Opinion: Why We Have Commercials
Early this morning on Montana Talks, a caller lamented to me that while he enjoys the show with Aaron Flint, the commercials take away from his listening pleasure. "I am not going to be buying a luxury car. I don't need blinds. I don't even know what 'infusion' is." And even though he said "I won't take up any more of your time," he continued with his monologue even as I was playing a bumper music so Aaron can toss to news and weather.
I get it, I'm not crazy about commercials either. When they come on the TV, I usually use that time to get a snack or go to the bathroom. But I understand that an ad is a way to get a message or special offer to as many people as possible, to attract as much interest as possible with that short amount of time.
Let's get something straight. Advertisers pay for the programming on Montana Talks and all the shows on Newstalk 95.5 and AM 970. Listeners don't. Advertising pays for my hourly wage and Aaron's healthy salary. Listeners don't. A pretty simple economic model. So for this caller and anyone else bothered by commercials, ask yourself a huge question: do you really want that to change?
How shall we fund this radio station? Shall we have pledge drives like PBS and NPR? Full weeks of on-air begging two or more times a year? Have you ever noticed that they air commercials too? Ever paid attention to the lists of foundations that provide grants to public broadcasting?
Should we charge for subscriptions to Montana Talks? How would you like to be billed? Monthly? Annually? Would you like the charge taken directly out of your account?
Dear Listeners, I have a suggestion. Go test drive a Mercedes-Benz at your nearby dealer; you may actually enjoy a luxury car in your life. Try out a Sleep Number bed and get your setting (I tried it a while back and mine is a 30). Consider some flooring, central heating or air, or a hot tub for your home to increase value or quality of life. Please partake in any of the businesses that advertise on Newstalk.
And when you visit, please thank them sincerely for financially supporting Montana Talks and this station. They will be happy to hear from you.