Thursday, August 14, 2003
I don't listen to talk radio much, but I'll catch pieces of a show here and there on occasion. And here's something that's been bugging me for a while: why all the ads? It seems like there's at least equal time split between ads and content. Now, I can understand low-reach, local shows airing at 10 AM weekdays having that kind of scheduling: their audiences are limited, ad rates have to be low, so they cram lots of cheap ads into the mix and hope to break even. That's straighforward enough.

But then, it seems like the same production values are present at national shows with established names hosting them. I mean, surely Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity can command premium rates, allowing them to have fewer ads at higher prices? Even the local affiliates -- at least those in large cities -- ought to be able to sell that airtime to bigger clients at higher prices, resulting in fewer ads that are of higher production quality (read: less irritating). Yet we still get what seems like 3-5 minute show segments, interrupted by 2-3 minute series of ads for "memory programs," "vocabulary builders," Gold Bond, herbal products, and other assorted infomercial refuse. What's the deal?

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