The blog Spark News reported the marketing manager for the radio program module EarthDate appeared to willfully misrepresent the number of stations carrying the program. Casey Walker told the blog he does mass-mailings of promotional CDs to stations and if a station does not respond to the mailing, he assumes the station is carrying the program.
As a result, hundreds of stations that did not run the module were listed as carrying it, including Tri States Public Radio.
The Shop Talk panelists consider Walker’s actions problematic.
Panelist Rich Egger said it’s quite a leap to go from mailing an unsolicited item to stations to then claiming stations are running it. He said an ethical marketing manager would follow up with stations to find out who aired the program (and why) and who chose not to air it (and why).
Egger said TSPR strives to be fair, accurate, and transparent, and Walker’s actions run counter to that.
Panelist Jonathan Ahl called Walker’s actions a huge ethical violation. Ahl said Walker’s actions have angered stations, and he said stations that were thinking about airing the program might decide against it now.
In addition, Ahl said the corporate underwriter of the program could be upset because it was given incorrect data about how many stations carried EarthDate.
Panelist Will Buss said Walker’s exaggeration can be compared to clickbait ie, it’s misleading and designed to get attention. He said one person’s bad decision can end up reflecting poorly on an entire enterprise.