The post-holidays sales lull and a tanking economy have sent prices for airtime plummeting
and stations scrambling. Jeff Order, who handles ads for CashPoint, a company that makes quick-fix loans, says some stations have offered him the equivalent of three free spots for every 10 he
What effect will such direct-response ads have on viewers? TV networks and stations prefer quality advertisers on their marquee programs and when lower-quality commercials appear, "there's a subtle disconnect for the viewer," says one industry observer. But broadcasters need the money. Advertisers also point out that the inexpensive products in such ads tend to be more popular in tough times.