Art of Living?

Art of Living?

The travel industry used to be an industry of rampant scams, but it has improved. I’ve now found a different industry that’s worse than travel ever was: cable TV.

This week Ron Posner, assistant producer for the Cable TV show Art of Living set up an appointment to speak with me about filming EWT safaris. Skeptically, I made the appointment.

Ron seemed nice enough, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on a “scam.”

“How much is this going to cost me?” I asked before the conversation began. The reply was laughter, and Ron immediately started reminding me of all the spots of this show that airs on CNN, especially over CNN’s airport channel.

So we spoke. We spoke for some time about industry trends, about EWT. Ron seemed particularly interested in the baby boomers, as he said, that was the target audience for Art of Living.

As the hour-long conversation was winding to an end, and Ron was beginning to schedule a film crew coming to see us, he mentioned the “collaborative” effort that Art of Living and EWT would be engaged in.

He called it a “scheduling fee.”

Another scam. I don’t mind talking about EWT and travel, and replied by telling him so. But it makes me wonder if every single spot we see on cable is not really news or features, but paid for by the beneficiary of that publicity.

Years ago, the travel industry was just as bad. Do you remember those free cruises, and free weeks in Orlando, which required 80% of your time visiting time-shares? Or the roundtrip to Budapest followed by an inflated ground package? The most striking were the so-called “taxes” that airlines place on their ticket prices. Usually half of the amount wasn’t really a government tax, but a fuel surcharge determined solely and completely by that airline. Some of that still exists, but for the most part these scams are over or disappearing.

So beware, if you aren’t already, your so-called feature spot on cable TV. That waffle pan might not really be the best one!