There are more than two million registered voters in Tampa Bay. Here is the number by county:
- Hernando: 140,935
- Hillsborough: 882,706
- Pasco: 371,297
- Pinellas: 680,054
According to Nielsen, Tampa radio reaches significantly more of these registered voters than all other media, including local television pay-TV, newspaper, social media platforms, and streaming audio sites like Pandora or Spotify.
To be elected, however, requires candidates for every office to share their message with those who are not only registered but who are likely to vote. Advertising on Tampa radio will reach, by far, the most voters who can be counted on to show up on election day.
For candidates challenging incumbents in Tampa Bay elections, radio advertising has shown to reduce any advantage the current officeholder might have.
A study published in the American Journal of Political Science indicates that when challengers for occupied offices advertised on local radio stations, the incumbent's share of votes decreased
considerably from their previous election. The share drop ranged from 3.9% to 7.0%, depending on the amount of radio advertising purchased.
Over the last several election cycles, this loss of voter share experienced by the incumbents in the study could have been enough to sway the election in favor of the many challengers.
Beginning on September 4, through election day, all Tampa radio stations are obligated to offer all candidates for federal office the opportunity to buy advertising at the lowest rates.
Radio stations are not obligated to sell time to candidates for statewide or local offices during that same time frame, however. But, if a station offers to sell time to one candidate for a specific race during that window, it must provide the same opportunity to all candidates for that same office. The rates offered must be the same offered to federal candidates.
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