Vote Ad Costs Overestimated, Broadcasters Say

Associated Press

Saying broadcasters are unfairly singled out as a major cause of expensive political campaigns, the National Assn. of Broadcasters said Monday that 1986 congressional candidates spent 24 cents of every dollar on broadcast ads--a total of $97.3 million.

Edward O. Fritts, NAB president, said the figure is far less than estimates that 70% to 90% of the campaigns’ budgets go for media. Some have put forward those estimates in arguments on Capitol Hill on campaign finance legislation.

He said that the NAB commissioned a computerized analysis of the $400 million reported spent by candidates for the Senate and House in the 1986 general election and that its findings undercut those arguments.


Attention Held Unfair

“To single us out--as opposed to other forms of campaign spending--is unfair,” Fritts said at a news conference.

The figures released by Fritts show that the 68 Senate candidates spent 38.9% of their total $189.5-million budgets on radio and television ads--for air time and production costs. That breaks down to $63.8 million to buy air time and $9.8 million for production and media consultants.

The 810 House candidates spent 19.8% of their $210.8-million budgets for similar costs. The portion just to purchase air time was $33.4 million.

The NAB released the figures Monday, before presenting them in testimony today before a House subcommittee studying campaign finance reform.