KARE-TV plans to start selling five-minute segments on its midmorning talk show next year ... a move that concerns some critics.
Spots on "KARE 11 Today" will be sold when the show becomes "Showcase Minnesota" on March 27, said John Remes, general manager of the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate.
Gannett stations in Denver, Sacramento, Atlanta and Cleveland already use the "advertainment" format, mingling entertainment with paid advertising segments — separate from regular commercial breaks. But KARE is the first to switch an existing show to the format.
"This is an opportunity for advertisers to connect with audiences in a way they haven't done before," Remes said.
University of Minnesota media ethics professor Jane Kirtley said "If viewers are accustomed to getting (talk show) programming in a very different way, to suddenly change the rules on them isn't fair."
Remes said "Showcase Minnesota" will clearly mark paid and unpaid segments, and newsroom employees won't appear on the show, nor will news footage be aired. KARE's sales and advertising department will supervise the show.
"Today" hosts Pat Evans and Roxane Battle, both employees of the station's newsroom, have been asked to stay with the show as advertising department employees. Evans said he'll probably stay with the newsroom, while Battle said she was undecided.
Remes said the show won't necessarily start charging longtime guests of "Today," such as Lund's executive chef Sue Erickson.
"The ones who will pay are those who have agreed to go on because of this new opportunity," he said.
Viewers can check out the advertainment format next month, when KARE broadcasts "Minnesota Holiday Showcase," a collection of advertiser-funded segments.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)