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AdImpact: $43M Already Booked In Political Ads For Radio. News/Talk Leading Format.

With Election Day 2024 just over one year away, roughly $43 million has already been invested in radio by political campaigns and PACs, according to AdImpact. The political ad tracking firm says about $4 million of that is earmarked for the Presidential race.

The radio industry has been working to show political media planners that formats beyond news/talk reach large swaths of voters. While the new Ad Impact numbers show that’s working, news/talk remains the biggest recipient of election advertising.

For example, of the $4 million already booked for the top ticket contest, nearly one of every four dollars is going to news/talk stations or about $934,042. Ad Impact has tracked $815,299 going to “other” formats.

Offering more evidence of the importance to Presidential advertisers of reaching Black voters, hip-hop/R&B is the top music format with $568,423 in Presidential advertising already run or reserved for future dates. AdImpact has tracked $253,595 for country radio as of Nov. 15 and $246,991 for state radio networks. Full service, talk, sports, urban AC and regional Mexican are the next most purchased formats for Presidential advertisers so far in the 2024 election.

AdImpact has forecast radio’s share of political dollars will hold steady in the 2023-2024 political cycle compared to four years ago. Its analysts predict radio will capture $400 million in political spending, or about 3.5% of all the money spent.

Where the money goes in terms of geography has everything to do with the primary calendar and the biggest swing states.

Georgia and its 16 electoral votes will be highly sought-after in the 2024 presidential election, which helps explain why $372,079 has already been spent or reserved for radio spots in Atlanta for the presidential contest. Once again, Iowa maintains its first-in-the-nation caucuses with the Republican Party of Iowa's presidential caucuses scheduled for Jan. 15, 2024. As a result, political ad dollars are flowing into the Des Moines ($284,264), Cedar Rapids ($126,185) and Quad Cities ($121,541) radio markets.

The New Hampshire Primary follows on Jan. 23 which is why Manchester ($170,821) and Portsmouth-Dover ($85,024) are seeing early presidential ad spending on radio.

Drilling down into specific campaign buys, political media planning shop Target Enterprises placed a new radio flight that began Nov. 15 and runs through Nov. 27 in the Presidential election. Ad Impact shows just under half of the ad dollars ($28,830) were invested in news/talk stations. Country radio got 28% of the buy ($16,500) while full service stations are earmarked for 19% ($11,160) with 4% going to news radio ($2,079).

While the race for the White House will capture the greatest attention and about one-fourth of radio’s political bounty, it is the down-ticket races where radio will reap the most political ad buys. Key Senate races will account for large portions of non-presidential dollars. AdImpact has already tracked $781,256 for the Ohio Senate race, where three-term Senator Sherrod Brown is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Republicans see the Ohio seat as one of their biggest targets next year. In the Montana Senate contest, $402,847 has already been allocated to radio in a state seen by both parties as crucial to Senate control. And with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) not running for reelection next year, some $348,318 has already been invested in radio for the West Virginia Senate position.

AdImpact reports total spending in the 2024 cycle has now topped the $1 billion mark as the pace of spending continues to outpace the 2020 cycle. It says $1.06 billion was spent through Oct. 27. That compares to $640 million that was already spent at that point four years ago.

Source: AdImpact, includes dollars booked for ads that ran or were reserved as of Nov. 15, 2023

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