Should American radio and TV stations accept advertising from the newly-launched Al Jazeera America? That's the question broadcasters, many of them in the conservative category, are wrestling with. In fact, it's a question many conservatives are asking after Al Jazeera commercials have popped up during some unlikely programs.
TheBlaze reached out to Media Storm, the ad agency that is reported to have placed the ad buys for Al Jazeera America. An agency rep initially rejected our inquiry, but is currently considering sharing at least the total dollar amount of the buy on the initial launch. We will update this post if that information becomes available.
The presence of the Al Jazeera America spots has also put pressure on the radio stations themselves. In multiple instances, angry listeners publicly confronted talk radio hosts and station employees, demanding removal of the Al Jazeera spots.
TheBlaze is in daily contact with more than 200 radio stations and surveyed the group asking if they were playing the commercials for Al Jazeera America and if listeners were reacting.
More than half of our "radio friends" were running the spots, and hearing them running inside shows from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Here's what some of the stations said (Note: TheBlaze has intentionally omitted identifying station references):
- [My co-host and I] threatened to walk if our station does...I have two kids serving...
- We did about two spots on Tuesday, before the outcry from our listening audience, the anchors (myself included), and station management ordered that they immediately be replaced by something else. None of us are comfortable with these guys sponsoring our traffic and news reports, and I'm surprised at the unmitigated cheek of both Al-Jazeera and our advertising department. They either don't know who's listening, or they don't care. We on the front lines, however, still have that unique thing called a conscience, and we've allowed it to guide us to the right decision.
- We wouldn't take them if we had a choice, but I think they are airing on [XXXX ]in some of our syndicated programming - and that sucks for us. If we could figure out where they are ahead of time we'd cover them up with promos for THEBLAZE!
- How do I feel about it? When it's programming, I have tons to say. When it comes to revenue, I have no opinion. This is revenue.
- Well, I'm disgusted to be frank with you. I feel like my paycheck is tainted with blood money. We all understand it's a dirty game in media but this is pure greed on (company's) part and every other station that accepted a buy.
- I was at a grocery store today and a guy noticed my press pass then threatened to "kick my liberal terrorist ass" if I didn't make the commercials stop.
- Yes we are running them...Morning Drive / Middays / Afternoon Drive - nearly every hour from 6a-6p. Dozens of complaints and emails; calls and social media outrage.
- We aren’t airing any ads. But if we did – I’d be thrilled. I love Al Jazeera. I used it for years when prepping. I consider them like the BBC – just a different perspective on what’s going on.
- They actually cropped up on our station on Monday, not through a direct buy, but as billboards around newscasts provided by [*******] Traffic. We had them completely pulled in less than 45 minutes.
- No, but I would take them. I'm in the business of selling ads - don't have to agree with the sponsor.
- about time we got some of those petro dollars back....
- Just traffic sponsors on our talk station, but full length spots on Top 40 teenie bopper station. We've gotten lots of complaints - and we direct all complaints to Al Gore...
During Glenn Beck's radio show Monday, a caller asked about the flood of such ads appearing on many conservative talk radio stations and cable TV networks. Beck -- a radio veteran -- was quite clear in his response: he doesn't have a problem with it. In fact, he told the Qatar-based cable channel to bring their money his way.
"This network and this particular show will gladly take Al Jazeera's top dollar," he said while his co-hosts chuckled. "We will charge them through the nose and they can run as many commercials on us as possible and it will not affect our programing where I say 'Al Jazeera is the voice of the enemy.'"
"...I will gladly take their oil money," he added. "And we will use it to build our empire to say, 'Al Jazeera is the enemy.'"
"They have every right to speak, they have every right to run their commercials. I just wish they would ask us to run some of their commercials because they would not believe the price of those commercials."
Watch the clip from Beck's morning radio show, below, where he also explains how some shows and programs -- and even networks -- can't reject the ads:
As mentioned by the radio caller, stations from coast to coast are seeing some strong ad buys from Al Jazeera America. In some instances, the newly-launched cable channel has purchased spots hourly from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. In some situations where Al Jazeera was unable to purchase time within a radio show, they found a creative way to get their spots on the air by putting them inside the traffic reports.
Would you accept advertising from Al Jazeera? Should these stations? Participate in our Blaze poll and comment below.
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