TV stations love super PACs

“WTF are we watching?”


Why are there so many negative political ads on TV? Because Super PACs pay a ton for ad time, often more than twice as much as the campaigns themselves. 

By TARINI PARTI | 8/23/12 
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For all the talk about super PACs and nonprofit groups spending millions of dollars on campaign ads, the traditional campaigns still have one advantage: Their money goes farther.

To the viewer, an ad is an ad, but to TV stations, not all ads are created equal.

Stations have to provide discounted rates to all qualifying candidates running for public offices. But they don’t have to give those same breaks to the super PACs and nonprofit groups like American Crossroads, Restore Our Future and Priorities USA, which are spending millions of dollars on the election.

So that means President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can stretch their dollar more than Karl Rove or Bill Burton. And the influx of political ad spending from super PACs and outside groups is serving as a boon to broadcasters and their corporate owners.

For example, Romney paid just under $100,000 for 74 spots between July 30 and Aug. 26 to ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland. Crossroads GPS paid the same station $84,000 for only 48 spots in a shorter period of time — between July 30 and Aug. 20, according to records the station filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

At the ABC affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., Romney paid $13,300 for 80 spots between July 30 and Aug. 26 while Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-backed nonprofit, paid more for about half the ads. The group paid $15,680 for 44 spots between July 30 and Aug. 27 on WJXX.

Of course, candidates might be getting discounted ad rates, but they are also bound by the fact that individuals can only give up to $2,500 to a candidate per election, while super PACs and nonprofits don’t have limits, as seen with the giant checks from the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

It all adds up to big bucks for station owners….

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