Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Radio Stations Get Away With Lying

The New York Times' "Debaters" feature last week was a thoughtful analysis on why politicians feel the need to lie and why, as a result, their most passionate supporters start lying to themselves.

Meanwhile, the inspiring author Andy Andrews is on a book tour promoting his new very easy and quick read How Do You Kill 11 Million People?.

I'm not going to wade into those controversial waters today, but all of that focus on the public's lack of trust of institutions that seems to pop up for me each time I pick up something to read right now is also a good reminder that radio stations so routinely lie to listeners needlessly that, just like most of us with politicians, they are turned off and have stopped paying attention.
  • Do we really need to "promise" 50 minutes of music every hour when we actually only play 48? Do listeners conduct an hourly auction with their time and only spend it with the station that promises to be the highest bidder? Would they listen less if we told them how much music we really play in the hour?
  • If the cost of a commercial free hour is a commercial-filled hour in the hours just before and after it, who are we kidding?
  • Is saying "the station that cares about the community" believable on a 24/7 voice tracked outlet?
  • "12 in a row coming next" is followed by an eight unit commercial break.
  • Positioning "best new music" on your radio station is followed by yet another play of Garth Brooks' "The Dance."
I could go on. So could you.

Listen to your radio station today and listen for those little lies you're telling so routinely that many jocks think that's "personality" and "entertainment."

Get them off the air. Entertain, interact, make the listener the star. Keep it upbeat and fun. Make me feel something. Paint me colorful word pictures. Tell me a story. Involve me.

Just not a fairy tale, please.

Why do radio stations get away with lying? Could it be because no one is paying very much attention?

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