Channeling the waves: the use of radio narrowcasting on niche voting groups in the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial election
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Radio has long been used as a piece of a political candidate's media arsenal at every level of politics. However, our understanding of this widely used, versatile medium has been lacking since a large part of the research on campaign advertising has focused solely on television or has combined radio and television as if they were not two distinct and independent mediums for advertising. The value of radio in a political candidates campaign can be measured in dollars saved in having fewer TV spots and the benefit of being able to reach targeted audiences by using the advertising method of narrowcasting. We know that narrowcasting occurs in an election but there has been little research to show how it is done in a campaign and who is targeted. This paper examines the ads created for Tim Kaine for the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial election. Using a content analysis of the advertisements created for both television and radio this paper shows how groups of radio ads are substantively different than those created for television and that they are intended to address a specified audience. By reaching targeted audiences on the radio the candidate is able to use television to appear more moderate and sidestep speaking about controversial topics in TV ads created for the general electorate.
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