In a recent blog I talked about the advertising on progressive talk radio KLSD AM in San Diego and Air America which I get on XM. I don't mean to single out advertising on progressive talk radio. Let me be clear: I hate all radio and TV advertising. I will do almost anything to get rid of it. The advertising on KLSD and Air America I find particularly obnoxious because I listen to it for so many hours of the day, and there's a lot of it. But there is hope after all. It's a little invention called an ipod. The technology is here today for making advertising a thing of the past for those who hate it like I do. Please notice that this blog is ad free!
The talk show hosts I listen to on Air America and KLSD are Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes. I used to also listen to AL Francken and I even enjoyed Jerry Springer when he was on, but I guess after he went on Dancing with the Stars, he was not considered to have the gravitas for progressive talk. The one host I don't like at all is Big Eddie Schultz. I think he is a big blow hard, trying to be the left wing's answer to Rush Limbaugh. He has one of those deep, resonant fat man's radio voices like Limbaugh whom I detest and what's more he doesn't really know his stuff, he treats his callers rudely cutting them off in mid-sentence, touts himself as being the best thing on talk radio and trys to make himself out to be an ordinary average American who "hoists a few cool ones" and throws a football around and does what he thinks are average white guy middle class family activities. On the other hand Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes know their stuff, treat their callers reasonably well, and I always learn something from them that I didn't know before. I don't agree with them on everything. Thom Hartmann has a much nobler view of human nature than I do, but then I've been around the planet longer than he has. Randi Rhodes sometimes goes off the deep end or rattles on about inconsequential stuff, but she's always entertaining which says a lot for a political talk junkie but then Bill Maher also pulls it off well. By the way you can also download his show on HBO from itunes for free, and you can cancel your subscription to HBO. This will actually save you money.
But I digress. I mentioned in the recent post about the protest at Clear Channel (regarding taking political talk off the air) that I would gladly pay to get rid of the advertising and guess what? You can download both the Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann shows as podcasts from itunes and they are both absolutely free. No ads and free podcasts that I would gladly pay for...wheweee...it's my lucky day. Of course, the free part may not last forever. But there are also a lot of other shows for which I was suffering through the commercials like Meet the Press which can be downloaded sans ads from itunes. This is the wave of the future and one which I wholeheartedly support. I'm learning to love technology especially technology that puts advertisers out of business. No more ads for Lipitor and Restless Leg Syndrome on Meet the Press which advertisers obviously think is only watched by old people. No more ads for "Viva Viagra", Cialis and Levitra which attempt to get men into a psychological state of dependency before they can even think of having sex. No more insults to my intelligence. And with all the money corporations can save when they realize no one is listening to or watching their ads, why they could actually reduce prices or give their employees a raise. Think of that!
Of course, the VCR and TiVo have done wonders for allowing people to fast forward through ads. Most everything I watch on TV I pre-record so I can skip the ads. But there is even better news on the horizon. Eventually, you'll be able to download over the internet only those shows you're interested in watching. For me personally, most of the stuff on cable or satellite isn't worth watching. I don't watch sit-coms, soap operas, spectator sports or violent movies. I do watch the Science Channel, KPBS, the History Channel, the Travel Channel somewhat and Turner Classic Movies (ad free, thank you!). I'm disappointed in the Arts and Entertainment Channel which started out notably enough but has sold out to crime shows. So why do I have to pay for a whole bunch of channels I don't really like or watch? It's all about the money, but Cox Cable and the like will eventually lose because already companies like Vongo let you download movies and over time tons of content will be available for downloading if not streaming. That'll be the day when the internet, not cable, satellite or the phone line will be my delivery vehicle of choice. So downloading - both audio and video - is the wave of the future, and I wouldn't mind even paying in order to rid myself of advertising forever and to get only the content I want.
After all there is no real need for advertising any more. It's one of the most pernicious aspects of the whole American society. Why? Because it seeks to persuade you, not to inform you, and it usually does so by lying to you. For instance, on KLSD Progressive Talk there is an ad for Loral Langemeier. This gal comes on saying she has 16 investment properties, an L Corp, a C Corp and an LLC Corp and it's all due to Loral Langemeier who is interested in "helping" motivated people escape their 9 to 5 jobs. One guy just made $300,000 in a month thanks to Loral Langemeier and another lady comes on who says "I just had to work with this lady." Now all Loral Langemeier wants to do is to send you a free CD which tells you how you can make all this money too. All you have to do is pay for shipping and handling. OK, let's stop for a reality check. Do you really believe that Loral Langemeier is paying good money for a radio ad in order to give you something for free which is going to tell you how to make fantastic money? Heck, no. Loral wants to sell you something and the free CD is just an enticement. Once she has your information (which you will have to give her in order to get the free CD) her sales staff will go to work on you selling whatever else it is Loral is selling. Of course she probably even makes money on the free CD via the shipping and handling charge. Of course, she never says what that is. Her handlers probably make really good money.
Another guy, Hayes Barnard, would have you believe that all he wants to do is "save his neighbors money" via his mortgage company, Paramount Mortgage. Here's the direct quote from his web site: "Hayes is committed to continually searching for new ways to save our neighbors money." Of course, all Hayes is committed to is making money himself and if he saves his neighbors money, well that's just incidental. All he wants is to get you to call him, then his sales staff can go to work on you. Advertising is deceptive! You have to analyze it to understand what is really going on. Rule Number 1: No one is coming on the radio and paying money for the ad who just wants to help you out in such a way that there is nothing in it for they, themselves. But this is what they would have you believe. Rule Number 2: No one is going to pay good money for a radio ad in order to give you something for free unless there is something in it for them, and it's usually to get you on the hook in order to sell you something. They should be teaching this stuff in school. But that, I suppose, would be unAmerican. Wake up, and smell the coffee!
Secondly, there is no need for advertising because you can find out anything you want to know about any product or service and even get opinions, ratings, reviews and price comparisons via the internet. Such sites as epinions and PriceGrabber.com will educate you as a consumer and get you the best price without any need for advertising. This should be taught in all the schools: How to use the internet to be an intelligent consumer and not fall prey to advertisers. The pharmaceutical companies are going all out to make a nation of hypochondriacs out of us. They want you to "ask your doctor" about this drug and that one until you're entirely dependent on prescription drugs to get you through the day and the night. It's pernicious. Now they're selling political candidates via TV ads. They're even selling the Iraq war through ads. Think of Reagan's "It's Morning Again in America" TV ad campaign. Think of the "Willie Horton" ad campaign for which Lee Atwater apologized but only on his death bed. Not to mention John Kerry windsurfing, flip flopping this way and that or the Swift Boat ads. Hey another campaign season is coming up. You can bet your bippy that Hillary or Obama or John Edwards will be swift boated or they will get footage akin to Dukakis riding around in a tank with an ill-fitting helmet on packaged into a negative ad.
So you see, I hate advertising whether it's prescription drugs, political campaigns, Kerr Magee (I'm not in the market for an oil rig). But there's also hope on the horizon. There are anti-ad devices like VCRs, TiVos and ipods. You can get the same content sans ads. Some day you will probably be able to get all your TV and radio content via the internet sans ads. Oh happy day!