Monday, June 12, 2006

Value Added

UPDATED: Earlier today we published the item below, based on a story that appeared in the Glens Falls Post-Star on Wednesday 6/7/06. According to sources at WAMC, the story wasn't just a little wrong, it was completely wrong. The station says that they don't make deals like that ---and don't know who brewed up the idea.

It's getting hard these days to tell where the ads end and the content starts. This from the Post-Star last week:
Warren County supervisors agreed Wednesday to spend $9,800 in occupancy tax funds for a year's worth of advertising on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. The money buys 52 weeks of "embedded" advertising during WAMC's morning program, "The RoundTable." In addition to small announcements, discussion of the county and region is integrated into the commentary on the RoundTable show, explained county Budget Officer Nicholas Caimano.
It sounds like this means that the county will get to place guests on the show where they'll promote events and other Warren County tourism initiatives. I don't have a problem with people interviewing a sponsor now and then, but if you interview them because they're a sponsor, that's when things get a tad sticky ---especially if you don't make it clear to listeners about why they were invited. Granted, RoundTable is closer to the Today Show than Newshour with Jim Lehrer, but once guests become part of the show because they've paid up, you start wondering who's newsworthy and who's a client.