Election Coverage Over
Posted: November 9, 2012
Everybody I know is glad that the election coverage is over. No more of those annoying and misleading radio and television ads. But despite the fact that most of the voting public is pleased that the election is over, I began to wonder, "What do the managers of local radio and television stations think? " After all, they were on the right side of the financial windfall from the candidates and others who wanted to see a particular individual win the election.
According to Maverick Media Vice President and Market Manager George Roberts, the six radio stations he oversees did not start to see advertising dollars begin to flow their way until very late in the campaign. However, due to the increased investment from Political Action Committees, higher rates were able to be charged for radio commercials versus the lowest unit rate set by federal law that must be offered to the candidates themselves.
On the television side, WEAU-TV 13 General Manager Terry McHugh told me that there are three rates offered to politicians: The base rate, which can be pre-empted without notice; the middle rate, which can be pre-empted with notice; and the fixed rate, which is considerably more expensive, but cannot be pre-empted by anyone else. Unlike radio, the available television spots started to get reserved last spring.
"We've been in election mode since the candidates started collecting signatures for the recall election," he said.
Prior to my conversation with McHugh, I thought many of the regular television advertisers got shut out because of the glut of poltical ads. Although slots during the local 5pm, 6pm and 10pm newscasts were often reserved entirely by the candidates, McHugh said there were plenty of spots available during other prime time programs.
From a business perspective, both radio and television managers confirmed that their companies made good money during the political campaigns. But they were most proud of their staffs for making sure that space was still available for small business owners who wanted to advertise on their respective stations. Unlike a retail store, radio and television inventory is the available time reserved for advertisers. If a group of radio stations or a television outlet ignore a request to advertise from a good customer, they could be doing irreparable harm to their revenue stream after the elections are over.
There is no doubt the winners during a presidential election cycle are the local broadcast media operations. But even the managers I spoke with said they were glad that it's over - just like the rest of us.