Broadcasters Reap Bonus from Special Election

BOSTON: The special election this week for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat has been a boon for broadcasters. Candidates have spent around $5 million on TV and radio ads, according to The Boston Globe. Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown have generated an “unprecedented deluge of spending,” over the days leading up to the election, the Globe said, giving local broadcasters a boost in traditionally one of their worst months.

CBS O&O WBZ-TV, Hearst’s ABC affiliate WCVB-TV, and WHDH-TV, the NBC affiliate owned by Sunbam, told the news outlet that as of Friday, they’d sold out of spots through election day except for a very few in very early morning. Fox O&O WFXT-TV reported having few spots left. Sunbeam’s CW, WLVI-TV, had sold out of inventory from Friday through Tuesday. Heavy sales traffic also was reported by Comcast’s cable SportsNet and the New England Cable New network.

Chris Wayland, vice president and general manager of WLVI and sister station WHDH-TV said, “We have never seen spending like this over such a short period of time.’’

Brown supporters include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $500,000 on a TV ad campaign, the Los Angeles Times said. The Tea Party spent another $200,000. The American Future Fund out of Iowa spent $600,000 on ads attacking Coakley, the Times said, while another group behind her spent nearly $266,000. Local, prime-time spots are said to be ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 per.

Ed Piette, general manager of WBZ, told the Globe that the windfall didn’t entirely make up for the beating broadcasting has taken in the last year, but that it was “a temporary fix and a welcome one.”

(Image by Wally Gobetz)