Shocker: Conservative organizations buy ad time on conservative talk radio

posted at 2:00 pm on June 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Would you be surprised to discover that conservative organizations buy advertising on conservative talk shows?  Would it further surprise you to discover that conservative talk-show hosts like conservative groups?  If so, then keep your smelling salts handy for an upcoming case of the vapors from Politico:

If you’re a regular listener of Glenn Beck’s radio show and you wanted to contribute to a political group that would advance the populist conservative ideals he touts on his show, you’d have plenty of reason to think that FreedomWorks was your best investment.

But if you’re a fan of Mark Levin’s radio show, you’d have just as much cause to believe that Americans for Prosperity, a FreedomWorks rival, was the most effective conservative advocacy group. And, if Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are who you listen to, you’d be hear a steady stream of entreaties to support the important work of the Heritage Foundation.

That’s not coincidence. In search of donations and influence, the three prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts. Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups, while urging listeners to donate – often woven seamlessly into programming in ways that do not seem like paid advertising.

“The point that people don’t realize,” said Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of the talk media trade publication TALKERS Magazine, “is that (big time political talk show hosts) are radio personalities – they are in the same business that people like Casey Kasem are in – and what they do is no different than people who broadcast from used car lots or restaurants or who endorse the local roofer or gardener.”

Harrison is dead right in this assessment.  Sponsors — also known as advertisers — often get promotional tie-ins to the shows they underwrite.  On our Saturday NARN broadcasts, we have broadcast at a number of “remotes” to promote a retail outlet, which has to pay a considerable fee for that kind of event (and which are actually a lot of fun for the hosts).

In fact, FCC regulations require that organizations have to establish a public sponsorship of a radio program through the station or syndicator for hosts to engage in that kind of support, rather than a private arrangement directly with the host.  The latter is called payola and can result in prosecution, large fines, and loss of broadcast licenses.  It’s practically the first lesson any radio station teaches a host.  That doesn’t mean that a host can’t offer his/her support to an organization without getting any kind of compensation, but it had better be clear that there is no monetary relationship between the two.

The claim that “Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs” describes all commercial radio, not just talk shows and not just conservatives.  Advertisers buy time to get those on-air plugs, and usually pay extra for live reads and promotional tie-ins.  It’s about as explosive a revelation as the fact that car prices vary depending on how well a consumer dickers, or that mail-order products can differ in quality.

Next week from Politico: Boiling water can often be unsafe for bathing.

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In related news, conservatives listen to conservative talk radio and read conservative blogs.

Doughboy on June 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

I am STUNNED !

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

WOW, really, I am like totally shocked

djohn669 on June 15, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Hey Politico, why don’t Liberal Organizations buy ad time on Liberal talk radio?

Oh, that’s right–because there is no audience for liberal talk radio and everyone who has tried to create one has gone down in flames.

Kataklysmic on June 15, 2011 at 2:07 PM

I ahven’t heard the term payola since the late 50′s.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Conservative organizations buy ad time on conservative talk radio

Liberals pissed because there no liberal talk radio shows for them to spend money on

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Easily the left’s most exciting exposé since the release of the Palin e-mails.

Drained Brain on June 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

I don’t think Air Amerika would advertise for Heritage or FreedomWorks. Don’t think those two would try to buy air time there, either. Duh!

odat on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

I ahven’t heard the term payola since the late 50′s.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Believe me, radio stations are dead serious about preventing it.

Ed Morrissey on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Awaiting the shouts of “This is clearly illegal!!!” from csdeven and petunia…

steebo77 on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

This is proof that Sarah Palin is a uniter.

fossten on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Hey Politico, why don’t Liberal Organizations buy ad time on Liberal talk radio?

Oh, that’s right–because there is no audience for liberal talk radio and everyone who has tried to create one has gone down in flames.

Kataklysmic on June 15, 2011 at 2:07 PM

If I want to hear liberal bullcrap I just subsidize my sister.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Newly released WH study concludes that deficits turn into debt in the next fiscal year; Giethner reportedly stunned by true nature of defict spending.

