Newspapers Television
Costs for a 30 Second Political Advertising Spot in Texas, 2004
Station     Immediately
KPRC (NBC, Houston) $3,000 $9,000 1,848,770
KSAT (ABC, San Antonio) 1,500 3,500 736,240
WOAI (NBC, San Antonio) 1,600 2,750 736,240
KABB (Fox, San Antonio) 750 1,700 736,240
KXAN (NBC, Austin) 3,000 6,000 577,740
KVUE (ABC, Austin) 950 2,500 577,740
KEYE (CBS, Austin) 900 2,000 577,740
KXXV (ABC, Waco) 325 1,700 310,280
KCEN (NBC, Temple) 500 1,000 310,280
KWKT (Fox, Waco) 300 350 310,280
KRGV (ABC, Weslaco) 300 1,200 297,390
KETK (NBC, Tyler) 500 2,250 260,080
KLTV (ABC, Tyler) 675 1,800 260,080
KZTV (CBS, Corpus Christi) 475 950 194,040
KFDX (NBC, Wichita Falls) 525 1,400 158,290
KAMC (ABC, Lubbock) 250 700 152,090
KLBK (CBS, Lubbock) 250 550 152,090
KJTV (Fox, Lubbock) 150 225 152,090
KGNS (NBC, Laredo) 185 280 60,210
KLST (CBS, San Angelo) 190 750 53,980
long description of table

Federal regulations require that television stations charge candidates for federal office their lowest unit rate. This means that political candidates pay no more per unit of time than a station charges its most favored commercial advertiser for the same class and amount of time for the same time period. Since there are many different time slots, variously sized blocks of time, and multiple classes of time, the dollar value of "lowest unit rate" depends on choices candidates make. For instance, advertisers typically have four or more classes of time to chose from. The most expensive is fully nonpreemptible time. A candidate buys a specific time slot on a specific day and the station guarantees it will air the ad at that time. The lowest rate for a specified time slot is immediately preemptible time. A candidate purchases advertising time during a particular time period which may be bumped in favor of higher, more expensive classes of advertising but will run during that time slot on a day when time is available. The cheapest advertising is run-of-schedule time. A station promises only to air the ad as many times as are purchased, but only when the station can work it into its schedule.

Source: Station advertising sales personnel. (full source)