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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Advertising can get expensive during political campaigns. But heading into this year's municipal election season, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo could benefit from hours of free airtime, thanks to a collaboration with UNC Wilmington.
Public Service and Continuing Studies at UNCW worked with the mayor's office on a new six-part documentary series to highlight economic development in the Cape Fear region. The series will air on the Learning Network, Channel 5 on Time Warner Cable and Channel 12 on Charter Cable, along with the UNCW website over the next few months. Mayor Saffo is the host.
"I think as our elected mayor, I think he's showing leadership and I think he's fulfilling his duty to educate the public," Dr. Tom Barth with UNCW said.
Dr. Barth created the series with help from faculty and students. Saffo helped pick the topics and guests, according to university officials. Barth told us the mayor was a good fit for a piece on the economy of the Cape Fear region.
"I don't need the extra publicity," Mayor Bill Saffo said.
Saffo said the series is less about politics and more about a healthy debate over which industries the Cape Fear region should attract. As for the "face time," he shrugged it off as part of the job description of a mayor.
"Sometimes you're going to get that air time where others may not," Saffo said.
The series will run into August, well after the filing period for municipal elections, which takes place in the beginning of July. It's still unclear if Saffo would even benefit from this exposure, as he won't say publicly if he's running for re-election.
"I'll let you know," Saffo said.
Last week, the Wilmington Star-News interviewed Saffo's campaign manager Louise McColl, who stated that Saffo was running again. Saffo will only say his announcement will come in the near future. No other potential candidates have emerged for the office of mayor at this point.
University officials say there were no costs associated with producing the series in terms of paying funds out. The university used existing studio space and staff.
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