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I doubt that any conservative talk show has the taxpayers pay for their failure to get listeners as the lib talk shows do to keep on the air?
L

letget on June 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM

I would hope so. Dick Clark almost went down in flames.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

If all news was funded and controlled by the government we could do away with these radio insurgents.

jhffmn on June 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Liberals pissed because there no liberal talk radio shows for them to spend money on

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

You almost got it. The liberals are upset because few liberal sponsors are willing to spend money for advertisements that no one will listen to.

In other words, the libs (both sponsors and talk shows) know that capitalism doesn’t work for them financially because no one wants what they are selling.

shick on June 15, 2011 at 2:12 PM

If I want to hear liberal bullcrap I just subsidize my sister.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Still upset over that Easy Bake Oven thing, eh?

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Alternate title: Libs shocked to find out why they need NPR.

shick on June 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM

OT I just ran a deep malware scan and came up with a high risk.
trojan.win32/bho
Interesting.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM

This is proof that Sarah Palin is a uniter.

fossten on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

LOL! You are a little poop disturber. Heh.

Vince on June 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

The results are always facepalm-worthy whenever liberals stop to think about how businesses actually work.

steebo77 on June 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Still upset over that Easy Bake Oven thing, eh?

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Oh, hell yeah. This one can hold a grudge.
The Irish taught the Mafia how to do this.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:18 PM

The results are always facepalm-worthy whenever liberals stop to think about how businesses actually work.

steebo77 on June 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

But they ignore the truth and look for some sinister plot to uncover.

odat on June 15, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Politico: Unconfusing The Issues With Even More Confusion!

pilamaye on June 15, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Ed Morrissey on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Payola is always, always an issue with pop FM stations.

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Rush Limbaugh announced earlier today that he is now buying air time on his own show.

Del Dolemonte on June 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The claim that “Those fees buy them a variety of promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs” describes all commercial radio, not just talk shows and not just conservatives. Advertisers buy time to get those on-air plugs, and usually pay extra for live reads and promotional tie-ins. It’s about as explosive a revelation as the fact that car prices vary depending on how well a consumer dickers, or that mail-order products can differ in quality.

um….does Politico even understand the concept of a free-market society?

This isn’t even amusing – this administration (and by default Politico of course – Lips to @ss sytle)is getting way too creepily Orwellian for my tastes.

I’m sure that Air-America has purely non-partisan sponsers – assuming there are any looney radio stations left that play that money losing tripe…..?

Tim_CA on June 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Rush Limbaugh announced earlier today that he is now buying air time on his own show.

Del Dolemonte on June 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Two if by Tea!!

Comes in multple flavors.

Tim_CA on June 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Payola is always, always an issue with pop FM stations.

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Yup. Alicia Keys No One was nice the first 3,899654 times I heard it in one day.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:32 PM

OT I just ran a deep malware scan and came up with a high risk.
trojan.win32/bho
Interesting.

katy the mean old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM

I advise you to delete that one. Do not quarantine–DELETE!! Then send your computer back to Kenya.

Western_Civ on June 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Next thing you’ll be telling me that car dealers give DJs cars to drive so they’ll say nice things about the cars on the radio.

The Monster on June 15, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Next week from Politico: Boiling water can often be unsafe for bathing.

Don’t joke – the next step will be a mandate to install warning labels on bathtbs.

Tim_CA on June 15, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Politico:

It’s called a target market, pretty standard marketing stuff.

Rush, Hannity, etc. normally do the commercials themselves. Carbonite? Lifelock? Are these conservative institutions too?

Nothing to see here, move along.

Daemonocracy on June 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Wouldn’t conservative organizations get much more bang for their bucks advertising on Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O’Donnell?

/

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

LMAO….judging by their ratings – they get most of their viewers by accident.

Tim_CA on June 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I believe the writers at Politico should be required to pass a drug test before they publish an article.

Guest1.1 on June 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I believe the writers at Politico should be required to pass a drug test before they publish an article.

Guest1.1 on June 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Because it’s Politico, they should first test the people administering the drug tests.

pilamaye on June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

“InconTHIEVEable!”

mojo on June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Newly released WH study concludes that deficits turn into debt in the next fiscal year; Giethner reportedly stunned by true nature of defict spending.

BobMbx on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Geithner’s like the kid in the famous Norman Rockwell painting who finds the Santa suit in his father’s dresser. After all, Geitner thought Obama had a stash too.

