JC Corcoran Responds
I enjoy your work, but I wish one of you responsible for today’s piece (Social Media: Handle with Care, published 1/27/12) had contacted me before it was published. I might have been able to contribute background information most would consider pertinent. It’s a bit frustrating to see the outcome which, in this case, amounts to a number of colleagues whose work I respect, taking positions without having some of the key facts in the story at their collective disposal. These facts may or may not have altered their opinions, but still should be taken into consideration. I hope you’ll share this information online as an addendum to today’s story.
I am not “defending” my use of rough language in the tweets. I’m only offering an explanation. Unbelievably, this entire thing began when, during the first week of October, I was alone in breaking the story, three weeks before the rest of the free world, that St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa was about to retire from baseball. The story was universally dismissed and I was roundly ridiculed by the local media. It wasn’t until the day after the World Series parade that everyone realized I’d had one of the great scoops in recent memory. My relatively new Twitter account went from 280 followers to over 2600 in just a few days. In mid-November, similar kinds of sources told me Albert Pujols was only a few hours away from re-signing with the Cardinals. I tweeted it. I ended up being wrong. That’s when some longtime adversaries went into attack mode.
1) The Riverfront Times, the publication that started the controversy by publishing the exchange between me and the “listeners,” has been attacking, cheap-shotting and mischaracterizing my work almost since the day I arrived in St. Louis twenty-seven years ago. I will simply use one story as an example of the way they work. Several years ago I was involved in a lawsuit with another pair of broadcasters. The pair engineered a physical attack on me at a charity appearance I was broadcasting from, then told police it was I that had attacked them. Over the course of the three-year long wait for the case to come to trial, the RFT published almost two dozen attacks on my character, ranging from accusation to ridicule. When I won the case, and the jury hit the opposing pair with $370,000 in damages, the RFT spoke not a word of it. Moral of the story? Their decision to come after me again came as no surprise.
2) A series of tweets from two of the individuals in question was never published by the RFT or any other media outlet that covered this story. The people who sent those tweets were nice enough to tell me they wanted to “rape my mother,” among other things. I ignored them. Again, I’m not surprised this part of the story was omitted by The Riverfront Times. It was only when more of this sewage was sent that I finally reacted the way I did.
3) This is not the way I talk to people. This is not the way I talk to listeners. This is the way I talk to creeps.
4) Two of the people that have been sending this stuff have been identified as local broadcast competitors. Cowards hiding behind phony screen names. That element to the story, somehow, has been left out of all of this. (For the record, every single thing I do in this town contains my real name and image.)
For nearly three decades I have enjoyed a terrific relationship with my listeners. Frankly, it’s the kind of bond most GMs and PDs can only dream about. I’ve achieved amazing ratings and won all the awards. I hardly think it would be fair to make this unfortunate development seem typical of my work here or somehow reduce it to being my defining moment. I learn from my mistakes as well as the mistakes of others. I hope you’ll all do the same.
I continue to look forward to your daily work at Talkers.
KTRS, St. Louis
I read your story, “Social Media: Handle with Care” with great interest. I find that tweeting is a great way to engage the audience. You will get tweets from people who will never call a radio program and sometimes from callers after they get off the air. Twitter is used by some in our business as a one way communication and I assume that is because they don’t want to be seen as only responding to favorable comments. I will tend to ReTweet a positive comment, but I will RT and respond to negative comments more frequently. I guess I enjoy the “fight, fight, fight” mentality of the school yard.
Talk radio, at least how I see it, is a persuasive medium and Twitter gives you an oppurtunity to make points and back them up with links. Twitter also reminds you sometimes that you aren’t always right.
I think the real danger in a talk radio host adamantly using Twitter seems to be the danger of slipping into a mode that allows talk that wouldn’t be OK on the air, as if you were texting a freind of yours. I am guilty of this many times.
Love the Social Media: Handle with Care exploration. Very smart!
Forester Public Relations
Los Angeles, California
Builds Up Fan Base
I have found facebook and twitter very beneficial in keeping my name in front of my former listeners during my time on the beach. Everyday I post a story or two and make a comment on it. Some of the discussions can get pretty intense. It’s as if I am doing a show without doing a show.
I have the maximum of 5,000 friends on my facebook page plus 1300 on a newer fan page and about 1300 Twitter followers. Now I know there is some overlap, but I am still adding people every day. When I announce my next gig I will have a built in forum to drive my listeners to the new station. It has been a wonderful way to build a loyal fan base and keep my name in the public’s eye.
Any host that isn’t currently using social media to build up their fan base in case they find themselves looking for work is a fool.
Talk Show Host
Responses to Walter Sabo’s Overnight: The Underexploited Daypart
THANK YOU. Never understood why dummies don’t do more with overnights. Why must you and I be smarter than everyone ALWAYS?
– Jake Fogelnest via Twitter
The dream for my next life. Another all-night talk show.
– Haney Howell via Twitter
Hey…I LOVE this,Walter! I’m a HUGE fan of “overnight” radio. It’s how I started my career. I do hope that your readers understand how true what you suggest is to them. Overnights has long been ingnored in radio…a place to put the “new guy/gal,” etc. There are TONS of wide awake people, at those hours, who’d appreciate being treated like they were as important as midday or AM drive listeners.
– Bob Bateman via Twitter
Love this. My 2 1/2 years of overnights at WHEN Syracuse (1980-82) were fantastic and the phones always rang off the hook thanks to a wide-ranging audience of students & third shifters.
– Peter King via Twitter
Walter, I always liked your response to management: “You want non-traditional revenue? How about selling the all-night show?”
– Tom Parker via Twitter
”Dennison’s…A Men’s Clothier”…etc., etc. Love the article, as you’d imagine!
– Ray Rossi via Twitter
Enjoyed this article very much, Walter. I totally agree. Before talk radio, I was on air at QVC for 15 years and helped them build the overnights to an extremely profitable time slot. Like radio, they had been neglecting it. Live and local overnight radio shows will not only “lead the way” to morning drive, they will open the door to so many new advertisers.
Nice job, thank you for writing it!
– Steve Bryant via e-mail
Contact TALKERS: info @ talkers [dot] com.