Kevin Martin called "porker" for ad campaign

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Posted by on October 23, 2008 at 20:03:56:

In Reply to: FCC alterting Americans to DTV posted by on October 16, 2008 at 19:28:21:

FCC's Martin Tagged 'Porker Of The Month' For NASCAR Advertising

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), which bills itself "America's #1 Taxpayer Watchdog," on Thursday (Oct. 23) named FCC chairman Kevin Martin its October "Porker of the Month" for permitting the FCC to spend about $355,000 on sponsoring David Gilliland's No. 38 racecar in the final three NASCAR events of the season and advertise the Feb. 17, 2009, digital television transition.

"Even though the commission has inundated networks with paid announcements for months, Martin considered it necessary to use additional taxpayer dollars to pay for the car and driver to bear slogans such as 'Is Your TV Ready for Digital?'" cried the group in a statement.

The group, based just blocks from the White House and which lists its phone number as 1-800-BE-ANGRY, is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that says it "represents more than 1 million members and supporters nationwide." Its goal is "to eliminate waste, mismanagement and inefficiency in the federal government."

CAGW accuses Martin of information overkill, noting that while "spreading public awareness over the transition from analog to digital broadcasting is important, the National Association of Broadcasters has stated that the public is already largely aware of the switch." In its release, the group quotes FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat frequently at odds with the Republican chairman, as saying, "This doesn't seem like the most efficient use of resources."

CAGW even offers us a conspiracy theory that Martin, who is expected to leave the FCC on Jan. 19, not only has used poor judgment but may be using the advertising for his own political purpose; that he could use it to help himself launch a political career in his home state of North Carolina. After all, notes CAGW, driver Gilliland is based in North Carolina, while NASCAR maintains offices in four North Carolina cities. "Additionally, Martin chose Wilmington, N.C., as the test site for the switch to DTV. Considering Martin's ability to sequester taxpayer money for his prospective constituents, he is well on his way to becoming a successful legislative porker."

But then, if Martin and the FCC's goal was to bring attention to the digital transition, it was accomplished at a significant government discount, shaved off the fair market value of $450,000 for the three races. And, as of the beginning of Thursday evening, a Google search for "FCC, NASCAR" indicates that there are 655,000 results.

(Radio & Records)

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