Presidential Hopefuls Ask for Equal Airtime After Donald Trump’s SNL Gig

GOP longshots benefit from FCC rule

This was inevitable. Following Donald Trump's hosting stint on the Nov. 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, three Republican presidential hopefuls have requested equal time on NBC stations.

According to the FCC's "equal time" rule, broadcast and radio stations are required to offer an equivalent opportunity for candidates to appear on non-news programs. NBC tallied up Trump's airtime at 12 minutes and five seconds. Opposing candidates then had seven days following Trump's SNL episode to request that amount of time on NBC stations.

And three of them have: former New York Gov. George Pataki's campaign has sent a request to 16 NBC affiliates, including stations in New England (WHDH in Boston serves much of New Hampshire), South Carolina, Iowa and New York. Meanwhile, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham demanded time on NBC affiliates in Iowa, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has demanded time from NBC stations in Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

While Kasich has done well enough in the polls to be on the main stage for all four GOP primary debates, the requests by Pataki and Graham are last-ditch efforts to drum up support. Both were bumped off the undercard of the most recent debate on Fox Business Network after being invited to the first three.

Many of the states included, especially Iowa and New Hampshire, have first-in-the-nation contests. The Iowa caucuses are set for Feb. 1 and the New Hampshire primary is a week later on Feb. 9.