Iowa and New Hampshire broadcast outlets are experiencing a perfect storm: heavy retail demand due to the holiday gift-giving season and the unprecedented early dates for the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. One consultant told the Associated Press that it’s like a hailstorm in a hurricane. The two states moved ahead on the calendar to maintain their lead-off status as other states made changes to try and wrangle a louder voice in the process with an early decision date. The Iowa caucus is now scheduled for 1/3/08 and New Hampshire hits just five days later on 1/8/08. There is time between 12/25/07 and the do-or-die days of the early primary season, but it is far less than campaigns have ever had to work with, and television schedules are expected to be full to bursting throughout the month.
Speculation abounds that it may be a particularly dangerous time for jarring negative advertising run against a backdrop of messages focusing on holiday cheer. Some think that interest groups not directly associated with candidates may fill the negative gap, further putting strain on station avails.
RBR/TVBR observation: Radio stations will be afterthoughts to most political operatives, so the case for your station should have been made yesterday. More importantly, this is the perfect opportunity to target local businesses that often rely on local television but are finding themselves crowded out. Show them results for a decent price and you may very well add a new member to your year-round client base.