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If you have not seen John Oliver’s expose on the practice of using local newspeople to hawk paid products, then you owe it to yourself to watch. You will see 21 minutes of riveting television featuring news personalities from large market stations pushing all kinds of products, some of which are more than questionable. You will find yourself embarrassed for the talent, the stations and the group owners.
Most embarrassing of all is the pittance it costs to have a news talent expound on the wonderful results one will experience by using (fill in name here).
Sadly, this is not a new practice. During the last of my GM days, I competed against more than one station offering paid endorsements. I knew about it because I constantly had to explain to our salespeople why we were unwilling to do the same thing.
How does it work? The most common way is for a salesperson to offer an advertising client a spot on their “special program” to talk about their business. Technically, the program is not a newscast, which would be fine if news talent were not involved. The problem is that the same people who appear on regular newscasts also host the “special program.”
As Oliver points out, clients are then encouraged to post the “interviews” on their websites.
These arrangements are always connected to the purchase of advertising. Every interview comes with a spot schedule. There is also a