Santa Claus retired. The Easter Bunny went AWOL. And the Grinch has officially wiped out the financial Christmas being anticipated by members of Wyoming’s advertising media in 2014.
When Liz Cheney bowed out of the U. S. Senate race against Mike Enzi, literally millions of dollars of advertising revenue went up in smoke. It disappeared never to reappear again.
Most members of Wyoming’s media like and support Sen. Enzi. Many were appalled at the idea of a newcomer like Liz taking on such a venerable leader as our Mike. This was a race that obviously should never have happened. Enzi was on pace to slaughter his challenger, no matter how much money she spent.
But oh my gosh, the ad dollars that were going to be spent in Wyoming in 2014 on that race! It had the potential to be the most expensive race in Wyoming’s history. All those advertising dollars would have been spent on Wyoming newspapers, radio and TV. Even local printers would have had a bonanza.
This campaign was potentially so rich it could have qualified as economic development. I have been working for decades promoting economic development on a local and state level. This election cycle money bonanza fit the true definition of such development because so much of the money would have been primary dollars. The term “primary dollars” describes money that comes into an area from outside. Meanwhile money that just percolates and re-circulates around a town is called secondary money. No, this was big-time economic development, especially for the media folks who I happen to know so well.
The feisty and well-connected Liz had already proven she could raise millions on the national scene. And Mike had matched her dollar-for-dollar by the end of 2013.
The Cheney campaign had already dumped a small fortune on Wyoming TV, newspaper and radio in November and December on attack ads against Enzi and for some positive advertisements as she built name recognition.
Some outfits that supported Enzi had run a number of ads against Cheney mainly on TV. You could see this was going to be a world-class media donnybrook. It would be the Niagara Falls of money for statewide media. Not sure any members of the media bought new sports cars or even added units to their presses yet but it was going to be a very profitable year.
I spent over 40 years as an owner of media businesses. And the best time of year was the election cycle. It was easy to sell those ads (cash in advance, please). If you went to the effort of producing special promotions, the potential was almost endless when it came to generating money.
As a newspaper columnist and pundit, election cycles were great fun for me because of the opportunity of writing columns and editorials and even exposes’ about politicians and political issues. Everything about the election cycle was good from the perspective of a media owner.
And 2014 was going to be one of the best years ever.
Alas, it is not to be.
Although the Cheney-Enzi race was not going to personally affect my bottom line, it sure was going to provide some wonderful fodder for future columns.
I had compiled a file folder full of 39 odd stories and items about the race that could be plugged into future columns here and there. But no more.
Liz is already yesterday’s news. She bowed out very quietly. It apparently occurred at 3 a.m. in a subdued news item on CNN.
On the day it occurred the temperature in Riverton was -26. Nancy and I were in San Diego where the mercury was 101 degrees warmer at 75. Nice time to be outside Wyoming.
My phone rang early when a reporter from Casper wanted to confirm that my column back in November revealed that Liz’s 13-year old daughter had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Liz was truly upset about that diagnosis while gabbing with our Fox News All Stars coffee group in Lander. Yes, she was very open in talking about it, I told the reporter.
That phone call was how I heard Liz had dropped out. Then I started to try to find out more about this amazing announcement. One of the biggest Wyoming news stories in 2013 became a totally non-story as the year 2014 rolled in.
And the Christmas-like advertising bonanza during the summer of 2014 never materialized for the media companies in Wyoming. It was gone forever. Bah humbug!
Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at www.billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written four books. His most recent book is “Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders” which is available at www.wyomingwonders.com.