How Are Radio Stations (Almost) Like Bagelmen?

There are some people who offer stuff for free but ask people for donations, such as street musicians and some bloggers. Then there are people who count on their customers' honesty to get paid, like people who leave boxes of bagels in offices, along with a price list and a slot to put the money in.

Not so long ago a came across a call-in show in the radio I'd never heard before. As they kept reminding you, it aired every weekday between 9 and 11 p.m.

So, what do you call such a show?

Ah, what a softball! Obviously "9-11", with the pronunciation in English rather than German. Very tastful, Radio NRJ!

It occured to me that in one respect radio stations are like bagelmen. Most stations are private and financed solely through revenues from advertising. The more listeners, the more revenues. But in contrast to TV ratings, radio ratings are measured by surveys. So you could boycott a station you disapprove of but still want to listen to by simply listening to it but lying to the pollster should you be called. You can boycott them without boycotting them, just like street musicians and bagelmen.

(There are differences, of course: In the case of bagelmen, you have a legal obligation to pay, while in the two other cases you don't. As for moral obligations, you still have one towards the bagelman; in the other cases I guess you could argue both ways.)

An alternative is to properly boycott stations that air shows called "9-11".

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