a news voice should not be a commercial voice


Editor’s Note: In the daily observation of life around him, the author occasionally feels the need to point out ridiculously inane behavior and general thoughtlessness. These are called “Rants” and this is one of those times.

Well, this will likely put me in dutch with some of my broadcast news friends but I can’t sit quietly about this any longer cause it BUGS me…radio news reporters and anchors should NOT be doing commercials…period.

Now before you cry discrimination, the TV news people shouldn’t either but I’ve not seen that happen. I have heard it far too often for my liking on the radio. It’s wrong.

While there was a time in radio and television’s history where news people often read live commercials, that practice dissolved as broadcast outlets’ news divisions evolved and the integrity of the news department became sacrosanct. Today, radio news departments have to scrape and claw for the money they need to do proper field reporting with decent technology while being first and accurate with the story in an amazingly short production window. In such an environment, salaries wane and integrity teeters.

At such a critical time when broadcast corporations often seemingly replace “public trust” with “shareholder’s investment” the news divisions and their leaders should not muddy the waters regarding their market’s perception of their talent by allowing those newscasters to read a murder report one moment only to have that same reporter’s voice heard on a pre-recorded car commercial the next. Not on their station or any other in their market.

What about out of market spots or corporate narrations for videos or even audio books? I have no problem with any of that. But in a local market, if you’re a news voice you cannot be a commercial voice. News integrity means never having to say “24 months interest free financing on approved credit.”

4 Responses to “a news voice should not be a commercial voice”

  1. Peter, I agree completely! When I was on the radio we were often slaves to the advertisers…all but selling our souls so the station could make a dollar. Whatever…but a news person should NOT be selling products…the news needs to be completely unbiased. What if that product were involved in a lawsuit or had something news-worthy occur?? Yikes! Kara

  2. That’s no blarney Peter:) I agree with your comments. Today I was listening to a local radio news director/reporter who I went to high school with doing remote cut-ins from Auction World.

    It may bug us but do you think the average listener even notices or cares?

  3. Ralph: I think the saddest part is that the average person doesn’t care about a news person doing an ad because I think average person either ignores or is ambivalent to the journalistic/ethical problems its poses (as Kara wisely pointed out).

    This is why it is sooo important for news outlets to police themselves (like NOT having their news staff do commercials. But if owners don’t care, employees are going to care less as well.

  4. GREAT post! This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, for the very reasons you mention. Great post!