Monday, January 14, 2008

Was anyone listening?

So I'm listening to Bob Sullivan tell Terry Gross how no one really has the time to complain about all the fees and consumer insults we face everyday and suddenly, you're broadcasting a show from last week. What happened? Is this you? Is this NPR? Then at the break, Jim Haskins acts like nothing has gone wacko. Is he even listening?  

I must hear some kind of on-air mistake like this 8-9 times per year and like all the consumers Bob Sullivan was talking about before he was so rudely interrupted, I don't complain because who has the time? But if management thinks we're out here not noticing or don't care, understand that we do notice and we do care. Let this stand in for all those times I don't write and all the other members who noticed and didn't have time to write.

--Mary C, member

[Program Director John Hingsbergen replies:

Thank you for writing. I am grateful that you took the  time to do so. Yes, we did notice the problem with the Fresh Air  segment...but only as it was ending.  Jim Haskins could not have done  anything about it since his station breaks in the show are  recorded.

This was a very odd occurrence as a result of the fact that we record Fresh Air as it is sent to us from 12:00 til 1:00 every day. We record it in segments because of the quick turnaround  needed. It so happened that today, the computer on which the show is recorded locked up and stopped recording just as the previous segment was ending. That meant that the final segment of the show did  not get recorded today. Instead you and I and all our listeners heard the final segment of last Monday's  show.

We realized what was going on too late to go on the air and say anything about it.  By the time the show was over and Talk of the Nation was on the air, it would have been counter-productive to mention it.

We take pride in providing quality programming executed professionally and totally regret that you could hear as many as 8 or 9 on-air problems of this type in a year.

Considering the complexities of running a radio station 8,760 hours a year plus our small staff, I am grateful that it is only that often but we continue working to reduce that  number.

Sometimes problems originate with NPR or program producers, sometimes they are computer failures and sometimes they are human errors on our part. We regret them all and are constantly monitoring and troubleshooting to keep them from happening. Many hours of our programming are controlled by computers under human supervision so there are lots of places where things can go wrong.

Please let us know whenever you hear something that is not right.]


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