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Complaining about Swingtown complaints

Complaining about Swingtown complaints

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There's nothing like cookie-cutter complaint letters to really make us take a long look at our programming and wonder if we are really doing the right thing. The sheer volume of the same form letter being sent over and over and over again, sometimes even by the same person just two minutes apart, is clearly the most effective way to get a TV station to change its programming. SSTUCCIWAK? That's text shorthand for "sarcasm so thick you can cut it with a knife".

The CBS-TV program "Swingtown" has really upset alot of people. That's fine. I don't even have an opinion on it because I haven't watched it and I don't plan to. It just sounds like a bad TV show to me, hence its early summer debut on a big network, aka, the season of dumping stuff. I'm more than happy to go along with the idea that it's questionable content, at best.

What I do have a problem with is the American Family Association's idea that blanketing every media station in a market with form letters will cause some sort of positive change. Curious about the source of the same letter that's sent to our general talk address about a dozen times a day, I found it on the AFA website. I entered my 84105 zipcode and found my answer. Every single newspaper, radio station, television station, outhouse, doghouse and henhouse is included when you add your name and address and click send. Please tell me why the newspaper in Elko, Nevada (yeah, it was listed) needs to hear your problem with a CBS-TV station? Why are the Deseret News, KBYU, FM100 and the Daily Herald included? I'm curious to know why I should care at KSL Newsradio whether you think a CBS-TV program is appropriate.

When your Ford breaks down and you have a problem with your dealer, do you go to the Chevy dealer across the street to complain? I love going to Lowe's to complain about the service I got at Home Depot. I really do wish McDonald's would bring back the triple cheeseburger. It's well within their capabilities to add a third patty, charge fifty cents more and put it on the menu. I think I'll go complain to Wendy's about that.

This is the e-mail we're getting (and ignoring) about a dozen times a day, if not more:

I am offended by the content of the CBS program “Swingtown.” The offensive content clearly violates our local community standards and does not reflect your license obligation “to serve the public interest.”

I urge you to refuse to air future episodes of “Swingtown.”

I also ask you to place a copy of my complaint in your files according to FCC regulations.


Here's the real kicker. On the AFA website, most stations and papers have their e-mail addresses current, but not the actual CBS station in the Salt Lake market that could actually care and do something about your complaint. Here's a tip: find out the e-mail yourself and write something short and in your own words, if you really feel strong enough about it. If you won’t take to time to put your own thoughts down, then you really must not be that upset about it. Don’t let AFA or anyone else put words in your mouth. Oh, and be sure you actually write to someone who can do something about it.


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Adam Thomas


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