Ross: The different levels of for-profit media

May 9, 2022, 6:22 AM

Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala (Getty Images)...

Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Last week the Washington Post ran a piece headlined “How a Billionaire’s Boys’ Club Came To Dominate The Public Square.”

It was about how Elon Musk (new owner of Twitter) posted a snarky tweet about the Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos) which had published an op-ed written by Michael Bloomberg (Owner of the Bloomberg Media conglomerate).

To paraphrase the opening line: “The world’s richest man attacked a publication owned by the world’s third-richest man… for reprinting a column published by the world’s 13th-richest man.”

The Post article goes on to worry about the number of publications owned by billionaires, their control of social media, and their donations to non-profit media to support coverage of their pet issues.

Which is why I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that there are media businesses not dependent on billionaires – and they include for-profit commercial radio stations like this one.

I don’t want to shock anybody but, KIRO Newsradio is supported by commercials. We sell commercials which attempt to persuade you to do business with our sponsors.

I know that a lot of people see that as a drawback.

But who are these sponsors? They are car dealerships, medical and dental services, real estate agents, home improvement and maintenance companies, local banks … in short, these are the businesses that make this a successful community. Many of you work for them. I like to think we’ve helped many of them achieve their success.

Some sponsors might have a political agenda (certainly the political ads do) but for most of our sponsors, their main agenda is simply to get you to try their products and services.

If our commercial model has a bias, it’s a bias toward creating a healthy local economy. And I think that’s a good thing.

As for my personal motivation in doing this job for so long … it’s to find out what issues you consider important, and to find solutions — to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

That is why I correspond privately with people who take the time to explain their opinions — some of which end up in these commentaries.

And, by the way, if it should turn out that any of you ARE billionaires – hey, it happens. I’ll try not to hold it against you.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Ross: The different levels of for-profit media