Outside groups paying more for same campaign spots

Obama campaign gets price break, rival’s allies don’t

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The 6 a.m. “Good Morning Cleveland” program in one week ran 185 political ads, enough to fill 181/2 minutes of the one-hour broadcast each weekday, costing $115,000. The 5 o’clock news program was almost as crowded, at 173 ads, and more expensive, at $200,000.

The state is not just a presidential battleground, but is seeing an expensive race between Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel, the Ohio state treasurer.

WEWS-TV is far from an outlier: It has had the 12th-most ad buys in the country, and Cleveland ranks only 12th among the nation’s largest media markets in ad buys.

Mr. O'Brien said despite rules requiring candidates to get the same rate as “our favorite advertiser,” the crush of political ads is a boon for stations because the demand drives up the rate for those advertisers, too.

“The rules are the rules, but a high tide raises all boats,” he said.

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