At the end of August, the eyes of the political world turn to Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention. It promises to dominate the national and local news in Tampa Bay that week and suck all the political air out of the room.
So if you’re the Obama campaign, what do you do? How do you counterprogram Romney-palooza?
Apparently, by buying lots of TV airtime on The Bachelor, Dr. Oz and Rachael Ray.
FCC filings from Tampa Bay-area broadcasters reveal the Obama campaign also is investing heavily in shows such as The Mentalist, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Grimm.
So, even people who are trying to avoid the convention won’t be able to.
“The Obama campaign is making sure there is no escape from the RNC,” says Peter Schorsch, political consultant and author of the political website SaintPetersblog.com.
“I think he just wants wall-to-wall for people who are tuning out politics that week,” he said. “He wants to remind them of the negatives of politics … and Romney.”
People in the Tampa Bay market don’t need much reminding of the negatives of politics.
According to The Washington Post, more has been spent on campaign ads in the Tampa Bay media market ($16 million) between November and the end of July than in any other market in America.
The other market in the swing Interstate 4 corridor, Orlando, had the third-highest total in the U.S. with more than $14 million spent.
There’s no evidence yet that the Obama campaign is spending a lot more money during RNC week. The campaign is already spending a lot, trying to match the Romney campaign and the pro-Romney superPACs.
One more thing: We had a lot of fun in our office debating whether the Obama campaign was targeting women with its ad buys. (Is Dr. Oz targeted toward women? Grimm?)
There’s at least one Obama campaign ad buy that’s targeted toward both sexes: during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL game.
But considering the Bucs dismal season last year, you could wonder if anyone — male or female — will be watching.
Scott Finn is news director at WUSF in Tampa.