Weathering the Storm

by - December 08, 2010

As I've told you all before, we get a lot of viewer feedback, whether it's by phone, on our website or through email. The feedback varies from viewer to viewer.

We hear everything from "We love how you handled such and such"... to "[insert anchor name] was showing too much cleavage tonight"... to "Your coverage of so-and-so event was horrible."

We have habitual callers, like Paul from Enterprise, and people who only call when they hear the wind blow harder than normal.

In the past two days, I've been the lucky team member to answer the phone for angry and/or rude viewers.

First, I get the lady who can't tell the difference between a newscast and a commercial. She insisted that we did a story on a scholarship foundation and demanded that I give her contact information, when in fact what she saw was a commercial for said foundation. When I told her I couldn't give her any information and directed her to their website, she became affronted that I should even suggest that she maneuver the intricate workings of the world wide web. She became even more aghast when I told her that what she saw was indeed a commercial that we were paid to air and that we had no affiliation with the foundation.

Then I get an irate parent who apparently just wanted someone to yell at. A bomb threat was called in to an area school, at which point the students were taken outside until the threat was either confirmed or proven to be false. This parent was angry that her child had to wait outside for two hours in sub-freezing temperatures and that she was not personally notified of the situation. So she called us and proceeded to yell at me without taking a breath or allowing me to interject a single comment. I finally had to be firm and tell her that we had a reporter on the scene but they wouldn't let him in and she could see further details on our 5:00 show. Then I basically hung up on her, after telling her to have a nice day.

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  1. I'm sorry viewers were using you as a punching bag, Ashton! I already told you how I had to field nocturnal calls from a drunk with an axe to grind. That went on for a year or more before we cut him off. Many viewers are remarkably unsophisticated. I'm shocked to know that little has changed in that regard. Back in my day we had viewers who assumed that anybody who appeared on our channel was actually physically there in our building! We had people calling up and asking to speak to Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson, Tom Snyder, Wolfman Jack and many other celebs whose TV shows aired on our station.