Cincinnati media watch
From Robert Novak's column Monday:
Republican political operatives close to President George W. Bush are floating the name of one of his former Cabinet members, ex-Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio, as John McCain's vice presidential running mate.
Portman, at age 52, would be two decades younger than McCain, built a lifetime American Conservative Union voting record in Congress of 89 percent, and has both high-level executive and legislative experience. His biggest asset is coming from Ohio, which was a presidential swing state in 2004 and may be one again in 2008.
After starting in Washington as an aide to the senior President Bush, Portman served 12 years in Congress representing a Cincinnati district and rising to the chairmanship of the House Republican leadership. He left the House in 2005 to become U.S. trade representative and later director of the Office of Management and Budget.
From Broadcasting & Cable Monday
Presidential campaigns can be a mixed bag for local stations. While there is plenty of campaign cash out there-Barack Obama raised a stunning $32 million in January-broadcasters are beholden to strict Federal Election Commission rules that guarantee candidates the lowest unit price for airtime.
"It's a double-edged sword," says Bill Fee, general manager of WCPO, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Cincinnati.
Ohio will hold its Democratic and Republican primaries on March 4 along with Rhode Island, Vermont and delegate-rich Texas. Fee says WCPO received requests for airtime availability from Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama the morning after Super Tuesday.
"Because we're only four weeks out," says Fee, "a [station] will probably have to pre-empt its regular advertisers [for federal candidates], which we are required to do. That is an inconvenience to our advertisers and to the station. So not every political dollar that comes in to Ohio over the next four weeks is actually added money. It's an example of taking two steps forward and one back."
But Scripps, which also owns a station in Cleveland, should reap a windfall because stations in hotly contested states typically sell out every commercial position.