Industry group wants radio political ads legalized


For those of you scratching your heads because you just cashed a check from a politician for advertising bought and aired, let us clarify that the industry organization we refer to is the IBI — The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland. And the group is steamed that political ads are OK in Ireland on the internet, but not over the air.

In fact, it is OK for a radio station to place political advertising on its website, but not on its actual station, a situation which the IBI finds to be anachronistic and ridiculous.

According to the Irish Examiner, IBI Chairman Willie O’Reilly told an audience at the group’s annual meeting, “The simple fact is that the internet has made the ban irrelevant.”

He added, “The arbitrary exclusion of some electronic media including radio, but not others, from paid political campaigning is nonsense and it is time for our laws to be brought up to date.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s one thing to take steps to assure that there is a level playing field in a medium operating on a scarce resource such as electromagnetic spectrum. But to take out an advertising medium entirely out of play while allowing others to benefit IS ludicrous. IBI has a case.

We will note in passing that O’Reilly made the case that in the US, Barack Obama made effective use of internet advertising in achieving victory in the race for president in 2008. We’d say Obama made effective use of the internet when it came to fundraising – and that the main effectiveness of this internet success was in funding advertising that went out over the airwaves.

When it comes to reaching a mass audience, broadcasters still get to more people quicker, with a more effective message, than any internet campaign can hope to.