Radio comes into play in Virginia Senate race


Democrat and RepublicanThe election battle in Virginia has two unusually high-powered candidates – it’s not often that two former governors face off for a US Senate seat. One of them has taken to the radio airwaves to press an advantage with a certain constituency.

Democrat Tim Kaine is trying to earn his first term in the Senate. George Allen is trying to win back the seat he lost to Jim Webb six years ago.

Kaine is the one who is using radio, and he’s doing it to reach the female voters in Virginia. He is citing Allen’s past votes and current positions on a number of issues to make the case that they would be much better off with Kaine in the Senate.

Although Kaine has a natural advantage in the female demographic, just as Allen has an edge among males, Kaine’s lead among women in is not as substantial as that enjoyed by Barack Obama in his contest with Mitt Romney.

Hence the use of radio to buck up his numbers.

Radio makes particular sense in Virginia, and especially for Kaine. Some of the prime Democratic territory is in the northern portion of the state, across the Potomac from Washington DC. And a large number of those Virginia residents spend much of their day stuck on the bridges crossing that river and the highways that connect to them as they go to and from work – making them a captive audience for radio broadcasters.

According to a report at, Allen has responded to the ads via a statement from a spokesperson, noting that Kaine would certainly rather talk about women’s issues than the economy.

RBR-TVBR observation: The strategic potential of radio is so enormous we just do not understand why it is not used more often as a primary weapon in more campaign advertising arsenals. In this case, Kaine can make his statement in an expensive market without paying television prices, and he can pick and choose his stations, making use of those that appeal to women and ignoring the others, all while making a relatively small dent in his campaign cash reserves.

Allen should not be relying on a statement for his response, he should grab some radio time himself. It’s cheap and it’s fast, so there’s no reason to let Kaine’s message go unanswered.