BuckeyeSam on June 15, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Is that why there are so many constipation and hemorrhoid ads during Chrissy Matthews show…?

/

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

One of the comments on this story from that site.
Used without permission.

“Most people are probably aware that crazy right wing radio is crooked as a carnival game. One has to listen to them only briefly to gauge the quality to of the advertisers.and to ascertain the danger of trading with them. Credit repair scams, Gold trading scams, ect. ect. ect. more scams ect. ect. Talk for five minutes….more scams ect.

It is quite rare to hear a normal advertiser, as these shows do not have a large audience. I believe if you polled customers who did business with their advertisers you would probably discover a long list of dissatified customers.

Even a train wreck attracts customers………. and yes there is a sucker born every minute.

Glen Beck is proof of that.”

docflash on June 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Libs are whining because they refuse to donate of their own free will to liberal radio, but they want the government to confiscate everyones money and use the “fairness doctrine” to keep them employed while they hype crap no one is interested in.

I know exactly where to listen to liberal talk radio if I choose to, just as I know exactly where to listen to conservative talk radio. One major difference I have found-conservative talk radio is often up front and open about their “lean”, progressives not so much. When I tune into conservative talk I hear interviews, new ideas presented, and solid arguments made for conservatism.

When I tune into lib radio I mostly hear them complaining about conservatives(not all but most).

canditaylor68 on June 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Heh, not one but TWO J-Tards to come up with the uncovering of the up-til-now, double super secret extremist right wing tactic of…

the 60 second commercial.

I smell Pulitzer. Or farts. Or something.

MNHawk on June 15, 2011 at 3:04 PM

The point that people don’t realize,” said Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of the talk media trade publication TALKERS Magazine, “is that (big time political talk show hosts) are radio personalities – they are in the same business that people like Casey Kasem are in – and what they do is no different than people who broadcast from used car lots or restaurants or who endorse the local roofer or gardener.”

I’d like to know who Mr. Harrison is talking about. Who are the ignorant morons who don’t realize that Limbaugh, Beck, et al are radio personalities?

Just because the hacks at POLITICO have sh!t for brains doesn’t mean the rest of us do.

CantCureStupid on June 15, 2011 at 3:07 PM

This is proof that Sarah Palin is a uniter.

fossten on June 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

I admit-I’m grinning.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM

…and in other news the AP reports that the Politico got it wrong again…unexpectedly

PatriotPete on June 15, 2011 at 3:31 PM

katy the mean funny old lady on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM

You’ve got some good one liners. Hehe. And your two liners are pretty good too.

Geochelone on June 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Hey, Politihacks,

The AARO bought ads on broadcast network news TV during the Obamacare debate. Report that.

InterestedObserver on June 15, 2011 at 3:34 PM

docflash on June 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM

They need to put down the crackpipe. Chicago(Yeah-Chicago) is the biggest talk-radio market in the country. There are TWO conservative station that-if you include those who listen by ‘streaming’ like I do-get probably close to a million listeners daily…maybe more. ALL the big names are part of Chi’s market.
I think that qualifies as having a …large audience

annoyinglittletwerp on June 15, 2011 at 3:35 PM

BREAKING:

Car wax company buys ads on classic car show!

The bastards.

hillbillyjim on June 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM

I went over to the Politico page, and saw an ad for Verizon FIOS.

Isn’t it more than a little unethical for a web site to take ad money from an ISP? There should be a law against thigns like that.

malclave on June 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM

I don’t hear libs squawk when “progressive” radio has ads from unions or the Sierra Club.

closetgop on June 15, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Definitely a Captain Renault moment.

bugsy on June 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Would you be surprised to discover that conservative organizations buy advertising on conservative talk shows?

No, but I have a rudimentary knowledge of business and economics and understand businesses like spending money doing smart things, like advertise where my main selling targets would be.

But I can see how that would be an issue for liberals.

kim roy on June 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

How positively non-scandalous.

ZK on June 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Next week from Politico: Boiling water can often be unsafe for bathing.

Beware of the threat. Beware of the deep coverup of the most dangerous substance to confront modern civilization.

Beware of DHMO.

Freelancer on June 15, 2011 at 8:14 PM