The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 15, 2014

Jackson files equal-time complaint against Williams, WKAC radio show

— A political opponent has filed a complaint against an Athens radio station and the radio program of incumbent state Rep. Dan Williams, R-Athens, for allegedly violating federal communications law by failing to provide him equal on-air time.

Williams said the radio station is a fair one and the owners would give his opponent, Bobby Jackson, air time if he would only call them.

Jackson, a Republican seeking to unseat the District 5 state representative and former Athens mayor, claims in his complaint that ever since Williams declared on Aug. 13, 2013, that he would seek re-election, he has hosted a regular radio show on WKAC.

According to the Communications Act of 1934, a radio station that allows a legally qualified candidate for public office to use a broadcast station must afford equal opportunities to other candidates for that office.

“Unlike conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan and Herman Cain who quit hosting their radio shows when they became legally qualified candidates, Dan Williams continues to use his program to advance his name and political agenda, against all notions of common fairness and respect for the system,” Jackson said.

"As a high school baseball and basketball coach, I was taught that nobody is above the law and in this case the law is clear and Rep. Williams needs to follow it," Jackson said. "This law was passed so voters can have the opportunity to know who is running to represent them and be informed. I simply want Williams to follow the law and give everyone a fair chance to hear both of our positions on the issues."

Jackson said he wants equal time to share his plan to make state government open, honest, and small, and bring new high-paying jobs into District 5.

Williams said Wednesday he was surprised by the complaint.

“I’m surprised he would file a complaint before he has even asked for time,” Williams said. “The owners of WKAC know the rules and will give him time, but you’ve got to call them to get time. He (Jackson) is causing trouble for me and for WKAC, which is a small business. These are local people and they are not going to try to keep someone off the radio about local issues.”

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