A while ago, long tenured radio talker Bill Good told us he was offended by suggestions that certain callers get special treatment and easy access to CKNW air waves. He then spoke with a select number of regular callers who confirmed that what Mr. Good had said was true. This is from ROTFL published here:
CKNW’S Bill Good, January 30, 10 am hour:
[Producer] Jessica [Gares] and I have been, ah, oh, under attack, small attack, small people, small minds, I think, accusing us of, um, taking stacked calls. In this case, that particularly either favour the Liberal Party, or are deliberately hateful towards the NDP. And I try to. First of all, I say, what’s a stacked call, or what’s a planted call?
Since the morning show host doesn’t know about devious techniques employed elsewhere, I thought he might want to read Radio Daze from Tablet Magazine. An excerpt:
Last year, a young man called in to a radio station with a problem. …The caller told his story with passion and verve, and then asked the station’s listeners for their advice…
Or at least he would have, had this been a real conversation. The young man…was an actor, and the staged call an audition. A short while later, he received the following email: “Thank you for auditioning for Premiere On Call,” it said. “Your audition was great! We’d like to invite you to join our official roster of ‘ready-to-work’ actors.” The job, the email indicated, paid $40 an hour, with one hour guaranteed per day.
But what exactly was the work? The question popped up during the audition and was explained, the actor said, clearly and simply: If he passed the audition, he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio. He would never be identified as an actor, and his scenarios would never be identified as fabricated—which they always were…
Curious, the actor did some snooping and learned that Premiere On Call was a service offered by Premiere Radio Networks, the largest syndication company in the United States and a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, the entertainment and advertising giant…
“Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,” read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported… “We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get you the right person fast.”
Now, I don’t suggest that NW is hiring actors to make phone calls but I do suggest that somebody might be doing it when shaping public dialog is helpful to their purposes.