Radio Advertising - Out of Control!

I have been concerned for some time about the amount and objectivity of radio advertising. In order to monitor this, I used a Saitek chess clock to record advertising time vs actual programming time.

Newspapers and magazines are free to devote as much space as they choose to advertising. Government does not, and should not, control these medias. The reader is free to either read or ignore the advertising.

Broadcasting is fundamentally different. There is a limit to the wavelength space available. This requires government regulation, otherwise we would have competing stations broadcasting on the same wavelength. The original licenses granted by the Federal government stipulated that the programming must be in the public interest. Although government has no right to control programming content, I believe it has the right and the obligation to control time allotted to advertising.

Dan's Disks supplies CD's of old time radio programs. Dan's Disks recording of the Bob Hope program of September 11, 1948 illustrates how modern radio has been converted to an advertising medium. The September 11 show, broadcast live, featured two of the biggest stars of the time, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. It also featured several musical numbers with a full orchestra conducted by Les Brown, singing star Doris Day, and a studio audience. It must have required at least a half day rehearsal time and considerable planning.

Of the half hour broadcast time, only 2 minutes and 30 seconds were allotted to advertising. There was only one sponsor, Lever Brothers. The commercials were designed to fit in with the show and were delivered by a cast member.

Contrast that with a 73 minute sampling of Seattle station KOMO taken between 10:00 and 12:00 noon on Sunday November 12, 2006. Station KOMO broadcasts news, traffic, and weather. There is a great deal of repetition with respect to traffic and weather. Six persons, more or less, simply sat at the microphones and read information, or played information previously recorded. Of the 73 minutes, 26 minutes were allotted to annoying recorded advertising.

There is just no justification for this kind of broadcast abuse!