News And News Interpretation

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As a sponsor, the Strauss firm was easy to work with. The company never tried to interfere with my editorial freedom. The commercials were dignified. There was no middle commercial and I am happy to say that I have never tolerated one. From the beginning of my radio career, I made the point that my broadcast was an entity and that the public should not be compelled to listen to a commercial in the middle of it. Much of the material that I discuss is of so serious and important a nature that to interrupt the broadcast with a commercial reduced the value of the broadcast—its value to the sponsor, value to the listener and naturally it takes away from the dignity with which I like to invest an important broadcast.*

* Mr. Kaltenborn organized the Association of Radio News Analysts, ARNA, which has set up a code of ethics to govern radio commentators. No member of ARNA may voice commercials.

Thus I made that a rule when I began broadcasting and I’ve never deviated from it, although I have been under the heaviest kind of pressure to amend it. Both Elmer Davis and Raymond Swing have the same rule. Raymond Swing recognized the viciousness of the commercial in the middle of the program on one occasion during the war, when an announcement of casualties was followed by a commercial message. Swing felt so offended that he announced then and there he would no longer allow his broadcast to be interrupted.