Conservatives Can Be Mooches Too!

“…You’d think that of all people conservatives would remember how businesses operate, but they often “forget” that talk radio survives because sponsors support it. Many of them assume that because you agree with them you’ll push their agenda for free.

I recently had a PR woman send me an email about a right wing climate movie that was coming out, refuting the climate change propaganda. I had heard of the movie and was actually interested in seeing it. She wanted to give me two free tickets and wanted to have the director on. Because I thought the movie had a great message I suggested that to really give it the right punch, we should do a “movie night” for listeners where we gave away tickets and had the whole theater to ourselves. It could have been great! And for all that great publicity she’d only need to buy a small schedule (of ads).

Of course that “wasn’t what she was looking for”. Yeah, I know. After that the movie seemed to vanish. I never heard much more about it anywhere. Perhaps her plan didn’t go over so well at other stations, either. By doing what I suggested in various markets, she would have benefitted her clients far more, but she was strictly looking for free, not effective.

Maybe some smaller markets took the bait and were honored to have the director on, but if you have the budget for PR, you have the budget for radio. PR people do their clients a disservice when they convince them they can get tons of publicity for free. I reminded this PR lady that WE stay on the air because people SPONSOR what we do. She no longer pesters me with her other clients. Bonus.

There are always exceptions when the subject is interesting. For example, in 1986, the entire elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming was taken hostage by a crazy man with a bomb strapped to his body and his equally crazy wife. I had never even heard about it! When “The Cokeville Miracle” movie came out, I was thrilled to speak to a survivor of the incident, who was about 12 at the time, even though they weren’t running a spot schedule, because it was a fascinating story.

Once again, what’s in it for the listener?

On the other hand, you have the right wing and libertarian conventions that charge people a fortune to hear their big ticket speakers. They toss crumbs at gullible radio hosts, offering “big name guests” to say predictable, right wing things, and whose sole purpose is promoting their event without paying for advertising. They never even offer the host free tickets!

Some easily flattered hosts fall for that trick, believing that having “big name guests” on their show makes their SHOW sound bigger, but in reality, they’re just being used by the event promoters. Often they can find some newbie on a low rated station to do the interviews, but if those groups can get away with not advertising, it hurts ALL of us in the long run.

Allowing yourself to be used doesn’t give you status. Most girls figure this out in high school.”

(Excerpt from “Don’t Pat Me On The Head; Blowback, Setbacks and Comebacks in Vegas Radio”, available at

4 replies
  1. Bruce G Wright says:

    Thank you for the insight on business side of Radio and broadcasting in general. Long time fan of you and your selections of guests over the years — Most times the garbage man is much more interesting then the king.


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