Donating Political Radio Advertising

title:Donating Political Radio Advertising
author:Scott Perreault
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:16

At the end of each political season the powers in congress always suggest that the airways, being owned by the citizens and monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, ought to be free for candidates to broadcast their message. As a twenty year radio station veteran and general manager, I can say with certainty that chaos is already created every campaign cycle with the insistence that radio stations charge the candidates the lowest rate (aka: political rate) on the rate card. This rate is equal to the lowest rate charged for any commercial. This is one big reason why radio stations must be diligent in enforcing their rate card. If they give a great deal to their best account, come political season, where the bulk of candidate advertising is overwhelming, they profits will be effected as stations must air the ads where commercial space is available.
Understanding this, one can see an opening in the political donation process. Granted, there is a limit on non-cash donations, but in smaller markets, this could be a wind-fall for candidates. There are many voice service companies or announcers within the local radio stations who can produce the commercial. Now the difference is this. Rather than the candidate or candidate’s agency contacting the radio station, the contributor can make the purchase. In most cases, all political advertising is paid in advance. The donator, requests the political rate (ask the question, what was the lowest rate your charged this past year?) to get an even lower rate. Most just accept the stations printed political rate.
A good rule of thumb in smaller markets is the radio station with the most commercials is the station reaching the most listeners. The advertisers know who reaches their customers. Also listen to the type of commercials for the demo you are targeting. If the station is airing commercials from a drug store talking about medical prescription programs, this is an older audience. A little common sense, goes a long way.