I learned something about interviews on your local tv Morning/Afternoon talk shows.

I recently saw a Good Morning Arkansas interview segment on my local ABC station. The show runs from 9-10 weekdays. They also have Miday from 11:30-12 and Afternoon 2-3 shows.

The interview I saw featured the owner/operator of Searcy Conway Institute of Music. They discussed the schools private classes and students. One of the students played a short piece.

Here it is. There’s No indication it’s a paid segment.

I found it interesting. My piano teacher recently opened a school in a different town. I mentioned to her that she should apply to get on that show.

She said their ad Dept had already contacted her a few times. It costs several thousand dollars. :eek:

I’ve seen segments like that my entire life and never knew those people paid to get their business featured.

I had always thought it was just interesting content produced for local interest. They have to fill that hour of air time somehow.

Maybe they give charities a discount?

Anyhow, I learned something this week.

OK, I never knew that. Another bit of my innocence is lost.

Wonder if it has always been this way, or is this something that started in the 90s or 00s?

Payola is as old as the hills. In 2011, On the Media did a piece on this, featuring an article by Washington Post journal Paul Farhi, who said that since 2000 the laws against this are rarely enforced.

I’m wondering now which interview segments are free and which are paid

I’d assume any business related interview would pay just like the music school in my OP.

I’ve seen local musicians interviewed and they play a live song. One in particular had just signed a contract in Nashville. Maybe his manager paid?

Just don’t know.

I see charities around the Holidays. Toys for Tots, Winter Jacket Donation for kids etc. I hope they aren’t charged

My (non-profit) curling club is often featured on local news and human-interest programs, especially every four years at Winter Olympic time. Nobody has ever asked us for payment. If they did, we’d throw them out on their ear.

Maybe it depends on the station’s policy?

Nothing new. And not just TV. When we were selling expensive software we took ads out in a trade rag (a good one) and I got interviewed by the editor for a piece and later I placed a piece I wrote. Not a sales pitch directly - you build up the need for a product and say it can be satisfied by tools like yours.

There’s a poster here that’s a reporter for a local station. Anyone remember his name? He might be willing to comment.

You might be surprised at how many local radio “talk shows” are actually paid programming.

The local news channel I watch in the mornings has a surprising number of pieces that come across as promotions – a new product being introduced at a fast food place, for example. If they’re charging anything, I’m guessing it’s cheaper than paying for advertising.


Why do you (Acey?)think all the talk shows get their guests? Of course you know that they are there to plug the latest movie/book/album. The promoter/manager behind this isn’t paying the Network or Jimmy Fallon anything, but they’re scratching each other’s backs: interesting guests make for more viewers, a good host helps sell the latest project*.

Now, moving down the food chain, your local station is not going to get viewers to stay past the next commercial break for a local piano teacher, but it might make for some nice human interest filler, and if they’re paid some money, well…

Old media has been hemorrhaging money to FB and Google for a decade. Any revenue that will keep the lights on will be welcome.

*This is why Letterman was such a great host. If he could do away with the promo part, he usually did, as much as possible. The guests seemed relieved too, as answering the same press junket questions a bajillion times tend to wear them out.

Typical Dave interview with Movie Star plugging the latest release:

DL: Hey, welcome. It’s been a while.
MS: Yeah, you know…
DL: I see that you have a tan in January, been on vacation?
MS: Well I took the kids down to Baja California over the holidays…
DL: Wow. How was that…?
(a few minutes of bantering that is NOT about the movie)
DL: You have a new movie coming out this Friday, let’s look at the clip.

I live in the same market as the OP and I have run into this issue too. Our local Shakespeare festival offered to do a spot on one of the talk shows and they told us that those spots go to companies that spend a certain amount in advertising.

The irony is that often the performers are less than stellar and actually negatively affect my option of their company.

I work at a TV station, and am somewhat involved with the commercial side of it. If that was indeed a paid segment, legally there must be a disclaimer stating “sponsored by…” on screen. It need only be shown for a few seconds, as a graphic, at the bottom of the screen. If there is any question as to whether a viewer will not recognize something as a paid commercial, we add that graphic. The same holds true for paid religious broadcasts and infomercials. I skimmed through that segment and didn’t see any disclaimer. Not every station has the standards we do, however. We are a heritage station owned by one of the largest and most prominent broadcasting companies, and the standards are high. I can tell you that our news department would never allow our anchors or reporters to shill for an advertiser, and the sales department knows enough never to ask it.

Is your station independent, or is it owned by one of the major corporations like Fox or Sinclair?

An NBC affiliate, owned by neither of those companies. (I would rather not say who I work for.) Sinclair is in the market, though, and runs the lowest-rated network affiliate. They have so much turnover they are constantly advertising for employees.

There are a lot of prominent television broadcasters that are not Fox or Sinclair. They just happen to be the ones you hear most about.

I posted a similar thread a few months ago, only my case was even worse IMO because it was the evening news, and there was definitely no disclaimer. But the big “news” was a new menu item at Taco Bell. :dubious: I think if we just shrug this kind of thing off, we deserve what we get, which is basically to live in the movie “Network”.

That’s outrageous. I can see no excuse for that. A few years back, me, my boss and an account executive had a meeting with a marketing company representing one of those replace-your-bathtub-in-one-day places. They had a “great idea.” They wanted us to do live 60-second commercials all day showing an actual installation, to demonstrate how quickly it could be done. And they wanted one of our consumer reporters to be their spokesman in these commercials. My boss told them quickly and firmly that our reporters do not do commercials under any circumstances, and that 60-second live commercials were totally impractical. It was as if the air was sucked out of the room. That was their “great idea,” and they had no fallback, no Plan B. The client and their marketing company left in a very sombre mood and the account exec, who should have known better, was given a talking-to. I was relatively new on the job and was thankful my boss was there to shut it down in its tracks. Since then I’ve learned that marketing people can be some of the most lamebrained on the planet.

I am relieved to hear someone in the business agrees that it’s outrageous! They just “reported” it the same as any other real news story: starting with the anchor and a little box above her shoulder, then going to B-roll of the new menu item as she continued to narrate. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This is in Fargo, BTW (although I live across the river in Minnesota): not sure which station but probably “Valley News Live”, as it comes on after “Jeopardy”.

ETA: If a Democrat wins next fall, I may report them to the FTC in 2021 if I see it again; but I feel like there is no point right now.

These kinds of “<City> Today” shows aren’t really news shows, so I’m not sure if they have to follow any standards. If you don’t have one in your city, they’ll talk about events going on in the city, talk about businesses in the city, may have the local animal shelter bring a few pets, a business will come in and show how they make one of their meals, a bar will talk about one of their drinks, a carpet cleaning company will show how they clean carpets, etc. The format is like morning talk show or interview show. They’re usually pretty casual. It’s not like the evening news is doing an interview that they got paid for. The show is basically a 60 minute commercial for businesses in the city. Rather than say that each segment is sponsored, I’m guessing there’s a disclaimer at the end of the show which says that some businesses paid to come on.

Don’t talk show guests receive some sort of minimal compensation for appearing? I seem to remember several of Letterman’s and Carson’s guests alluding to that in the past.