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‘Ask Evan’: “Why do I see political candidate commercials one after another?”

This week's 'Ask Evan' question deals with political commercials.

Ernie F. asks, "I have noticed that when one candidate's commercial airs, another commercial for a competitor airs immediately thereafter. Is there a procedure in place for one campaign to immediately counter another's commercial? I cannot believe that this is a coincidence. Perhaps you can shed some light on the scheduling process?"

During the primary election season there were plenty of times when candidates of the same race aired commercials one right after another.  Different networks, cable companies and television stations may have different procedures on how political commercials are scheduled.  I can only speak to how they are scheduled here at FOX43.

Candidates who air television commercials are able to find out exactly when competitor commercials will air.  The FCC makes online information available including: in which shows the commercial will air-- how many times it will air-- and what the candidate paid for the commercials.

So, when candidate-A buys a schedule of commercials, candidate-B can immediately find out where and when those ads will air.  In many cases candidate-B will also purchase commercials in the same shows and time periods to reach the same audience.  Since there are only so many commercial spots available in each time period, it becomes very likely that candidates buying the same number of spots will find them airing in the  same commercial break.

Even though two candidates air spots may air in the same commercial break-- they may or may not air one after another.  At FOX43, those responsible for scheduling the commercials try to avoid airing commercials of the same political race back to back.   However, sometimes it does happen.  Expect to see plenty more as we get closer to the November election.

If you have questions you'd like to ask, send me an email at   Put 'Ask Evan' in the subject line.  You can also reach out to me on Facebook at Evan Forrester FOX43.  Whatever the topic I'll do my best to track down answers you are looking for.


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