Observations and Comments of Many Men of Many Minds Upon a Variety of Current Topics of General Interest.
Radio and Advertising.
* * * One of the greatest misfortunes that could befall the radio industry would be to have broadcasting stations send out advertising, no matter how veiled. The American public does not stand for this. The minute that one of these thinly-veiled advertising talks comes along, nine out of ten listeners simply tune that station out and tune in to something more worth while. If the future of radio rests upon a foundation of advertising, it would be better that broadcasting did not exist at all. * * * Of course, some of the stations are operated simply as an advertisement for the firm that is doing the broadcasting. Thus, for instance, large newspapers and big department stores think the advertisement and publicity is well worth the money. One of the largest Eastern broadcasting stations, owned by a large department store, never once in its history has mentioned the name of any product which it had for sale. All the advertisement that the store gets out of the station lies in the few words of the announcer, saying that station so-and-so, operated by such-and-such a department store, is broadcasting this-or-that opera tonight. * * * On the other hand, our large electrical corporations, which operate broadcasting stations and derive but little benefit from the mentioning of their name, derive their principal profit from the sale of radio receiving apparatus, of which they either control the patents or are otherwise interested in. * * * It is obviously not possible for the broadcasting station to ask the public to pay for the service. There are, however, other means to accomplish the same purpose. For instance, recently a German opera company, which has been giving operas at the Manhattan Opera House, permitted one of the large broadcasting stations to broadcast an entire opera. This was a creditable undertaking, and hundreds of thousands of radio fans listened with great satisfaction to this opera. Previous to this the opera company was playing to almost empty house. The very next day, however, the Manhattan Opera House was stormed by the very radio fans who had listened in the night before! * * *