Bad Text Reading

smartphone and glasses on a table beside the hands of a man typing on a laptop

Journalism is about truth and truth is about authenticity. And that’s what was in my head last Friday morning when I basically stopped the show in its tracks and asked, “What is wrong with people today? Is every texter in a foul mood?!”

The negative texts to our show weren’t just insulting, they were specific. It started with one guy, a regular, who called us lazy and unimaginative for replaying an interview from earlier in the week. This newsworthy subject aired live at 8:20, and the replay was around 6:30. There’s nothing lazy about it. We sometimes do this when the subject is topical and interesting, to make sure that listeners with different routines, who tune us in at different times, get to hear the content. (And we only ever replay an interview once.) Radio listening patterns show it’s not likely that someone would hear this interview twice, but there’s always an exception.

And it went from there.

We’re the kind of hosts whose first response is to determine whether there’s any validity to the complaint. We’re not perfect. But on Friday, some people were merely spewing. My mini-rant became a bit of a theme for part of the show. And people responded.

One texted, “puppies, rainbows and lollipops”.  Another wrote a thick thread of compliments. Soon, we were laughing about how the morning turned around. Truth. Authenticity. Being human.

Half an hour later, another text came in from the guy who called us lazy. “I want to apologize for my earlier text”, it began. “I woke up grumpy and I took it out on you. Have an excellent weekend.”

I thanked him and wished him a great weekend, too. Real people are at this end of the radio, and they’re at the other end. He woke up annoyed and then heard something he had heard before. I get it. Like Ken said, the apology is great, but how about not being a jerk in the first place?


2 thoughts on “Bad Text Reading”

  1. Wow – I’m so glad you revealed those texts on air. It shows people just how dickish some of them can be and how you really do read and absorb them. People are so used to shouting at their tvs or posting on websites that I think they’re immune to the idea that there are breathing human beings on the other end. Now, whether they care — that’s what determines character. (Theirs – not yours.) Hang in there. Good wins – it just has to.

  2. I think there’s a connection between stupidity and hateful comments. I think dumb people are easier to anger and smarter people don’t see the point in being hateful. At least that’s been my experience in the media. I got a complaint once from a guy who said he hoped my wife would divorce me and then it went downhill after that. The funny part? I can’t even remember who he was. Whatever I did to him that was so awful, which prompted his hateful rant, slips my mind to this day.

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