Are You Getting Snookered on Advertising Rates with “Political” Rhetoric?

Are You Getting Snookered on Advertising Rates with “Political” Rhetoric?

John Haggard

Is the media you’re buying playing “political rate games” with you by saying your rate is too low because the rate would “violate the lowest unit rate rule for qualified political candidates?” While your offered rate may be too low in some cases, in other cases your rate would NOT place the station in jeopardy with their political rates and federal rules. (Briefly, qualified political candidates are entitled by federal law to be charged the lowest unit rate that has been charged to any advertiser for a particular time period during a certain 45 or 60-day period leading up to an election based on certain conditions). Often times, to try to get a higher rate from you, the salesperson will say “management said your rate is too low and would violate federal election laws as it relates to lowest-unit rates.” When I have a lot of cash to spend and challenge the rep, I can find quite a different story when it comes to setting rates. Lesson: Don’t let any sales rep “hide behind” political rates with “political” statements. Often times, sales managers want to prop up their rates with a “cushion” and if they can get more money out of you, aren’t they entitled to try? That’s what negotiation is all about. Did you also know by law that you are entitled to see any station’s public file? And guess what’s inside that public file — copies of political invoices and documentation showing lowest unit rates! TV stations are now required to provide access to their political file and associated paperwork on line. Here is an example station’s link: https://stations.fcc.gov/station-profile/wcau/political-files/browse-%3e2012-%3efederal-%3epresident-%3ebarack_obama