Radio Will Get $400 Million in Political This Year


The 2019-2020 federal election cycle is expected to generate $6 billion in political advertising, according to a new study by Kantar. Radio is expected to get $400 million of that. And unfortunately out of the big four, that is the smallest piece of the political ad spend pie. Here’s how Kantar breaks it down.

We’ve heard it over and over again. We’ve written about it far too many times. Radio executives have said for years that radio does not get what it deserves when compared to its R.O.I. and time spend with the medium. We’ve consistently heard, “Radio is punching below it’s weight class.” The latest additions to the story are that TV is getting too fragmented, consumers are cutting the chord, and digital is mostly click bait and fraud.

You would think, at least, with the low hanging fruit on the advertising tree – political – radio could pull in more dollars due its consistently big numbers that Nielsen tells us about and study after study proving significant Return on Investment for advertisers. If you believe Kantar Media it’s not going to happen this political season.

Kantar projects a significant overall increase in political spending this season. How could you not with 20 Democratic candidates running for President where two nights of debating is needed? Television will get the majority of the money at $3.2 Billion, Digital and Cable TV will get $1.2 Billion each and radio comes in at $400 million.


  1. Not sure who Kantar is, but the pie chart is a bit…ah… primitive?

    What about direct mail? DM normally gets the lion’s share of local political–sent through the US Post Office.
    Oh, I thought thought that high-tech and digital ruled.

  2. Meanwhile, The Radio Advertising Bureau-the RAB-is honing it’s sights on teaching stations radio stations how to put together websites. That way, the RAB doesn’t have to make calls on agencies that buy political time. If the RAB is still making it’s media-mix presentations urging clients to “buy a little radio” as part of it’s TV-heavy plan, that’s probably a good thing.

  3. And most of radio’s share will be spent on news-talk, and sports stations. The dinosaur political consultants still think it is 1975. Hence all the money going to OTA TV. And most of them seem to think people who listen to music stations don’t vote.


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