Forecasters called for record-shattering political ad spending this year and radio participated in the windfall. Based on results from the third quarter and the month of October, most publicly traded radio companies told investors on their quarterly earnings call they expect 2020 to surpass previous in-house records for the category.
At iHeartMedia, political put $40 million on the books in Q3 and another $55 million in October. “This will be by far the biggest political year that we’ve ever had,” President and COO Rich Bressler said during the company quarterly results call. All told, iHeart execs said they expect political to be up 67% from the presidential election of 2016. The impact can be seen in three battleground states. Total October revenues in Michigan were up 25% year over year, Florida grew 14% and Wisconsin increased 12%. “While there was clearly unevenness in the political spend by geography, our results demonstrate the value of a broad distribution of markets,” CEO Bob Pittman said.