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Radio stations should regulate talk shows

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01.FEB.11

Editor: People waste hours each day trying to connect to the host on a talk show. Yet, it is easy to free up these people and let them engage in some productive work. The solution lies in the hands of the talk shows themselves.{{more}}

Why not accept the initial call off-air and record according to subject, telephone #, and name.

The station may call back, based on subject matter and relevance, example – crime, corruption, jobs or unemployment, poor roads or politics etc.

The station in its own wisdom, viewing the subject matter, may fail to call back, depending whether the contribution or telephone #, or name, signals crap, ignorance, malice, etc.

We thus free callers from the frustration of having to dial the station number twenty times over a period of two hours or trying for three months – without ever making an on-air connection, all the while wasting productive time.

Having tabulated the incoming off-air calls at the front desk under their various headings, the information may be posted immediately via computer to the moderator.

The process may take place before the programme, or at the start of the programme, and each caller would be on the telephone only for the fifteen seconds it takes to register the topic he wishes to discuss. In ten minutes, the station may develop a register of thirty prospective contributors, the radio or TV station may arrange with the telephone service provider to pay the telephone company half price for all outgoing calls. The station may recover part of this expense by later billing the caller at fifty cents per subject matter raised.

Having the station bear part of the cost would force moderators to lift their game in terms of knowledge and honesty, and would improve professionalism where it often seems lacking. No station would spend money entertaining stupidity. Call cut. No complaints. Station called me, then cut call.

Now, imagine an off-air caller registering to talk about bad weather, and climate is not the moderator’s strong point – the former would be honestly ignored throughout the programme. Conversely, other moderators may only dial their cronies.

Talk shows, why not try this method, and see whether we can’t produce a healthier programme. Sometimes, people listen to the low level of our debate and conclude ‘we still live in the stone age. We must do better.

Ken Cato

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