Okay, I know I owe everyone a better explanation for the changes at the public media company in Anchorage, where I’ve taken on a new role. I’ll get to that. But first I have to let off some steam.
Now that I’m in charge of radio, television and the web — as a singular unit we call “streams” — I’m the recipient of public TV promotional materials. And let me tell you, this is the worst part of the job.
I’m being buried alive in tchotchkes. OMG the tchotckes! In two weeks I’ve been inundated with the stuff.
Now I know why our PBS dues go up so dramatically every year. The networks, the producers, the distributors — they’re all mailing and shipping out endless streams of expensive trinkets and doodads in the hopes that I’ll love their program and run it day and night and promote it and call it George.
As Jon Stewart said during his infamous appearance on CNN’s now-dead “Crossfire” — Please. Stop. You’re hurting America.
Okay, maybe not hurting America, but you’re filling my office with stuff I don’t need. We don’t select programs because you send me a chocolate bar or children’s bookends. I’m not going to be a new-found fan of your show because you printed a four-color professional multi-tabbed binder or sent me “fun” stickers or magnets. Put another way: Your ability to slap a logo on a plastic Chinese toy or hire a print shop does not impress me — it depresses me.
Please, TV producers and distributors: Put your money into making a better product. Edit tighter. Get better visuals in the program. Hire good photographers and videographers and sound engineers. Build a better web site. Collaborate with your public TV brethren and create a wonderful online-only marketplace for programs and additional information.
Most importantly: please lower my cost for buying your show.
Please do not send me a box of glossy postcards pushing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. No more Good Grips spatulas or basting gear for that cooking show. Save the four-color promo stuff for lobbying Congress — not me. Keep the DVDs and put your show clips and previews online. I’m already on your team, so please don’t waste $25 shipping me your latest professionally-developed marketing pouch with tiered inserts on velvety cardstock ($25 x 300 stations = $7,500).
Why is it that a network of stations, all committed to noncommercial public service, spends this much money on advertising to me?