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September 13, 2019 1:20 pm  #1


When Stations Don’t Deliver On Their Promo Promises

I was listening to the Alan Carter Show on GNR640 Friday, when he repeatedly promised a live presser featuring Brad Blair, the former OPP head honcho who’s suing the Ford government over his firing. (This was also CTV’s noon lead.)
 
I don’t want to make this political. Instead, my point is that I decided that, yeah, I’d like to hear what he has to say. So I stayed tuned. Of course the press conference was delayed. In the 40 or so years I’ve been in news, I can think of about four or five pressers that ever started on time. This wasn’t one of them.
 
When it finally started with more than 10 minutes left in his show, Carter introduced it and you heard Blair say something like, “This was my dream job and I was honoured to be an OPP officer.” At which point Carter came back on, backselled the voice and then changed to an entirely different subject. All that for one very short sentence!
 
Needless to say, I was P.O.’d. If you say you’re going to bring us something, providing there are no technical glitches, you shouldn’t tease it then cut it off literally five seconds in. I was able to find the live presser on the CBC website, although I didn’t appreciate having to sit through two minutes of spots to see a live event already in progress.
 
I’ve been on the other side of this and I know how much it irritates an audience. I can’t tell you the outraged phone calls we’ve had over the years when we promoed something for our 6 o’clock news and for whatever reason – time constraints, it wasn’t ready in time, a live eye failed etc. – we didn’t get to air it.
 
The phone calls were hard to answer because there was no real excuse. Someone tuned in specifically to see a promoted story we promised and it didn’t run. Viewers feel cheated of two of their most valuable commodities – their time and attention. Their threats to “never watch/listen to you again,” are usually baseless.
 
But the point remains, as in life – don’t make promises you can’t keep. It hurts your rep. And as many here know, that’s the hardest thing to get back.