NABOB going after federal ad dollars


Dollar SignThe National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters knows how much government agencies are spending on advertising, and it also knows its members aren’t getting enough of the budget – and it’s taking steps to cure that situation.

The Congressional Research Service estimated that government advertising spend in 2011 was more than $750M, including specifics from several entities:

* The Department of Defense: $473.6M
* The Department of Health and Human Services: $87.6M
* The Department of the Treasury: $50.6M
* The Department of Transportation: $36.7M
* The Department of Homeland Security: $34.7M

NABOB says that Black-owned radio and television stations end up with a very small share, in part because the government agencies use traditional advertising agencies to make placements, with the result that most of the money stays within the “old boy” network.

Other owners don’t even find out about federal advertising campaigns, said NABOB, until they see or here them on competing broadcast stations.

“The federal government has an obligation to inform and educate all of its citizens with its advertising expenditures,” stated NABOB. “If the federal government fails to utilize the advertising vehicles that reach the African American public, it is virtually impossible for the federal government to achieve its informational and educational goals in our communities.”

The organization noted that since its members usually have to charge less for advertising than mainstream stations, the government would not only be reaching an important, currently-overlooked segment of the population, it would be doing so at a very attractive price.

With the goal of bringing in more federal ad dollars, NABOB is urging its members to take the following three steps:

* Contact your members of Congress and ask them – What are you doing to help my station receive a fair share of the $750 million the U.S. Government spends each year on commercial advertising?  (Almost all members of Congress have oversight of one or more federal departments or agencies that place commercial advertising.  All members of Congress can help.)

* Contact NABOB and tell us which member of Congress you spoke with and the response you received.

* Contact the advertising agencies that place advertising for the federal government and ask to be placed on the next ad buy.  Notify NABOB of the response.



  1. Hi, Art — thanks for your comment. And sure — notice that the biggest spender is DOD. Think Bill Murray and Harold Ramis marching around in boot camp. “Army! Navy! Air Force! Marines!” — recruitment is a huge category. There are good reasons for various government agencies to get messages out to the public, and as anybody who covers the FCC knows, putting a press release on the FCC website isn’t going to get to anybody but insiders. So the ability of broadcasters to reach the public is put to use by the govenment just the same as it is for soft drinks…

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