The cost of radio time

To be interviewed free, Mr. Holland said, “you have to be a senator. You have to be a president. You have to be a secretary of state. You’d have to be huge. Or you’d have to have influence with us. It’s a gift.”

Sky Radio, which also produces programming for United, Delta, Northwest airlines, charges guests to appear on its public affairs programs. Oracle, Dell, many major tech companies, most of the pharmaceutical companies, and all the big energy companies have paid these fees. One typical appearance went for $5,900.

Now a complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission. Here is the full story, from The New York Times.

My take: Is this really such a big deal? I’m all for disclosure, but we should recognize that most listeners won’t hear, digest, or comprehend the announcement that the content is paid for. That being said, what is the worry? Anyone who pays to be on the radio is likely very boring. So what if listeners hear a steady stream of corporate drones, all claiming that their companies are wonderful? As it is, business scandals certainly get plenty of room on TV and in the newspapers, and I am not afraid of people being brainwashed into becoming followers of Ayn Rand.

By the way, I was once asked to pay to be on the radio. I declined to pay, if only because I thought I was doing them a favor, and in part because I saw no personal benefit from the appearance. I was told that many independent radio stations make their living this way.


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