Editor's note: This election cycle,Westword is exploring the public records of television stations for information on how candidates are spending money on ads in Denver.
Our latest dive into the political ad spending records at Denver television stations reveals that President Barack Obama's team is looking to secure votes from the viewers of Judge Judy. In fact, just in ad buys filed this week, Obama has spent upwards of $11,000 on the court show.
When we reported on presidential spending in the Denver market earlier this summer, we found that at several of the major local television stations, Obama's team was outspending the campaign of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Side note: Although stations have always been required to make information on political ad buys publicly available, it wasn't until this month that the the Federal Communications Commission actually started making those records available online (after a lengthy legal battle). For that reason, reporters can peruse these records in the comfort of their offices instead of digging through file cabinets at the stations' headquarters.
Beyond uncovering the incredible amount of money that these candidates and super PACs are pouring into ads -- especially in key swing states like Colorado -- these files give us a hint of campaign strategy and the demographics the campaigns are targeting.
The latest available files online confirm that the Obama campaign -- which put ads on hold in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting -- is back in full swing. (And this internal document shows that they did in fact get credit for the ads that were canceled in the aftermath of the tragedy).
In June, we discovered that Republican Congressional candidate Joe Coors was buying ads during The Big Bang Theory, and the latest information available for Obama's Denver ad spending reveals that Judge Judy is a clear target. And Divorce Court!
At KDVR (Fox31), in four separate ad buy contracts that were uploaded to the new site on Wednesday, Obama's campaign spent a total of $215,575 for ads covering the period from the very end of July through early September. That amount buys the campaign a total of 425 spots.
(It's worth noting that the new FCC rules aren't retroactive, so there isn't any information available on ads or contracts prior to this month. For that reason, the website currently provides us with only a small snapshot of spending).
The contracts are broken down based on the placement of the ads, and in this latest round, Obama ads appear during a range of programming, from Good Day Colorado to sports. In addition, there are 59 spots slated to run during Judge Judy which cost the campaign a total of $11,950.
It seems that the Judge Judy route is an advertising tactic that Obama has used throughout the country, and Denver is obviously no exception.
Page down to see a more complete list of the ad buy records at KDVR as of today. As the Washington Post notes, a show like Judge Judy is watched by a large number of African Americans -- twice the average share for television in general -- and also disproportionately draws Hispanics, a key demographic Obama is targeting locally.
As was clear with Obama's visit to Denver on Wednesday, the president is also strongly pushing women's issues -- mirroring a tactic that Colorado Senator Michael Bennet used to successfully beat Republican challenger Ken Buck in 2010. The Post notes that three-quarters of the daytime television audience is female.
The KDVR file shows us that the Obama campaign has also bought ads during Regis & Kelly, Divorce Court, Judge Alex, X Factor, Hotel Hell, Swift Justice and more. In these four contracts at least, Judge Judy clearly sticks out the most.
At last check, Mitt Romney's campaign has no ad buys on record at KDVR.
It's worth noting that at the other Colorado Fox affiliates, in Colorado Springs/Pueblo (KXRM-TV), Fort Collins (KFCT) and Grand Junction (KFQX), there are no ad buys on record for Obama. That being said, because it's a new system for the stations -- which only has information from the last week-and-a-half -- we'd have to physically visit all these stations to get a better larger picture about campaign strategy.
Read the totals for the KDVR Obama files available online:
Four current contracts
7/31-8/13: 60 spots, $54,750
8/13-9/3, 230 spots, $108,975
8/4-8/10, 75 spots, $29,250
8/11-8/17, 60 spots, $22,600
Total: 425 spots, $215,575
Judge Judy buys within those four contracts
7/31-8/13, 4 spots, $1,200
7/31-8/13, 5 spots, $2,000
8/7-8/27, 16 spots, $2,400
8/7-9/3, 16 spots, $3,200
8/6-8/12, 5 spots, $750
8/6-8/12, 5 spots, $1,000
8/13-8/19, 4 spots, $600
8/13-8/19, 4 spots, $800
Total: 59 spots, $11,950
More from our Politics archive: "Gun control ad in Denver pressures Obama and Romney to take a stand"
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