It is one week until Election Day, the one spelled with capital letters. In one week, the U.S. will decide whether John McCain or Barack Obama will be at the helm for the next four years. It is a weighty and intense time, particularly once you take into account the fact that this is one of the most contentious and significant elections in the nation’s history.
So, during this amazing election cycle, happening in the age of digital information systems and the Internet, where does radio stand? Jill Lawrence at USA Today thinks it stands in a very solid position and I am inclined to agree.
“Radio was all but given up for dead,” media analyst Evan Tracey says. “We’re going back to the future.”
Radio ads are cheap to make and run, and easy to target. Obama and McCain ads run the gamut from stem cell research and taxes to Iraq and trade, on stations aimed at blacks, Hispanics, conservatives, evangelicals, news and sports junkies, and hunters.
As Election Day nears, independent groups are making closing arguments and imploring people to vote. In AFL-CIO ads on urban and Spanish stations in 16 cities, celebrities such as rapper Ludacris advise listeners to bring ID to the polls and stay in line even after closing. The American Federation of Government Employees, in a national buy, urges people to disregard race and gender in deciding their vote.
An astounding array of ads have been broadcast, including a historic amount of Spanish language ones. What makes things even more interesting is the independent groups noted in the quote above. In addition to the campaign ads, there are a plethora of special interest groups, organizations, non profits and others that are purchasing air time to get their views across to the working man.
Ms. Lawrence provides quite the overview on how radio is being leveraged by a multitude of groups this election season. Give it a look, seeing who is spending what always makes for an interesting view. Auto makers are getting serious, for instance:
The United Auto Workers union is spending $3 million in six states on TV and radio ads about jobs and health care. “Radio is a very good medium to reach people who work for a living, going back and forth to their jobs,” UAW spokesman Roger Kerson says.