Super PACS Equal Super Cash for Local Stations

By Kevin Eck 

Every four years, local stations get a big cash injection from the presidential election, with candidates spending money on advertising to get their message out to the people.

Ahead of the Iowa Caucus, every candidate with a shot at the White House has a super political action committee and unlike individual candidates, there’s no limit to what Super PACs can collect and spend on a campaign. Bloomberg reports because of that, this election is being especially kind to local TV stations in Iowa.

Bloomberg says Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group data shows political advertising in Iowa is up more than 300 percent from four years ago.

Even better for the Iowa broadcasters is the fact that—unlike in recent cycles, when the caucuses were held just after the New Year—this year’s voting is scheduled for Feb. 1, meaning that peak political advertising will arrive in January, a month that’s typically slower for business. In the past four presidential elections, political ads in Iowa had to compete more with traditional advertisers during December’s busy holiday season.

“We have a lot already laid in for December and January,” [WHO gm Dale] Woods said. “The candidates are really preparing for that 60 days leading up to the election.”

Some of the candidates—and the super-PACs backing them—have already been flooding the NBC affiliate with ads. With the exception of a New Hampshire station, WHO has broadcast more spots related to the presidential campaign than any other in the nation, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the CMAG data.