Last week I had sleazy sales experience with a representative from a big-name media powerhouse who was trying to get my client to advertise with them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a classic, fast-talking salesman who runs though the shock and awe sales pitch with such speed and vigor that all you’re supposed to be able to do is say, “Yes, sign me up.”

But, KNEW’s male salesrep provided me with that retro, Madmen-on-steroids call last week.  The spiel went something like:

With your permission, during our post Easter station breaks your company will be mentioned as sponsoring our anti drunk-driving campaign.  Let me read you the copy…

It was a brief, good-doing, innocuous statement that I could live with. But, I had a few questions.  Like, how much for how many mentions over what period of time?  And, more importantly, who was KNEW and why hadn’t I heard of them?

KNEW logoMy attempted interruptions for those questions didn’t yield too much information.  The cost was cheap, a couple hundred dollars a day.  But for how many mentions? When during the day? These details that never surfaced before the big issue was tackled, who is KNEW?

I was told the KNEW was a news talk station in San Francisco.

Really?  I listen to the radio a lot, and wind up listening to news (KCBS) and the #1 talk station (KGO) most of the time, with a few hours a week from my local school district’s public station.  I know that KGO has a conservative talk sister station, KSFO, but KNEW?  It didn’t ring a bell.

So, I asked what KNEW programmed and got unresponsive mumbo-jumbo from Mr. Motormouth.  I persisted, and got more sales speech and no better information.

But, as Mr. Sales was going on about the goodness of anti-DUI messages, or something, I went to the keyboard and Googled KNEW.

Oh. They’re the Fox affiliate in San Francisco, and their home page showed Glen Beck smiling out on his public.

Fox!  That’s what my fast-talking monologist was trying to keep me from knowing.  He wanted to sign me up to advertise on Fox radio without ever telling me it was Fox radio.  Wow!

Now, I imagine that San Francisco is not the easiest sales market for far-right Fox radio. But, to have the station’s programming masked from a potential, questioning advertiser just is wrong.  Stand up for your product, Mr. Salesrep.  Maybe I share Fox’s views, or maybe I just want exposure to its listeners.  Find out. Maybe take your lumps, maybe make your sale.  But, don’t play coy.  Besides, do many businesses really sign up without knowing that they are supporting with their advertising dollars the super-right line up of Fox?

But, back to my conversation.  After I dug up the apparently awful truth about KNEW, I said, “Oh you’re Fox. Oh, no, no, no!”  in a surprised or horrified, not angry, tone.  In response, the ace sales rep hung up.  No goodbye, no nothing.

Apparently the Stand Up for America Fox network tries to slink in the back door of potential advertisers and runs when exposed to the light of day.  Kind of ironic. Kind of disappointing.