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News people voicing spots

I'm getting pressure to voice commercials.  In this era, of fewer staff members, what are your opinions on news people voicing commercials.  I know at WBBM and places like that the anchors do.

 

Thanks for your input.

Will.Stevenson's picture

Our company has specific policy against news people voicing spots. My boss has the same ethical concerns about news people voicing spots as I do. I will voice news-related promos and news liner promos, but nothing else (I've even offered to voice community event PSA's, and have been turned down). And, between the on-air talent we have here, and those at our Burlington station group that also work for us, we have more than enough people that can voice commercials.

The closest we come to reading spots is a sponsorship liner at the beginning of some of our newscasts -- and even that was recently lessened so that the newscasts we do for our FM stations are now voiced either by the talent or the imaging guy.

Will Stevenson News Director WGIL-AM / WAAG-FM / WLSR-FM / WKAY-FM Galesburg, IL

Dave.Dahl's picture

1) If it's a good idea at WBBM and WCBS, how can it be bad?

2) I still don't like the idea.

Rick.Koshko's picture

We have it the same as Will describes at his place. It was with much resistance that we gave in to reading sponsor lines at the start of some newscasts in the 1990s.

As far as news people being in any ads themselves, it may have happened once in our shop since 1996. I say "may" because it depends on whether the person should have been considered a news department employee. The person in question read news on the air, gathered some news and wrote it, but was primarily part of an entertainment show--a low point for us. The ND brought it up with the GM and it never happened again.

Hoping to avert a related battle: one of our salespeople is wowed by someone who calls herself a "naturopathic doctor". His enthusiasm for what she does is spreading among my coworkers. So far she's not an advertiser, but I said I'm not reading any sponsor billboards for her. Read about iridology and tuning fork therapy to find out more.

Rick Koshko
WCMY News Director

Steve.Scott's picture

At my station (WCBS 880) the main anchors read commercials every day. Many are recorded. Some are live copy. We are the most recognizable voices on the station.

However...

We DON'T do endorsements. I never say, "Hi...Steve Scott for BMW of Manhattan." In fact, I never say "I" in a spot. Or, "we." Or, "us." It's always "they," or "their," or "them." I am simply reading generic copy.

Most of our commercial breaks consist of a :60 spot (or two :30s)...plus maybe a :10 or a station promo. We have an extremely high post-spot retention rate. Listeners stick around after the commercials for the next element (and, the next quarter hour!).

Do I wish some one else was reading the spots? Yes. But, do I understand WHY we do it...and the benefits for the station. YES. My station is the top-rated news station in my market...and, was also the top-billing station in the market in 2009.

Again, no endorsements. No self-IDs in spots. No perceived ownership. Just copy.

By the way, our reporters do not read spots. Only anchors. Our Sports guys and our Chief Meteorologist DO endose products and services. That's a different animal.

Steve Scott, News Anchor
WCBS Newsradio 880

Steve Scott, News Anchor
WCBS Newsradio 880
524 West 57th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10019

(212) 975-2127

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