JollyRollie's Blog

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Have You Noticed?

Some years ago, I experienced the good fortune of having my own radio show. The show was on twice a week for eight years. The reason I bring it up at this time is to mention an FCC rule which was observed at that time. The rule stated that we could have up to four minutes of commercials during a 15 minute program. It’s apparent to me that four minutes of commercials is quite enough for a fifteen minute show. Later, that rule was abolished, and there were no limits on commercial messages in a program. Broadcasters have done all sorts of things to increase commercials on a show. One of the more intriguing ideas they had was to compress the speech of a show just slightly. For example, if a show is compressed by only two per cent, a fifty minute show could be played in forty-nine minutes. This leaves one more minute which can be sold to an advertiser. Another idea is to stick small commercial messages into sporting events. For example, perhaps an attempted steal of a base in baseball could be sponsored by a company selling protection against identity theft. This practice, though clever, can be more than a little annoying.

I am in favor of less government regulation, so I don’t propose government regulation. The market will eventually regulate itself. If radio becomes more cluttered with commercials, people will listen less and, hopefully, the situation will be adjusted. It is my hope that the industry will regulate itself. I totally agree with a statement Paul Harvey often makes in his commentary on the news. The statement is: “Self government won’t work without self discipline!”