Time was you could legally program “only”18 minutes of commercials in an hour of radio. Now the number seems like dozens.
You know this has happened to you: You’re in the car for a five minute drive. You turn on the radio. They’re doing commercials, usually bad ones. You arrive at your destination and they’re STILL playing commercials.
Doctor Joy Browne can hardly get out “Pretend to be cheerful and stupid” between breaks. Rush can hardly ask “What do you call a woman who wants to be paid for sex?” between breaks. And poor Michael Savage no longer has time to build up the head of steam for his famous temper tantrums between pitches for gold sharks and miracle beet juice.
Sad times in radioland. Ads for airlines and banks have been overrun by ads for lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases and class action suits against pharmaceuticals, credit report services, payday loans and debt “counselors.”
The ads are cheaply made and cheap to buy. Sometimes they’re even free because the station doesn’t get paid by the minute, it gets paid by the number of callers to its toll free number. No calls = no money.
And while everyone is keeping a suicide watch on the AM dial, the FM band is suffering too.
Part of that watch was sparked by all the new media: satellite radio, internet streaming, iPods, MP3s and CD players. People have much more choice than even a few years ago. But a lot of listener desertion is because the programming is garbage.
The rotten ads drive away the good ones. Put yourself in CitiBank’s position. Would you want to be in an ad environment dominated by screaming furniture discounters, peddlers of phony trade schools and an endless line of insurance companies?
No, you would not. So you take your dollars and spend them elsewhere. Or don’t spend at all.
Television is just as bad. First it’s an ad for a new miracle cure for psoriasis followed by a high speed reading of side effects ending in the words “...and death.” Followed immediately by a lawyer’s spiel about a class action suit on behalf of the estates of people who died using the drug.
There are a few big ads out there. But how many times a day can you take the Oxyclean man?
Shaquille O’Neal: We love you. But you’re wearing out your welcome with marathon runs for Gold Bond, Icy Hot, the Boys and Girls Club, and now General Insurance.
George Foreman: We loved to hate you in the ring. We love to love you when you pitch your namesake cooking appliances. But what do you know about your “...friends at Inventhelp?”
Flo: Go. And take that stupid and creepy talking box with you.
Arnold Palmer: Drive that golf cart into a water hazard, preferably one with a gator in it.
Montel Williams: Shame on you!
If the aircraft manufacturing industry ran like the ad industry, the NTSB would need a budget as big as the Pentagon’s and to hire 120,000 new crash investigators.
Today’s Quote: “Don’t put your head under water.” -- Valerie Harwood, chair of the Integrative Biology Department, University of South Florida, with advice for Olympic athletes competing in Rio.
I’m Wes Richards and I approved this message, but not enthusiastically. And watch out for side effects and political mudslinging.
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© WJR 2016