FCC OKs election free time

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The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday gave its OK for the TV networks to give free time to the major presidential candidates without violating equal time provisions. It said the coverage could be deemed "on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news event" programming as defined in FCC rules. Specifically approved: A PBS plan similar to that requested by the Free TV for Straight Talk Coalition, of 2 1/2-minute talks by the candidates on alternating weeknights for the final month of the campaign; a Fox plan for an hour election eve program with time to be split among major candidates, plus ten 60-second segments for each candidate during the seven weeks before the election; and an ABC offer of an unstructured hour for the candidates to appear together to discuss issues with one another.

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