KPCW removes Park City candidates from on-air roles
At least three people expected to be impacted during election
THE PARK RECORD
KPCW, the Park City-based public radio station, will prohibit candidates in the City Hall election from roles on the air during the election season, a decision that is expected to impact at least three people.
Larry Warren, the station’s general manager, said he made the decision after consulting with other public-radio stations and an attorney who specializes in Federal Communications Commission laws. Warren cited a provision requiring equal time for candidates. If a candidate is also an on-air volunteer, the radio station would need to offer an equal amount of time to the other candidates if they requested, he said in explaining the law.
“We have to abide by FCC regulations. They’re not just rules. They have the force of law,” Warren said.
Three people with on-air roles at KPCW have indicated they will campaign in the City Hall election. Tim Henney, an incumbent City Councilor, has said he will seek re-election. He is a co-host of a program called “The Mountain Life.” Josh Hobson, an environmental activist who is a volunteer disc jockey, has announced a City Council campaign. Park City Planning Commissioner Steve Joyce, a fill-in co-host on the programs “Mountain Money” and “Cool Science Radio,” is also seeking a City Council seat.
“That’s name recognition, which is key in an election campaign,” Warren said.
Warren said the radio station will continue to cover the three as newsmakers through their activism or government service as well as their campaigns. Henney and Joyce are especially heavily covered since the City Council and the Planning Commission are, by a wide margin, the two most influential City Hall panels. Hobson, meanwhile, drew coverage recently as the lead organizer of the March for Science in Park City. Each of them is expected to be covered extensively when the campaign starts in earnest.
The prohibition will begin at the close of the June window when candidates must file paperwork formalizing their campaigns. They will be allowed to resume their roles on the air if they lose in a primary election or the general election. They will also be allowed to resume their roles if they win on Election Day in November since they would no longer be a candidate and would not be covered by the equal-time requirement, Warren said.
“Once explained, all were in agreement that we have rules we have to follow,” Warren said about the three.
The City Council campaign and the contest for the mayor’s office officially begins on Thursday with the opening of the filing window. The window runs until June 7.
Henney, Joyce and Hobson are the three declared City Council candidates. Two people – City Councilor Andy Beerman and Summit County Councilor Roger Armstrong – have said they will seek the mayor’s office.
If more than four people file paperwork in the City Council campaign, a primary would be held to reduce the field to four for Election Day. A mayoral field of more than two candidates would force a primary to reduce the field to two for Election Day.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.