In Las Vegas there are accusations that as part of a media buy made by an auto dealership, interviews were placed in local newscasts at network affiliates KLAS, the CBS affiliate; KTNV (ABC) and KVVU (Fox) -- all without letting viewers know that those interviews were paid placements.
Stations refute the claims. But in these recessionary times, one wonders whether some TV stations might be thinking of going over the "wall." Intrepid and serious news organizations will tell you the wall between editorial and advertising is a big one -- and impenetrable. That is, you get no editorial "favors" because you made a $100,000-plus local TV advertising buy.
Ironically, the alleged media buys were about a "liquidation" sale campaign created by the United Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealershi.
Make no mistake, any big marketer would love to have influence over a local TV newscast.
Decades ago, stories and accusations would occasionally surface that strong local auto dealerships could use leverage against a TV station -- specifically in preventing hard-hitting local TV news stories about, say, how tough a specific auto dealer's sales practices were.
With local auto dealers typically giving TV stations 30% or so of their annual advertising dollars, tempers can run high -- from all perspectives.
Massive dealership cutbacks -- such as the ones at General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler -- have had their effects on the local TV stations. Specifically, dealerships closing mean the drying up of local TV media dollars.
Whatever stories might have been done about auto dealerships years ago, much has changed. The auto business isn't exactly strong these days, and no one knows exactly where it is headed.
The only local hard news stories about the automotive business are, for the most part, about automotive dealers going out of business. Wherever stations are going, they should look further down the road.