Yes, you are being cynical. While it is important to know if the applicant is an alumni relation (big points!) or employee dependent (extra point!), if daddy made a big contribution to the school admissions would already know about it one way or another. So called development cases, or "dean specials" (read: Dean of Basket Weaving's golf buddy's son needs a second chance after getting expelled from a better school), always get flagged for special consideration.
It's ridiculous to print out an electronic application! There are document management database systems out there that have access controls and workflow that help keep the processing and admissions departments from drowning in a sea of folders and paper. Try OnBase, for one: today's document management system with a GUI from 1992.
Limits are there for a reason. Not just because conciseness is important, but because the admissions office has to read 30K apps in a reasonable amount of time.
The limits that Common App doesn't enforce are staggeringly stupid. Could someone tell them that 1990 called and wants their free-form date field back? I'm tired of finding and fixing the one idiot in a batch of 3,000 apps who was born on 9/31, or who entered this year as their DOB. No sanity checks at all!
Unless the only "local stations" are run by Clear Channel. Then I wish you good luck in getting them to actually do anything other than pre-recorded content. An entire region loses power for a day? Nothing's going on if it's Clear Channel, just the top 100 pop crap countdown... Did a train carrying toxic chemicals derail, causing 1 death and over 100 injuries? Clear Channel doesn't air any warnings. The hits just keep coming...