The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

State News

April 14, 2013

Indy TV stations cash in on gun control debate

INDIANAPOLIS — Television stations in Indianapolis have made more than $300,000 in recent months by airing commercials on political issues — most of that from commercials endorsing gun control.

About $230,000 made by local TV stations in recent months came from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control group. An additional $100,000 was spent by the Virginia-based Americans for Prosperity on ads criticizing President Barack Obama's policies.

The Indianapolis Business Journal obtained the figures from FCC filings by the stations, whose signal covers a broad swath of central Indiana.

Political battles can be a blessing for TV station budgets.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns spent more than $232,000 in March and April in the Indianapolis TV market, according to the FCC filings. The largest amount spent by the Bloomberg group was WISH-TV, which received $88,450.

Mayors in the Indiana cities of Angola, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Gary, Muncie and South Bend belong to Bloomberg's coalition.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, did not join the group.

Ballard's spokesman, Marc Lotter, said the mayor prefers to avoid federal issues and maintain a local focus.

"Mayor Ballard and (Indianapolis police) 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," Lotter told the IBJ.

Americans for Prosperity spent nearly $100,000 on spots criticizing the effects of federal economic and other policies. The largest chunk of that went to WTHR-TV, which received $44,600, according to station records.

Spending can soar in election years. For example, spending on TV ads in last year's Senate race between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly topped $25 million.

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