TV Stations Eye Campaign Spending Windfall

By Johnson, Ted | Variety, April 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

TV Stations Eye Campaign Spending Windfall


Johnson, Ted, Variety


April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court's latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations.

The high court's 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates in an election cycle, as well as the $74,600 limit on contributions to political parties. Spending on political advertising has spiked during the past four years since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010 removed restrictions on contributions to independent committees that advocate for or against candidates.

The windfall of money, almost all of it regionally targeted to local television and radio, has been a factor driving the rush of TV station mergers and acquisitions during the past two years. Deep-pocketed broadcasters such as TYibune Co. …

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