Hello, Sailor: Now KARE-11 will get paid for (some of) its pimping

class=img_thumbleft>Deborah Caulfield Rybak reveals in this morning's Strib that local TV news-ratings leader KARE-11 will begin selling airtime on its morning show broadcasts--not commercials, mind you, but hosted segments in the show. Starting on March 27 of next year, the station will sell five-minute spots in its regular broadcast, dubbed "Showcase Minnesota." These product- or service-plugging sessions will cost $2000 to $2500 apiece. (No word on whether the segment hosts will be open to "dating," or what the surcharge might be.) It's part of a larger Gannett plan that originated in Denver and by 2006 will include half a dozen or more of the corporation's TV outlets around the country.

University of Minnesota media ethics prof Jane Kirtley pronounces herself "aghast" at the plan. Indeed: Don't they realize how much more money they could make selling their 10 pm Extra segment? It already consists of product promotions in the guise of consumer news roughly half the time. Here's a list of the last 16 Extras archived at the KARE-11 website, with the consumer pieces in bold:

The new deal on earning [airline] miles [airs tonight!] Television buying tips Podcasting, have opinion will share Best prices on hottest toys Finding the perfect pair of jeans Coroner could unlock decades-old mystery Winning at Texas Hold 'em Surviving annoying co-workers Some are sweet on Splenda KARE 11 Investigates: Reker Case Eyes all around - Cameras and Cops The Gift of Life - Part 2 The Gift of Life - Part One Seeking a Killer - A Cold Case Gets New Life Part 1 Timing is everything -- The traffic light mess Virtual home tour a big help to buyers