Non Commercial Commercials
It’s not all gloom and doom out there, folks.
Confidence may be shattered, but gullibility remains intact. I was reminded of that when I turned on my local public radio station to find they were conducting their biweekly beggathon--surely, the most bromidic bore in all of broadcasting.
Some clerk was making the usual claim that public radio was non commercial. This was followed by a commercial for Pyjamagrams, delivered to your ever-loving in a de luxe hat box. Then there was another lying cadge followed by another commercial, this one for a dentist who claims to “cater to cowards.”
My local station is dominated by a plugola princess who hosts a food show where she blatantly barters mentions for manna. For instance, she advises listeners that they’ll be treated well on her food tours because she puffs the participating establishments on her program. Not only that, her life partner runs a flackery specializing in--what an amazing coincidence?--food and restaurants!
We couldn’t get away with that kind of cozen back on Hearst’s trashy and utterly corrupt New York Mirror, where I apprenticed in journalistic harlotry. There, if we published a wedding picture of the daughter of the Chevy dealer, we’d have to run it on a different page or day than the ads the dealer bought, lest our whoredom waxed obvious.
Today, the hustlers are in your face and the hustled appear happily clueless. When I point out to my more innocent friends that they regularly run commercials on commercial-free public radio, they’re always surprised and a bit resentful at the revelation. They likewise don’t enjoy contemplating that while commercial radio has only one source of revenue, namely selling spots, non-commercial radio has four: private grants, government funding, individual contributions, and selling spots. No wonder that the public broadcasting execs outshine their private counterparts when it comes to compensation packages.
Noam Chomsky wrote somewhere that it was the gullibility of the middle and educated classes that let our leaders get away with pillage propagandized as patriotism. The poor were either too ignorant or cynical to take it seriously, while the rich knew better since their agents were dispensing the horse hockey. No, it was the great washed and neatly garbed who were educated just enough to get the message but not enough to see through it.
We live in a country where a very large business consists of nothing more than telephoning strangers and bunking them out of their bucks. Another huge industry produces exactly the same products and then packages them at high prices for the impressionable and lower ones for the economical. The scam called public broadcasting is small change next to those. What’s more, its marks can easily afford the few bucks a year that signifies their gullibility. Like the old cons say, it’s a sin to let a sucker keep his money.
From the Horse's Mouth
What is an underwriter or a sponsor?
An underwriter or a sponsor is the term used for an individual or company whose monetary contribution goes to fund the station's programming or operation costs. In return for you dollars, you receive advertising and exposure via our multi-media network.
What is a credit or a spot?
Credit and spot are terms for a commercial. Because public broadcasting is noncommercial, we cannot call sponsor messages "commercials." Program underwriters legally need to be identified, and they deserve recognition for their contribution to the station.
Does public broadcasting only cater to the affluent or upper crust? CPBI prides itself on the variety of programming and outreach that touches many different people.