Monday, November 09, 2015


Does the public know what programs are infomercials?

I've always had a problem with infomercials.   While I know they are something that is inevitable in today's broadcasting environment, I think there is a line not to be crossed.

 I don't have a problem with CNBC using weekend overnight time to run Time/Life commercials.

 The problem is there is a lot of programming that the public does not know is actually an infomercial  .Is the Phantom Gourmet a "paid program"? (I don't know, does the audience? Is it even on the air anymore?). Are they paid for the reviews they air? Do those that pay get good reviews and nice things said about them? The public should know.

 A few years back, the talk stations decided they would sell weekend time to infomercials. WTKK did it, WBZ did it...and WRKO as well. Mostly financial shows (where the magic word is "annuities" and "irrevocable trusts".) Some are better than others. But, again, there is not a clear distinction that the show is a "paid program. The main reason for it's existence is not ratings, or to serve the public with professional advice, but to be marketing and create clientele for the host.

 The Globe had this pretty thorough article.

  Financial radio shows blur line between advice, marketing

“They [financial advisers] buy the time in order to sell their services,” Simon said. “Radio stations tend not to be very well-equipped to investigate, nor do radio stations necessarily want to investigate as much as they want the check to clear.”

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