Electronic billboards cause confusion in state law


by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 21, 2014 at 6:23 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)—Billboards around Louisville are attracting attention from more than passers-by.

Kentucky’s Transportation Cabinet has taken an interest in these different looking billboards and have said some of them are in violation of state law.

With the boom of technology, electronic billboards are becoming the popular go-to in big cities. Now they are beginning to spring up in Louisville.

One such billboard, next to Slugger Field, changes it’s message every 12 seconds.

Some people, like Scenic Kentucky’s Paul Bergmann, don’t like billboards in general, let alone the ones with LEDs. Other’s however, like the General Manager for CBS Outdoor, who owns many billboards across the area, said they look great and have had a positive response from local advertisers.

Yet it’s not a matter of taste, but the law of the Commonwealth.

“Kentucky law does not allow for the establishment of off-premise LED electronic billboards,” Ryan Watts with the Ky. Transportation Cabinet said.

But a Kentucky Court of Appeals decision last August picked apart state regulations, ultimately allowing a billboard company in Northern Kentucky to keep its electronic billboards.

The Transportation Cabinet in Frankfort said the Northern Kentucky case has nothing to do with the billboards in Louisville, which they say are against state law.

CBS Outdoor said it has carefully reviewed state regulations and they're confident digital billboards are legal in Kentucky.

And the state may have already given its stamp of approval by constructing a sign at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center four years ago, the digital advertising sold by CBS Outdoor.

The state said the new billboards threaten tens of millions of federal dollars Kentucky gets by opting into the Highway Beautification Act.