avenue

Pittsburgh, Pa 15218-1507