"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, December 12, 2005
Beginning Jan. 1, the WIBA newsroom will be called the Amcore Bank News Center.
"This simply means they get 'name branding' with the description of the news center on air," confirmed Jeff Tyler, vice president of Clear Channel Radio-Madison, which owns WIBA-AM 1310 and FM 101.5. "What listeners will hear on air is something like, 'Now from the Amcore Bank News Center, here's WIBA's Jennifer Miller.' "
Tyler and Amcore would not divulge what was paid for naming rights. But Tyler said "there are many examples of this in broadcasting and in other industries, from stadiums to business schools." Clear Channel Milwaukee's WISN-AM 1130 sold its newsroom naming rights to Pyramax Bank last year.
"WIBA-AM 1310 is a market- leading radio station, and having the Amcore name associated with a station that has significant listeners helps us in building brand awareness," said Amcore Bank regional president Jim Hartlieb.
Tyler said the deal will not affect news content.
Let's just say - hypothetically, of course, because nothing like this ever really happens - that Amcore Bank gets caught doing something wrong. You know, stuff like unlawfully redlining minority businesses applying for credit, or bribing elected officials, or even something merely negligent like allowing customer data to be misappropriated by identity thieves. What are the odds that the talking heads reporting from the Amcore Bank News Center are going to jump at that story? For that matter, suppose the bank hasn't done anything wrong at all, but just needs a little positive press - would they be unreasonable to think that the folks at the Amcore Bank News Center owe them a little good will?
We already know that much of the media is essentially in bed with corporate interests - Clear Channel's Tyler is no doubt right when he says that this deal will not affect news content, because most likely WIBA is already carrying Amcore's water for them on a regular basis - but this is shockingly transparent. Any journalists, so-called, ought to be ashamed if they draw a paycheck for reporting from the "Amcore Bank News Center."