KTUU Tops Nation in Senate Spots Aired

KTUU, the NBC affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska, ran more Senate ads in the 2014 election cycle than any other station in the country, 13,200 according to the Center for Public Integrity's analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data through Oct. 27, 2014.

According to the GM, factors contributing to that flood of ads included oil, pot and salmon.

It helps that Sen. Mark Begich was in an incredibly close race--he was behind but had not conceded at press time--where votes in the state's largest city will help determine the outcome. But there are other close races, and only one top station in terms of Senate spots.

KTUU president and GM Andrew MacLeod says it was a combination of things, including the station's strength in local news.

MacLeod says the political ad total, including House ads, was 16,406 in 2014 alone if you include both their paper file (January through June) and their online file hosted by the FCC (July-November).

But MacLeod suggests it is more than simply one close race and one strong station.

"The ad load reflects a perfect storm of sorts on major races and issues on the ballot in Alaska," he told B&C, "coupled with the station's unparalleled audience strength as Alaska's news leader [Nielsen figures supplied by the station bear out that characterization]."

He says in addition to the Senate race, where Dem. Mark Begich was predicted to be in danger of losing the seat, MacLeod points out that there was "an oil severance tax issue, a vote on marijuana legalization and a ballot issue on mining development that would limit large scale development in the salmon rich Bristol Bay region."

"The station's history as a news leader that is constantly improving its products pays off when a political season heats up," he adds.

But other stations do news. "[KTTU] is constantly building news. Channel 2 News reaches 82 percent of the adults 25-54 that watch news in a week, three quarters of whom are exclusive viewers and will only turn to Channel 2 News," he says. "That strong reach and brand loyalty makes it a uniquely powerful platform for our client's advertising."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.