Radio should be prepared for what may turn into a political advertising “boom.” That’s the term used by Media Life to describe the medium’s growing piece of the buying pie in the ongoing 2016 presidential election.
The story posits that radio’s role during the election season “is usually a destination for non-political advertisers who have been squeezed off local TV by the deluge of political ads that land just before voters head to the polls.” Not this time, however, as candidates have already proved to be active on radio in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Buyers tell the publication that they expect this to continue through primary season and into the fall.
As Inside Radio has reported, Borrell Associates projects that radio spending will rise in this election year from $803 million in 2012 to $827 million, a 3% gain. If you include primary money in 2015, total radio spend will hit $1.19 billion, the first time political has ever surpassed $1 billion on radio.
One buyer tells Media Life, “Radio hasn’t always pulled in the same political spending dollars as TV, however that is slowly changing. In 2016, expectations are that 10%-15% of political spending will go into radio.” Those gains come as radio maintains a less expensive advertising forum, while TV has also become cluttered with political ads. “From local broadcast to cable to syndication and all the other forms of TV ads, candidates and their PACs will spend nearly $5.8 billion this year.”
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were both active radio spot buyers in New Hampshire, tallying more than 2,700 and 2,350 apiece, respectively, according to Media Monitors. In South Carolina, where the Republican primary is Feb. 20 and the Democrats’ is a week later, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz lead with 836 and 712 ads, respectively.