I work in Television

Well, kinda.  My real job is to manage the local public radio station, but there’s a TV station attached to that as well.  It’s what’s called a ‘Joint Licencee’ in the public broadcasting world.  But before I got the (first floor) corner office, I was asked to take a radio program idea and put it on television as well.  I’m not complaining.  But sometimes the viewers boggle my mind.

I had a voice mail after last week’s show, which is not unusual.  The show is a local, public affairs journalists’ round-table, and we often get comments from our audience.  In their defense, I’ll say that most of them are pretty well thought out and have something to say.

But this particular caller said (and I’m paraphrasing here) … “It’s 2007.  Can’t you guys make a quality product?  Tell the host to get a haircut and put on makeup”.

Now, for the purposes of being on television, I buy more expensive makeup than my wife.  They tell me I could write it off as a business expense, but I don’t.  And while I don’t spend a ton on haircuts, I do have them start with the #4 clippers in the back and make the rest of it match.  At 49, I’m pretty well blessed with a nice head of hair, even though it’s going kind of salt and pepper.

So, the fact that his comment was completely unfounded is one thing, but it points to something deeper.

It’s about the content, stupid.

For crying out loud.  How can you judge a (hopefully) serious public affairs program on public television by how the host LOOKS??!!! If I was on the radio, you’d never know.  I could be in cut offs, an obscene t-shirt, and flip-flops and you’d pay attention to what my guests and I SAY and KNOW, not how we look.  Is the most credible show the one with the host with the best cable hair?  Should I look like I’m about to belt out some anthem at The Metro?  Gimmeafreakinbreak!  It’s the content, stupid!

And these kinds of people vote.



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