Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner in the presidential race, is as conscious of this metric as anyone; the man loves the spotlight.
But over the weekend, when Trump's spotlight shone the brightest (or perhaps more precisely, the harshest), he was nowhere to be seen -- physically, at least. Instead, he phoned into four Sunday political talk shows to discuss his feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly and elaborate on his intra-party battle with conservative blogger Erick Erickson.
More media appearances continued by phone this week.
On Monday, he called into "The Today Show" and MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
On Tuesday, he called into Fox News' "Fox and Friends" to chat with host Steve Doocy -- potentially signaling detente between Trump and Fox.
Ahead of Trump's appearance on "Fox & Friends," Fox News chair and CEO Roger Ailes released a statement confirming he spoke with Trump by phone on Monday, saying Ailes stood by Megyn Kelly and assured Trump "that we will continue to cover this campaign with fairness and balance. We had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared."
With the air cleared, Trump will appear in person Tuesday evening on Fox News' "Hannity" with Sean Hannity.
But it's rare that Trump actually appears on camera. And he's been calling into TV shows for years -- especially on "Fox and Friends."
As far as the TV news business goes, all this calling is pretty unusual. Which raises a couple of questions:
- Why would Trump phone in when he was in New York City over the weekend and could have pretty easily gotten to a camera?
- Why would the networks let Trump call in by phone when TV shows exist specifically to, you know, show people on camera?
We can't answer the first one, though we can point out Trump had a lot of media hits over the weekend, including an interview with The Washington Post. Perhaps it's just easier.
As for the second, the answer appears to basically boil down to this: Because Trump is Trump. He's the political newsmaker of the moment, bar none, and as such, he gets to set the terms of how he'll make news.
A network source involved in setting up one of Trump's Sunday media appearances -- speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly -- said the network would prefer to have Trump on camera, but if the only way to get him is by phone, then that would simply have to do. Better to have the news in a less-than-desired format than to not have the news at all.
And as long as everyone else is granting phone interviews, there is both pressure to and an excuse built-in to make an exception.
It's worth mentioning that the only major Sunday show Trump's voice didn't make an appearance on over the weekend was "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace," whose organizers said they wouldn't agree to Trump's requests for a phone interview.
He has appeared on camera for at least one Sunday talk show since announcing he's running for president. He sat down with CNN's "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper the week of his June 16 presidential launch.
And his drought might be over. A campaign source who declined to go on the record said that Trump will appear on at least one talk show this coming Sunday -- on camera this time.