History | Advertising on Radio? | Back
Taken from a page 1 article in the 15 Nov 1923 issue of The Waterford Star newspaper. 
[Some paragraph breaks added by the transcriber.]
Shall we advertise by radio?

The broadcasting of advertising matter by radio is opposed by a writer in Printer's Ink  on what he considers general grounds of public policy. He thinks that the listening public will resent the introduction of unsought publicity, and that the whole business will thereby be seriously handicapped.

This new use of broadcasting stations has been tried, we are told, by stations in New York City. So far, the venture is only in the experimental stage. As a tryout, they have placed a nominal charge of $100 on a 10-minute talk. During this time about 750 words can be delivered. 

We read in an abstract printed in Radio News:

"The fact that several advertisers have already availed themselves of this service would seem to indicate that there is a demand for it. Just the same, our advice to the broadcaster is 'stop, look and listen' before extending this new branch of his business. The plan is loaded with insidious dangers.

"The broadcasting station itself evidently recognizes this, as it is proceeding cautiously in this advertising experiment. For one thing, it is restricting the number of times a product may be mentioned during the course of a talk. It feels that the radio audience may regard the advertising message as an imposition. For this reason, it insists that the advertiser make his announce-ment subtle. No bald statement are permitted.

"But regardless how carefully censored the messages may be, the objection to this form of advertising still stands. Radio fans who tune in on this station are accustomed to [getting] high-class entertainment. If they are obliged to listen to some advertiser exploit his wares, they will very properly resent it, even tho the talk may be delivered under the guise of a matter of public interest or even public welfare.

"An audience that has been wheedled into listening to a selfish message will naturally be offended. Its ill-will would be directed not only against the broadcasting station, but also against the advertiser who talks shop at such an opportune time.

"There are several objections to the sending out of advertising through radio broadcasting stations, but we are opposed to the scheme principally because it is against good public policy. We are opposed to it for the same reason we oppose sky writing. People should not be forced to read advertising unless they are so inclined. We are opposed to it on much the same ground that we object to readers, or press-agent dope, or any other kind of disguised publicity.

"Another point. Much of radio's popularity is due to the way newspapers have been playing it up. In many cases they are devoting whole pages, and in some cases entire sections, to radio developments. The programs of the various broadcasting stations, which newspapers publish, is of inestimable value to radio users. In fact, without these published programs the broadcasters would be seriously handicapped. It is certain that  newspapers will not continue to give radio all of this generous cooperation if broadcasters are going to enter into advertising competition with them."

Copyright 2013-2016 John Cardiff