Sunday, August 03, 2014

Hello, Caller

     So here I sit, Company, on a lazy warm Sunday morning, sucking down coffee and wondering why my space bar seems to be working only intermittently.  While all of this hot action (I am sure that this look behind the curtain at the fascinating life of a media mogul is almost more than you can stand) is going on I am listening to a radio show called A Way With Words.  This is a show on which two linguists take phone calls and e-mails for an hour or so about words and phrases and what they mean and where they come from, etc.  So I am sitting here and listening to the people call in and I suddenly realize how big of a deal it would be for me to do that.  Seriously.  And I am a media mogul.  But let's me honest, I just don't call in to the radio on a daily basis.  But there are people who do, and that blows my mind.  The more I think about it, I see two main groups of people when it comes to radio call in folks.
     There is a group of people who call into radio shows all the time.  Seriously.  They pick up the phone and ask questions or scream opinions at hosts on sometimes a daily basis.  If one listens to a lot of talk radio or sports radio you know the type.  The hosts know their name and story without prompts.  And the callers don't think twice about picking up the phone and getting it on with the professional talkers.  I can not even fathom that.
     I site squarely in the middle of the second group, and I suspect that most of you do too, Company.  For me to call a radio show would be a big deal.  A big deal.  I would be nervous as hell and I would most likely stammer over my words at least a little.  And the phone call and appearance would be the culmination of a long, arduous process.  I would have to think it over for a long time.  I would have to discuss it with my friends, family, and co-workers, but not the Unpaid Interns because I don't care what they have to say.  I would worry and obsess about whether or not my question was dumb, or whether or not the radio hosts would have to think about it or if they would dismiss it as not being worthy of discussion.
     Once that was all sorted out, then I would have to sit and consider whether a tweet or text or e-mail to the show might be a more appropriate than a phone call.  Those can be composed in advance and screened prior to pushing send, but then again they might not be used on the show.  I might never get my answer.  So is my point so poignant or my question so important that I need to risk making a fool out of myself on a nationally syndicated radio show?  Or even a local show? 
     It's all so hard to me, Company.  It really is.  And as I sit here listening no longer to A Way With Words but to America's Test Kitchen, I can't help but to think that the people who are calling in are squarely in my camp.  I imagine that they have made careful (if maybe not as neurotic) consideration as I have before making the call to get their answer.  And maybe that is a function of the shows I am listening to on this particular morning, but I just don't see any of these folks as serial callers.  I believe they have a problem and don't know where else to turn.  But my goodness, it would take a long time for me to get to that point.


Grant Barrett said...

You're right -- it does take a lot of gumption to call! We try to make it as easy as possible for everyone. A producer talks with the callers before going on. Martha and I try to be gentle, even when we disagree with the caller. And sometimes, if the caller just is too nervous, we don't air the segment -- or we even redo it on another day. We're not a "gotcha" radio show out there to make people look bad; we just want to have a chat with interesting people.

Give us a call if you want.

Best wishes,

Grant Barrett

Big Dave said...

Thanks for the behind the scenes look, Grant! Someday I will call, once I work up the nerve of course. :)