By all accounts, 2012 may be a record-setting year for political ad spending. As the candidates’ first major stop, Iowa stations expected major profits, but saw very little action until after the last pre-caucus debate — causing some nervousness on the part of sales managers, the Washington Post reports:
Then, after the Jan. 3 date was resolved, debates drew record audiences and candidates exploited a cost-free stage to get out their message. And after the final pre-caucus debate, in mid-December, the deluge.
“It really started coming in,” said Dale Woods, general manager of WHO, the NBC affiliate.
Anne Marie Caudron, national sales manager of KCCI, the CBS affiliate, said: “This year we saw a little before the straw poll and then nothing till late November. We were” — long pause — “concerned.”
The last quarter brought in a combined tally of nearly $3.5 million for the state’s two top stations, WHO and KCCI, who are viewed in the industry as the major players. Campaigns focused also on three other significant markets — Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Mason City — where airtime is less costly.