Why did the Cochran campaign pay Rip Daniels’ Radio Station nearly $10,000 for endless radio ads?
The GotNews.com analysis of pro-Cochran media expenditures on African-American radio stations has thus far focused almost entirely on ads from “All Citizens for Mississippi”, a shadowy group funded entirely from Haley Barbour’s “Mississippi Conservatives” PAC and whose media buys were financed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee via Jon Ferrell of National Media in Alexandria, Virginia.
In this research, we also found ads from Pastor Arthur Siggers from the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, paid for by “Friends of Thad Cochran.” At one radio station in Greenwood, Siggers signed the legal paperwork “on behalf of Thad Cochran.”
One African-American station in Gulfport, Mississippi, however, reported no ads from “All Citizens for Mississippi” but did have paperwork for an ad from “Citizens for Cochran” signed by Cochran media buyer Maggie Clark for 235, thirty second ads, over the last ten days at a rate of one spot per hour, 24-hours a day.
The station, WJZD, is owned by controversial Gulf Coast businessman, Realtor and left-wing Democrat Stanley “Rip” Daniels. Daniels, who serves as the Vice President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Tourism Commission and host of the controversial morning talk show “It’s a New Day”, is best known outside the Coast for trying to change the Mississippi State Flag in a 2004 referendum.
“What’s odd about the purchase order,” political media consultant Rick Shaftan told GotNews.com, is that “besides the ridiculously large number of spots placed, the dollar amount is absolutely ridiculous for a station this size and the net amount paid to the station makes no rational sense.”[envira-gallery id=”6687″]
“The only explanation for any of this was a payoff to Mr. Daniels for some unknown purpose,” Shaftan said.
Political candidates, Shaftan explains, are entitled to the Lowest Unit Rate paid by any advertiser on the station. And while some stations offer non-preemptible rates for advertisers, “no federal candidate would pay those rates, particularly in a runoff election where nothing else was on the ballot. Every spot placed at LUR will clear,” he said.
Shaftan, who has been placing political media for more than twenty-five years in his role as Senior Analyst at the New Jersey-based Mountaintop Media, noted that the amount on the purchase orders was “grossed up” to reflect the 15% agency commission that Clark’s firm received because WJZD only has a net rate card.
So on the order, a morning drive spot with a net price of $45 was listed as $52.94. There’s nothing wrong with that, says Shaftan, because the $7.94 commission is then deducted on the bottom when the net amount is figured.
The gross sum on the Cochran purchase order totaled $10,016.58 which should translate to a net amount of $8,514.09, not the $9,967.18 listed.
“It makes no sense.”
Shaftan says the Purchase Order looks more like a fake bill to justify an amount near $10,000 than a serious purchase order.
He notes, for example, that the campaign bought 50 overnight spots and paid a total of $1176.50 for these ads, or $23.53 each.
“If the campaign paid more than a buck for those ads they got ripped off,” Shaftan said.
“The station’s audience along the Gulf Coast just isn’t big enough to sustain that kind of spending,” Shaftan said. “This is more of a payoff than anything else and without a doubt the campaign paid far more than the political rate card for these ads.”
“Between the insanely large amount spent on this one station, the insanely large number of ads and an insanely inflated net amount where the campaign essentially gave the station an additional $1,453.09 indicates a pattern that purchasing airtime for the Cochran campaign was not the purpose of this buy,” Shaftan added.
“With the Cochran campaign being tied directly to so-called Independent Expenditures through Pastor Siggers of Hattiesburg, a street money scandal involving tens of thousands in cash whose destination is unknown, and this obvious payoff to Rip Daniels, it’s obvious so many laws were broken here that the only acceptable solution is either to declare McDaniel the winner or have a new runoff election,” Shaftan noted.