"In 2005, the amount spent was $1 billion, according to the General Accounting Office. Currently much of this spending goes to national entertainment media. Some local broadcasters have argued that this could be targeted to local news enterprises without undermining the cost effectiveness of the campaigns, and perhaps even saving taxpayers money. We agree. Targeting existing federal advertising spending to local news media could help local news media models — both commercial and nonprofit, online and off-line — gain traction and help create local jobs, while potentially making taxpayer spending more cost-effective. In the past, it may have been more cost effective to buy national rather than local, but technological improvements have made it possible to easily buy local media placements on TV, in print and online — so that shifting ads to local news media could prove more cost-effective for taxpayers."
Garber's piece includes several links to related articles and reports.