Monday, April 14, 2008

Open Door

Politicians are fond of saying they have an “open door” policy. That’s pretty much true here at our KFIZ studios as well. We’ve always pretty much allowed listeners to walk right in when they feel like it. However a recent incident makes you wonder how much trust you should put in that policy.

Bob Hoffmaster was on the air and made a comment about some parents from somewhere else in the country that were trying to decide which street gang their child should belong to. The comment was meant to be funny, but at least one listener didn’t take it that way.

She drove over to the station and during a commercial break started to tell Bob how inappropriate it was. The conversation took place in the office and not in our on-air studio. However the woman did barge into the studio while Bob was on the air and started ranting at him.

I’m not going to say who was right or wrong, but being a fellow announcer I have to say the woman crossed the line. Most of the people who enter our studios are guests. Sometimes people come in off the street with birthdays or whatever, but have the courtesy to wait until your microphone is off to tell you what it is they need or want.

There have been incidents where radio announcers have been beaten up or killed while doing their air shifts. Certainly that wouldn’t happen in Fond du Lac? Or would it? Trouble is you never know nowadays when people are trying to get their point of view across and don’t seem to know when they’ve gone too far.

Once upon a time I worked at a radio station in Minocqua. Our nighttime disc jockey was getting crank calls at the station. He put up with them and reported them to the station manager who asked him to keep a record of them. Finally he got fed up and started arguing with the guy. The guy told him he’d come down and straighten him out and our disc jockey said come ahead.

Well the guy didn’t, but we later found out he was picked up one night running naked down a county road waving a shotgun around. Turns out he only lived a couple blocks away from our disc jockey.

With radio you’re going to touch a nerve once in awhile. It’s unavoidable. You only hope that it’s not going to enrage someone to the point where they feel the need for a face-to-face confrontation. Most times you are trying to say something clever that the majority of your listeners will know is a joke. However some don’t realize it’s only humor. I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for them or just scared.

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