On Friday, shortly after the FCC formally announced its 17-page decision-in part rejecting Mr. Perot's claim the four major commercial networks had failed to give him reasonable access to half-hours of time-the Perot campaign was studying the decision.
However, officials said Mr. Perot still wants half-hours rather than 30-second slots and, if necessary, is leaning toward buying from other sources.
"The FCC has once again sided with the national networks," said Russ Verney, national coordinator of the campaign. "We have just received the decision and will make an analysis today, but in all likelihood, we will purchase the time either from local stations or from cable. Buying from local stations drives up the cost immensely, while cable has a smaller reach than broadcast TV."
Mr. Perot is expected to appeal the decision even as he buys time.
The FCC said ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox didn't have to offer Mr. Perot large blocks in order to meet their requirements to afford him reasonable access to ad time.
Mr. Perot had contended that the few prime-time half-hours he was being offered this year compared with four years ago indicated the networks were denying him what they must legally provide.
He had hoped to buy eight half-hours in prime time well in advance, then save ad dollars by advertising the schedule rather than by advertising each individual half-hour.