On October 26, Media Matters for America noted that media giant Pappas Telecasting Companies, with TV and radio stations across the nation, is donating $325,000 worth of airtime on its stations for GOP candidates in many of California's most hotly contested legislative elections. Later in the day, in a press release with the subheading "Company to give equal opportunity to opposing candidates in relevant markets as required by law," Pappas announced it would be making "in-kind contributions" of up to $25,000 in airtime to "certain" Republican and Democratic Central Committees.
But as The Sacramento Bee noted on October 27, Pappas's in-kind contributions will amount to $325,000, for thirteen Republican central committees and $125,000 for five Democratic committees. The Bee noted that "Pappas' contribution allows GOP candidates in some of the state's hottest legislative races to air commercials, at no expense to themselves, on seven TV and two radio stations owned by Pappas in the final days of campaigning," while the airtime for the Democrats is limited to a single Spanish-language TV station in the San Francisco area.
Pappas Telecasting Companies is the largest privately held commercial television broadcast group in the United States in terms of U.S. household coverage as defined by Nielsen Media Research, according to the company. The company owns 25 FOX, WB, ABC, CBS, UPN and Azteca America affiliates reaching 15 percent of total U.S. households and more than 32 percent of Hispanic households in the U.S. The stations are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Pappas also owns two radio stations in California.