Top-rated KOLO-TV in Reno, Nev., put forth a proposal for live and taped spots --
with frequent plugs by news anchors -- in exchange for a $5,000 live-remote
General manager Tim Perry said he had never signed off on the program, that
the flier was intended as an internal document about a prospective pitch and that
he had not seen the flier until Friday.
However, Perry acknowledged that the flier had been presented to advertisers,
although there were no deals made. "Did we test the water?" he asked. "Were
there advertisers interested? Yes. But at the end of the day, we never committed
to it. We weren't comfortable."
Perry said he encourages his salespeople to be "entrepreneurial," but the
station may reconsider its parameters given the attention this incident has
garnered and the distraction it has created.
According to the flier -- posted on the Internet by Web site
F--dtelevision.com (rhymes with duct) -- KOLO-TV proposed live shots or video of
the business, a live interview with a business rep, a pre-taped tour of the
business, a taped feature story and frequent live mentions of the location of
the newscast by news anchors.
The flier notes that these features are subject to availability and to approval by
the news director, and the client will not dictate content.
But Poynter Institute ethicist Bob Steele, who recently co-authored
guidelines for the Radio-Television News Directors Association addressing news
and sales issues, commented that if the program was as presented in the flier, those caveats seem moot, as the station has already "sold its soul and its