Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NPR Doesn't Do Commercials

Sort of.

I was over at NPR's site, listening to a Robert Smigel interview (creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) that TAN pointed out, and noticed how their player carries a nice big banner throughout the interview. The actual interview was naturally prefaced with that very affected, almost dead exclusively NPR type voice that announces, "NPR is supported by Mastercard / Toyota / VisitBritain /etc." - and then the announcer tries not to sound like an announcer as he /she reads the company slogan / copy / come on.

When you hear these on the radio, they're fairly innocuous, and you actually believe that NPR is pretty much a non-commercial operation. But when they're doing audio preroll on their website and keeping a giant reminder of their "supporter" (read: sponsor) in front of you for over half an hour, then I think they've gone beyond "listener supported" and become a full-fledged commercial network. But really, I'm not saying anything new.

And besides, as they say in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare got to get paid, son.

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  • It's underwriting. Also, if the banner on the player is ruining your public radio listening experience, turn your monitor off (or minimize the window like I did) while you listen to it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 3, 2007 at 2:04 PM  

  • Yes. Underwriting.

    Not really "ruining my public radio listening experience." More a matter of semantics for me. Underwriting seems like a nice way to get around the word "commercial."

    Remember when you were a kid watching Sesame Street and the most they'd show was the logos of the underwriters?

    "By 1993 or 1994, you began to see the evolution of 'enhanced underwriting,' " said Wayne Godwin, the chief operating officer at PBS.

    ...the new ads sidle right up to the edges of guidelines governing the content of underwriter messages. Many employ images from advertisers' traditional campaigns, while some others include specially adapted marketing slogans. McDonald's is identified as a supporter of "Sesame Street" in credits that end with the company logo and its global ad theme, "I'm lovin' it."

    - NYT, 3/28/05

    But thanks for the tips.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at July 3, 2007 at 3:01 PM  

  • Oh, it’s advertising alright. Asking people for money to help with operating expenses on NPR and most internet radio now is no different than idiot Imus saying “we gotta take a break now to hear from our sponsors and pay some bills.”

    Absolutely no different except one gets funding by the government and one gets hounded by them.


    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at July 3, 2007 at 4:24 PM  

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