Your cranky media correspondent has long railed against radio hosts who endorse products and services with on-air testimonials for everything from credit unions to Lasik eye surgery. It's especially irksome when reporters and anchors on news stations do the spots.
It's an ethics thing - separation between editorial and advertising and all that.
But I've learned to stop grinding my teeth about it. Really, I have. (In fact, let my tell you about my dentist, Dr. Shiny Tooth, who's offering a special deal to new customers this week. I've been seeing Dr. Shiny Tooth for four years now and let me tell you, I haven't regretted it ....)
Uh, sorry. I almost succumbed to that testimonials thing.
Anyway, KFBK (1530 AM) has scaled back - a bit - on testimonials by its talent (a.k.a. on-air personnel), but I heard something distrurbing Thursday during the afternoon news with Kitty O'Neal and R.E. Graswich. It was - dare I say it? - an "advertorial" trying to conceal itself as an "interview."
Kitty and R.E. paused for a break and, suddenly, here is sports reporter Pat Walsh (pictured above) acting like a talk show host being "joined by" D-list actress Tanya Roberts.
But Walsh didn't ask Roberts (at left) about "That '70s Show" or "Charlie's Angels" or whatever thespian endeavor she's currently pursuing. No, all the "questions" revolved around Tahiti Village, a timeshare owned by Consolidated Resorts Inc. in Las Vegas.
The sad part is that the faux interview wasn't much different than, say, an entertainment segment on "Good Day Sacramento." Anyway, at the end of the spot, Walsh gives the phone number as any good talk show host would.
Then, Kitty and R.E. came back and tossed it to ... Pat Walsh for a sports report.