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Briefings: The Last Advertised Gasps of the 2023 Cycle in Springfield…

UPDATED: 11/2/23 9:09PM: After this post was originally published, Hurst reserved television ads on WWLP and WGGB with a combined value of $6400 and for a correction. A previous version of this story did not include all of Council candidate Juan Latorre’s ad buys.

Domenic Sarno

In the mayor’s race, there is only one on the screen in the general so far. (created from Google images & WMP&I photo)

As the Springfield 2023 cycle meanders to conclusion, only a few candidates appear to be dominating the air war. Several at-large City Council candidates, including several who advertised during the preliminary, have also bought ad time. In the mayor’s race, however, the incumbent, Domenic Sarno, largely has the air to himself as October concludes.

Sarno depleted his massive war chest during the preliminary. Yet, he still has considerably more money than at-large Councilor Justin Hurst, who along with the mayor, survived last month’s preliminary. That has allowed Sarno to finance regular ads, mostly on news shows, throughout October and into Election Day.

Hurst could still buy ads and the nature of the region’s market means he likely will not pay too much more for buying them late. However, Sarno has been running his corny missives all this month.

The mayor’s race may be a somewhat one-sided on the air. But as of this posting, at least four candidates, including one incumbent, are advertising on television and/or radio. The five-seat at-large race drew a massive field since Hurst and outgoing Council President Jesse Lederman were retiring to run for mayor.

Under buys placed at the beginning and middle of October, Sarno placed ads on WWLP starting October 10 through Election Day. As with the preliminary, these mostly air during local and national news programming, save the Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! 7pm hour. The two buys total nearly $39,000 before commission fees.

On WGGB, Sarno has reserved about $20,000, before commissions, throughout October and into November. Again, the ads are primarily scheduled to appear during local and national news programs. The mayor reserved another $3,010 pre-commission on cable. All cables ads are for CNN.

The mayor has also bought ads on WAQY, the classic rock station in Springfield. The ads have been running since October 23. As with the mayor’s television ads, the WAQY ads run through Election Day. The total reservation has a value of $1.980 before commissions.

Justin Hurst

Time is running out for Hurst to get back on TV. (created via WMP&I and wikipedia images)

Sarno has pushed several Facebook posts as ads in the general election, too. However, many are for less $100, complicating estimates of their total cost. It could be as much as $1,500 or well under a thousand. Hurst is advertising on Facebook, however. He has spent between $200 and $400 on ads in the general. While only some of Sarno’s Facebook ads have video, all of Hurst’s do. One, a minute long, could become a TV ad.

The Council candidates who have bought ad time include incumbent Kateri Walsh and challengers Juan Latorre, Gerry Martin and Brian Santaniello. Of the three, only Santaniello, who had served on the body last millennium, has bought ads across all broadcast mediums. He can afford it. The onetime councilor lent his campaign $10,000 this month, his second such self-loan in a month. He has lent his campaign $34,000 overall.

Federal filings show Santaniello reserved about $3,000 in ads on WGGB, all during news. He also bought a little under $500 in WSHM, the low-powered CBS affiliate and sister station to WGGB. He also bought $5,000 in ads on WWLP during news programming.

Santaniello appears to have also bought nearly $9,700 on cable ads spread across multiple networks, including CNN, Fox, HGTV, and MSNBC. He also reserved another $1,320 on WAQY ads.

All of Santaniello’s ad reservations begin this week and run through election day.

Martin, like Santaniello, had advertised in the preliminary. For the general election, he is advertising on WWLP and WGGB. Unlike most candidates, Martin is spending more on WGGB—which is the less expensive and lower-rated station—than on WWLP. He reserved $1,423 on WGGB for news and Family Feud. His WWLP spots appear during local news and Judge Judy and have a value under $500.

Walsh, the only incumbent who has bought airtime, is only advertising on WWLP according to federal filings. Her $2,360 buy begins on Halloween and runs through the Monday before Election Day. Like all the others, she is advertising during local and national news. She will also air ads during Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Finally, Latorre, a challenger who also ran in 2021, had a reservation of $2,820, before commissions, on WWLP. The aids will air during morning, noon and evening news. However, he also had a more modest buy on WGGB and WSHM October 18-22 of $440. He has reserved another run of ads for this week that as of this posting has a value of $400.