Thursday, October 11, 2012

Political Ads on TV Hurting Small Businesses

This is from The Hollywood Reporter. Story here.
I discovered today just how much more than annoying those damn television political ads are. They're becoming an economic drain on small companies for reasons I'll explain in a minute.

I had to have my printer ink cartridges refilled today and took them to the Cartridge Exchange in Roanoke County. These guys re-do my cartridges for about half what I'd pay for new ones and they do it in a hurry. Very pleasant, professional people that I am truly happy to support.

Today when I went in, I heard a radio in the background carrying a political ad and mentioned to the young clerk (who's an owner) that "I'm something of a political junkie, but I'm so tired of those damn political ads I could murder somebody." He said, "I've been wanting somebody to say that. These things are really hurting our business."

He went on to explain that his shop had come to lean on limited television ads to keep it prosperous, but during this political season, political ads get preference for airtime, sending other customers--many of them loyal and long-time customers--to the back burner. Not only do the retail commercial customers lose their spots, but the political ads are sold at the lowest prices. Ad sales reps hate them because they both lose their spots (and commissions) and have to deal with upset clients. The stations themselves gain a lot of revenue, but it's bottom-end revenue.

This young fellow told me that his company is struggling right now because its message is not getting out "and you can't do it all online."

I don't know what the solution is here, but I think we can begin by getting money out of politics, which would be good for every body but the billionaires and crooked pols. TV would be required to give a certain amount of time each week to qualified candidates (those with at least a 5 percent base of support, for example). Remember that the broadcast spectrum does not belong to TV stations or networks; it belongs to you and me and we control it. We need to get that control back. The requirements would apply to both radio and television. There would be no political advertising. Not a word.

I think we'd all be happier. I know my friend at the ink store and his friend the editor would be.

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