Most public, education and government channels broadcast some type of election programming during the 2012 election, but that coverage was almost completely focused on local races, says a survey by the Alliance for Community Media, a PEG channel advocacy group.
The ACM surveyed 200 “community media centers”—a mix of public, educational and governmental non-commercial cable channels—during the fall of 2012 to assess the amount of 2012 election programming produced or carried by those media centers, as well as the type of election programming aired and the involvement of community partners in developing election programming.
Of the community media centers surveyed, 85 percent reported producing or airing 2012-election programming. In addition, 95 percent of the centers’ election programming was focused on local races, while 74 percent of the centers provided state election programming and 33 percent aired national election programming, according to the ACM.
In addition, more than half—52 percent—of community media centers aired ten or more hours of 2012 election coverage, and at least 75 percent collaborated with other organizations to offer election programming, the survey says. The organizations most often cited as key partners were the League of Women Voters, local chambers of commerce and community colleges and universities, the ACM says. The most common reason provided for not producing or airing election programming was lack of staff and resources, the ACM adds.
“Citizens have a right to be informed about candidates, local referendums and state ballot measures and community media centers are often the only source for this critical information,” says Sylvia Strobel, the ACM’s executive director. “Our members continue to fill the void in their communities by providing critical and timely local news and information,” she added.
In addition to cable television programs, many community media centers offered supplemental election information on their websites and social media platforms, the ACM says
Click here to access information about the survey.