ABA Offering: Political debates for AZ governor, US Senate

April 4, 2022 by Arizona Media Association Uncategorized Comments Off on ABA Offering: Political debates for AZ governor, US Senate

The ABA plans to offer each of you the opportunity to live simulcast general election debates in October for both Arizona Governor and US Senate.

The goal behind this offering is to use the collective reach of Arizona radio and TV to showcase local media as the most trusted source for local news. Road-blocking these debates across so many stations in Arizona has real power for public engagement.

As outlined below, you’ll find many of our tentative plans for these two events. We’re sharing these plans now to allow each of you to offer feedback. Our goal is to finalize most details by late May to ensure each of you have plenty of time to decide if you want to participate.

The ABA has been working with Arizona Clean Elections to build this first-of-its-kind partnership. As many of you know, debates have never been offered to all Arizona broadcasters. Tentatively, these shared debates will take place as follows:

Governor Election Debate: Wed, Oct 5, 6:00:00p – 6:56:46p (commercial free)
US Senate Election Debate: Thurs, Oct 6, 6:00:00p – 6:56:46p (commercial free)

Both debates will be live simulcast in English and Spanish and offered to all Arizona local radio and TV stations. The debates will also be offered to newspapers across Arizona for YouTube streaming in partnership with the Arizona Newspapers Association. 

The ABA is working with ASU’s Cronkite School/Arizona PBS as the neutral host location.

The ABA plans to provide a clean satellite feed of the debates for TV stations and a clean audio feed for radio stations. On the TV side, the feeds will be fully self contained/switched, but without any bugs or lower thirds to give each of you the opportunity to own the branding.

ASU’s Cronkite School/Arizona PBS will be identified as the host partner in two ways during the debates. They will be recognized as the debate location in scripted remarks. They will also be recognized with a logo alongside Arizona Clean Elections in a printed “logo wall” behind the candidate podiums. No other branding will be visually or audibly present.

The debates will likely follow standard formal debate rules with candidates standing at podiums and receiving set amounts of time to talk about specific topics. Those topics will be chosen in advance by two moderators. The ABA plans to share out the debate rules with each of you for review in partnership with Arizona Clean Elections. Both debates will also have the same two moderators. Those moderators are TBD and subject to this group’s suggestions on fairness, neutrality and public confidence. Please reply back to this email with thoughts.

All participating stations will have the opportunity to solicit questions from their audience and get them in front of the debate moderators to review for potential inclusion. In addition, all media partners can submit their own newsroom questions that they would like the debate moderators to consider. The ABA wants to ensure that the topics of discussion for the debates represent the collective asks from media partners.

All feedback can be shared directly with me by replying to this email or sending me a stand-alone note at chris@azbroadcasters.org.