Before we dig deeper into Q4, I want to follow-up on my statement of a moment ago of managing for free cash flow, with a quick review of our phenomenal growth on this metric since our 2003 IPO, taking into consideration the two-year political cycles. For the two-year 2003-2004 period, we generated a total of $30.9 million in free cash flow. In the '05, '06 two-year period, that figure grew rose to $41.8 million. In 2007, '08, our free cash flow totaled $54.3 million. And with the results reported this morning, our combined 2009-2010 free cash flow grew to $79.6 million. That, by the way, is an average of $1.40 per share. That's a 46.6% growth over the last two-year cycle. And looking at it on a compound annual growth basis for this two-year period going back to our IPO, our free cash flow compound annual growth rate is 37%.
This, of course, was accomplished despite the 100-year drought year of 2009 and I'd like to add that we've managed our growth over this period without diluting our equity base, which stands at about 28.4 million shares, which is more or less exactly the same as when we completed our IPO.
Now getting back to our fourth quarter. Nexstar strategy is for building new-to-television local direct billings and the overall advertising recovery drove a fifth consecutive quarter of core television advertising revenue growth. Our gross local and national television ad revenue growth was 2.8%. That follows a 7.2% growth in last year's fourth quarter and was achieved even as we allocated significant inventory to political ad spend.
In total, gross television ad revenue, inclusive of political advertising, was up 31.8% to $85.9 million. That represents 515% growth in political ad spend to approximately $22.6 million as our Nexstar stations continue to garner leading shares of political ad spend in our market space on the strength of our local news content.
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