I’ve been struggling all weekend if I should write this or not. I decided that giving you information for you to judge is better than hiding the info and having you wonder, “what happened?”
I ran into a situation last week and I’ve decided to make a dramatic change. I will no longer be as vigilant in returning e-mails. I’ve always considered it simple customer service to return your e-mails.
In case you didn’t know, I have returned almost every e-mail I’ve ever received as a talk show host. The only reason I would ever not return an e-mail is if your e-mail went to my junk file (I don’t know what causes that) or if you needed to cuss me out to make your point. If you treated me like a jerk but didn’t cuss, I would return your e-mail but I’m not pulling punches. I’d rip you right back. I thought it was hypocritical to only return the “nice” e-mails so I returned all of them.
No matter how heated an e-mail argument became, I could always count on that listener keeping the disagreement between us. Unfortunately that confidence was broken last week. I realize up front I’m over-reacting because it was one person out of about 200K e-mails I’ve received in almost four years. I believe I have to, however, because of how damning this incident could have been.
I consider it so important to return your e-mails because without you I have no job. Whether you love or hate me, agree or disagree, the show doesn’t exist without you and our advertisers. If you take the time to communicate, I should take the time to respond. I hate to go in this direction but the risk of a listener taking my e-mail and using it against me is now too real.
I don’t want to give you specifics because that would be unfair to the e-mailer (irrelevant of the e-mailer’s treatment of me). The listener wasn’t happy with his perception of how we treated one of the teams he rooted for and called Wolf, Farmer Rod and me idiots. I defended why we do what we do and never got personal.
Now, I’m no saint. I was very terse and sarcastic in my comments but I responded with facts to back-up my points and never attacked him.
He forwarded my e-mail directly to the team.
Luckily I have a good standing at this station. Luckily I’ve had lots of conversations with this team in the past so they knew not to take my comments out-of-context for how they were attended. As you can imagine, though, not everyone listens to the show or knows anything about me. As the e-mail circulated, the confusion mounted until a consortium of people could put out the fire. I caused a lot of people drama last week of which I feel terrible. I can’t help but think it started all because I trusted one person.
Don’t get me wrong. I meant what I said. I’m not hiding from my comments. I would have told the team the same thing. The difference is I would have explained the situation in more detail than three sentences written while I’m already on the air. I would have taken the time to give the team the respect they deserve as opposed to the time I’ll give someone calling me an idiot and questioning the work all of who work on the show. A quick three sentence e-mail can easily be misread and all it takes is one person to make a judgment and everything goes wrong.
There is one thing that comes out of this you might like. The return of the mailbag. I will now keep all your e-mails you send and answer some as soon as I can in the mail bag. With the mailbag you can find out what I think about your comments while alleviating my concern for what someone might do with my answer just because they wanted me to suck up to them.