Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chris Whitley 'Living With The Law'

In case you didn’t know it, I’m a producer for an afternoon talk show on the radio. I run the board, I keep the show on schedule, I add commentary and comments, I gather traffic information, and I screen phone calls. I’m doing the jobs of two people in this day and age of budget cuts and smaller staff.

And every day there’s just one little thing that angers me enough to want to throw fire onto a certain type of caller… The ones that call into a TALK RADIO show that don’t want to actually talk on the radio.

They listen to the conversations on the talk radio show, willfully pick up a phone, dial the number, and start spouting out their opinion on the subject at hand into my ear on the other end.

“That’s great, what’s your name?” I say as I’m trying to corral the caller that doesn’t understand how radio shows have been working for over 40 years.

“My name?” they ask with a distinct sense of surprise. And they follow that up with, “Well, I don’t want to go on the air!”

Another thing they don’t understand is that I don’t give two pieces of matching fecal matter what their opinion is until they say it on the air. It is a rule of mine that I will not mention their call or conversation unless they have a darn good explanation as to why they cannot talk on the air.

Some people are going into work or they’re at work and that’s totally cool. I understand that. Some bosses don’t cotton to employees yabbering on the phone while they’re on the clock. I get it. Those people usually tell me right up front what their deal is and if their opinion or insight has merit, I will drop it into the radio conversation.

The other 99% of those unwilling to talk on the air after phoning into a TALK RADIO show are the ones that chap my hide something considerable. Here’s how those calls generally go for me…


“I don’t wanna talk on the air but,” and they immediately cut loose with their opinion.

It’s at that point where I immediately cut in with a “Hold please”.

I put these people on hold and watch the hold time seconds turn into minutes. These dullards usually hold for about a minute before hanging up, but I do have a record holder of 6 minutes and 23 seconds.

My theory is… They are wasting my time by calling into a TALK RADIO show and not talking. So putting them on hold for as long as they’re willing to hold is my subtle little way of wasting their time. Remember, I’m doing the job of at least two people. And some of these callers either don’t hear me interrupting them for their names or they just don’t care. They just keep on blurting out their view until finally I have to sternly ask for the third or fifteenth time, “What… Is… Your… Naaaammme?”

“Oh,” they say surprised. “I don’t want to talk on the air.”

“Hold please,” I say and then immediately let loose with a line of expletives in the studio and off the air. It’s quite entertaining to the producer down the hall on our sports network.

Who are these people? After 40 years of TALK RADIO, why aren’t they aware of how the industry works? What makes them think that their opinion is so important and awash with validity that they’ll give it to a call screener and it will be passed on over the air?

I usually stop people when they’re calling in and hemorrhaging their opinions within their first sentence. Again, after 40 years of radio shows talking to and about phone screeners they assume that they’re immediately on the air when the line is picked up. Folks just haven’t wised up to the fact that the host of the TALK RADIO show usually goes to the next phone line by announcing the name of the caller before picking up.

It truly amazes me every day.

I try to be nice and friendly, but I just don’t have the patience or tolerance for folks that unknowingly waste my time.

And since God is the best practical joker in the Universe, those callers always seem to light up my phone lines just when I have something insightful or witty to add to the conversation.

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