Meredith Broadcasting Sees Impact If Bloomberg Runs

by , Sep 17, 2007, 8:15 AM
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Voters who are disaffected by politics as usual may not be the only ones eager for New York billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg to make a White House run--so are TV station executives.

Paul Karpowicz, head of the 13-station Meredith Broadcasting Group, said recently that Bloomberg's entry would add $2 billion for stations to go after. His campaign could upend the traditional primary process by drowning out the messages of the other candidates.

"Not only do you add $2 billion to the total spend, but just the level of constant activity would change dramatically because he would effectively screw up the mix," Karpowicz said at a Meredith investor event. "The primaries would almost be meaningless."

Meredith pulled in $33 million in political dollars last year during the congressional season--and could do well next year if it attracts major Bloomberg money, or more likely, if the presidential primary system unfolds with South Carolina and Nevada following the Iowa and New Hampshire races.

The company operates the Fox stations in both Greenville, S.C. and Las Vegas.

Karpowicz, formerly the head of the LIN group, said Meredith has worked hard to make its Fox stations more attractive ad venues for candidates. He said White House candidates have begun spending in South Carolina, but not Nevada yet--at least on Meredith stations.

Separately, Karpowicz said the station group with Fox/MyNetworkTV duopolies in Portland, Ore. and Kansas City would be interested in acquiring stations in its other markets, giving it more duopolies. The company is always "looking for opportunities for duopolies."

Some capital could come from the sale of its Chattanooga, Tenn. station, which is on the market.

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