Courtesy of David Oxenford

With 2024 being an election year, we should highlight the FCC’s rules on lowest unit rates.  Political candidates get the lowest unit rate for advertising bought by their campaigns for the 45 days before any primary in which they are running, and for 60 days before the general election.  Lowest unit rate (“LUR,” or sometimes called “lowest unit charge”) means that the candidate gets all the benefits that your best advertiser gets – including all volume discounts and package plans prices, without having to buy the same package or in the same volume that your best advertiser does.  So, during these lowest unit charge window, for each class of advertising time sold on your station, you need to give the candidate your best per spot rates.

In Kansas, the lowest unit rate period for the March 19 Presidential Primary will begin on February 3, 2024, assuming there are any presidential candidates that want to buy advertising time for that primary.  Only Presidential candidates get the LUR during this pre-primary window.

For all other candidates in Kansas – the primary is scheduled for August 6.  Included in the August 6 primary would be candidates running in primary races for the US House of Representatives seats, those seeking any State, County and Municipal offices.  The lowest unit rate window for the August 6 primary will open on June 22, 2024.

If your station covers areas in states neighboring Kansas, check their LUR windows, as their primary dates may differ.  A station is obligated to sell reasonable amounts of time to federal candidates in any district within its service area, even if the district is outside their home state.  If the station decides to sell advertising time to candidates for state and local races in any district in any adjacent state, for those candidates, the station must observe the LUC windows in the state in which they are running.

The general election is November 5, 2024.  Lowest unit rates for candidates in the general election start on September 6, 2024.