I get a lot of e-mails commenting on our radio and TV programs. Many of them are thoughtful, constructive and interesting.
But lately, I’ve been deluged with notes from people objecting to a TV show nobody has seen yet: NBC’s “Playboy Club”, which will debut this fall. I’ve seen a little bit of the show (I got a sneak preview at NBC’s network meetings in New York earlier this year), and it looks somewhat interesting, set in the 1960’s era Playboy Club in Chicago. Considering NBC’s track record for hit shows lately, I have no idea whether it will succeed or not. The e-mails are part of an organized effort to stop the show from airing. I can tell it’s an organized effort because all the letters are exactly the same. Few of them are from Milwaukee. One was from the United Kingdom. Another was from Jamaica. One note was addressed to “First Name, Last Name” and was signed: “Your Name Goes Here”. The letter-writers are upset because they believe the show glorifies pornography and idolizes Hugh Hefner. I don’t know if that’s true or not since I haven't seen enough of the show to judge. I think getting feedback from listeners and viewers is healthy (and sometimes helpful). But organized letter-writing campaigns about programs that nobody has actually seen don’t really have much impact on me, especially when it's obvious that the letter writers didn't actually write the letters.
Speaking of NBC, I heard from lots of viewers who were upset at the network after someone on their staff edited out the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance during their US Open coverage a few weeks back. I couldn’t agree more. WTMJ radio talk hosts Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner both addressed this on the air as well. As a local affiliate, we have no involvement in the production of network programs, but I spent considerable time on the phone expressing my disappointment directly to the network. I was told that the editing decision was made by “one member of the production staff”. I found their reaction (and response) not particularly satisfying.