Political ad spigot opens early


There are some signs that the flow of TV political ad dollars for 2004 campaigns may start as early as fourth-quarter 2003, which would be unprecedented.

Gannett Co. Inc. chairman Doug McCorkindale told investors he was at a dinner in Washington, D.C., last week where some "political types" indicated that "the White House wants to start advertising early."

Officials at the Television Bureau of Advertising have been hearing "from a number of different stations" about inquiries they've received about the early availability of political ad time.

Estimates are that political time will surpass $1 billion for the 2004 races -- $700 million was spent in 2002.