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Radio News: Broadcasters will sell lots of political advertising the next 60 days

Sep 08, 2016 11:21 pm
David Oxenford reports in the Broadcast Law Blog that as of Sept. 9 there are 60 days until election day, and commercial broadcasters must now charge the “lowest unit rate” for political advertising. Any candidate for any office anywhere buying late-night ads, gets charged the lowest rate for those ads, and candidates buying time during NFL football games are charged the lowest rates for those events. If Coca Cola buys 50,000 ads in bulk and gets a cheap rate, political candidates only have to pay that same rate without buying ads in the same volume. State and local candidates have no right per se for stations to air any ads, as they can refuse, Oxenford writes. Rarely, though, do broadcasters turn down advertising, and they do have a bonanza coming, monetary incentive to keep contests considered close so more money is spent. Only candidates get the discount rates, as political action committees and issue-oriented advertisers pay in full. So count the dollars local TV stations and national news networks are making each time you see or hear a political advertisement this fall.