A rate card for advertising time on radio, TV or cable is often a fictitious document. It’s what they’d like to get for the time, not what they’re ready to accept. Ad time is often negotiable, so don’t be afraid to dig in your heels and take a tough line with the rep. Especially in a soft economy, sellers may be more than eager to cut a deal with you: discounts or bonus spots.
If you have an ad agency, make sure they’re pushing the stations for lower rates, too. Many agencies earn a percentage of the buy, so they may not be motivated to save money.
Remember, broadcasters are selling a totally perishable inventory. If a TV station doesn’t sell that 6:30 availability in tonight’s newscast, it’s gone forever. They’ll have to fill the time with a public service announcement which adds nothing to their bottom line.