Friday, March 6, 2009

More on Paul Harvey

I was working at a news/talk AM station where a new program director was brought in to "age down" the audience... in other words, get somebody younger than 60 to listen. One of his directives was that no commercial or PSA would air without a music bed - period.

Of course, this station aired Paul Harvey something like four times a day. Harvey didn't exactly fit into the "younger, hipper, MTV generation" the program director was aiming for, but letting him go meant losing him to a dreaded rival station. And besides, I don't think ABC would let us drop the Harvey with our affiliate deal of the day.

Like many big city stations, we tape delayed Paul Harvey shows in order to fit them into our programming. Affiliates had strict limitations to this practice, but it was understood that in a top-50 market a station couldn't cut to Harvey at the times the shows were fed down the network. With the advantage of tape delay, the program director decided that I had nothing better to do in production than to add music beds to all of Paul Harvey's commercials. And we did.

Somehow, ABC got wind of our blasphemy - probably via the dreaded rival - and our station was given a one-time warning: don't tamper with Paul Harvey commercials, or else you'll lose Harvey completely. And so, we did.

Such was the power of the Harvey.

No comments: