Nexstar Says It Will Host Almost 50 Midterm Election Debates

Tim Ryan debates J.D. Vance at Nexstar's WJW-TV in Cleveland
Ohio U.S. Senate candidates Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance debate at Nexstar's WJW Cleveland. (Image credit: Nexstar Media)

Giant broadcaster Nexstar Media Group said the stations it operates will host nearly 50 statewide and local candidate debates and forums as part of its political coverage during this midterm election cycle.

In the key states of Ohio, George and Pennsylvania, Nexstar stations will air the only debates among the candidates for U.S. Senate. Its stations will also show the candidates for governor facing off in Texas and Illinois.

Nexstar's activity comes in a year that will be marked by record campaign spending, most of which will go to local broadcasters. Nexstar had $86.7 million of political ad revenue in the second quarter and said political ad revenue was pacing 40% ahead of 2020 levels.

"Every day, Nexstar stations help strengthen our communities by providing a trusted platform where people can discuss local issues, learn about their neighbors and gather in times of celebration or in times of difficulty," Nexstar president of broadcasting Andrew Alvord said. "This midterm election season, Nexstar is proud to harness the power of our scale and resources to bring more candidate debates and forums to prospective voters across more platforms than ever before.

"As always, our award-winning news anchors and reporters remain committed to serving the interests of voters across the country by delivering exclusive local news content and unbiased political coverage that enables them to make informed decisions on election day," Alvord said.

Debates will be seen on 88 Nexstar stations in 22 states. The company is also providing access to the events to some TV and radio stations it doesn't own.

In Pennsylvania, a debate between Senate candidates John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz will be hosted by Nexstar's WHTM Harrisburg. In addition to Nexstar's stations in Philadelphia and four other markets in the state, the debate will air on Cox Media Group's WPXI Pittsburgh.

Some of the debates have also aired nationally on Nexstar's NewsNation cable channel. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.