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Political Ads Hitting Online Radio Stations

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

We're just three weeks from the Iowa caucuses and that means presidential hopefuls are doing all they can to get their name out there. This election they're targeting social media users like never before.

26 year old Dana Fride is busy with finals all this week.

“I am writing ethnography on my media consumption,” Fride said.

She admits Pandora internet radio is helping her pass the time.

‘Usually daily, wide range of stations, from my favorite stations to lately Christmas music,” said Fride.

Music that every once and awhile gets interrupted by ads.

“Usually when I’m listening I’m doing something else too so I don't pay too much attention,” said Fride.

The ads feature a variety of products: cars, websites and clothes. But recently users have been seeing political ads of Presidential candidates targeting music users, asking for your vote.

“What Pandora does is allows them to do something cheaper that actually doesn't go over the airways so it's outside the regulation patterns,” said political science professor Dr. Randall Atkins.

Atkins says campaigns are receiving more money, which means they are placing more ads across different platforms.

“They can really target the groups of people that they want. As a result of that they get a lot more bang for their buck,” said Dr. Atkins.

And that bang is spreading, based on what website you visit articles you "like" and music you listen to. Thus targeting a more specific audience.

“I think that we're really beginning to see the internet really take root. It's taken off before but now it's taking root,” said Dr. Atkins.

And it’s taking root in the ears of voters like Fride.

“When it comes to Pandora, and social media and YouTube and everything I think it's huge,” said Fride.

Atkins says advertising is nothing new and neither are negative ads but what makes internet ads on Pandora interesting since it doesn't hit the airways, it's not regulated and it's a lot cheaper.


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