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Gun control ads enrich local TV stations

April 12, 2013

Local television stations pocketed more than $332,395 in recent months by airing commercials from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group, and from a free-market foundation opposing Obama administration policies.

Bloomberg-financed Mayors Against Illegal Guns spent $232,702 in March and April in the Indianapolis TV market, according to FCC filings by the stations. The largest spend was with WISH-TV Channel 8, which received $88,450.

WTHR-TV Channel 13 raked in the second-highest total, collecting $77,540.

Bloomberg’s coalition includes Indiana mayors in Angola, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Gary, Muncie and South Bend.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, did not join the group led by independent Bloomberg, whose other controversial crusade has been to crack down on sales of large-portion soft drinks in New York City.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter noted that the ads address proposed federal legislation coursing through Congress, and that Ballard prefers to keep his focus local.

“Mayor Ballard and [Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department] are focused on addressing the root causes of gun crimes in our city and that means pursuing and cracking down on violent gangs and drug dealers who primarily get their guns on the street and aren’t concerned with the law at any point in the process,” added Lotter.

Meanwhile, the Virginia-based Americans for Prosperity dropped nearly $100,000 on local TV station spots criticizing the effects of federal policies on the economy and other issues. Most of that amount was spent at NBC affiliate WTHR, which received $44,600, according to station records. WISH-TV billed $22,700 in Prosperity group ads.

Political battles can be a boon for TV station budgets. For example, spending on TV ads in the race for Indiana's open Senate seat between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly topped $25 million last year.
 

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