The Demise of Phone Calls on Talk Radio?

feedback.pdxradio.com forums feedback.pdxradio.com forums Portland Radio The Demise of Phone Calls on Talk Radio?

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  • #15682
    JBM
    Participant

    Has anyone noticed that Twitter and text messages have replaced listener phone calls to a large extent on talk radio, especially sports talk? It has changed the dynamic, for sure.

    For years, I haven’t heard a lot of interviews on sports talk where the host opens up the phone lines to listeners to ask questions of guests. Part of that is no doubt due to time restrictions, but I suspect another factor is fear of what a guest may say that may a) insult the guest, or b) prompt the producer to hit the dump button on the call (and hope the FCC doesn’t fine the station). About the only time I hear open lines is to speak with the host when there are no guests.

    Twitter, Facebook, and texts still allow for listener interaction as the host reads listener messages, while at the same time creating a safety net by screening out profanity, insulting messages, or even slanderous statements.

    One really good thing about electronic messaging is the ability to correspond with hosts off-the-air. I’ve had some interesting conversations with local hosts during Blazers games or college/NFL football.

    I do miss phone calls (well, maybe not the infamous “Shea in Irving” on the Dan Patrick Show), but E-talk is overall a change for the better. What do you all think?

    #15683
    skeptical
    Participant

    It’s easier to fake the reception of a text than it is to your friend call you up using different voice characters.

    #15706
    radiogeek
    Participant

    The younger generation won’t place a phone call if they can text instead.

    #15707
    semoochie
    Participant

    That seems strange to me. It’s too much like homework!

    #15709
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    In the last 15 years, it seems that an increasing number of calls to talk shows are being made through mobile phones, leading to callers being hard to understand. This often leads to frustration for the host, guests, listeners, and the caller (who is asked to repeat himself or herself). Another factor that just came to mind is that there are likely many people who want to participate in talk shows but are anxious about their voices being heard over the radio.

    #15715
    radiogeek
    Participant

    Besides cell phones on the air, I can’t stand the increasing use of Skype to place calls for interviews. For crying out loud, you can call anywhere in the country for pennies per minute and most places overseas for not very much cost. OK, cell phones are sometimes the only phone someone has or they are on the road, but why use awful sounding, over compressed and over processed Skype?

    #15716
    skeptical
    Participant

    Remember when Rush used to give priority to people calling with a car phone?

    #15721
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    I have heard some Skype interviews where the guest sounded almost as if he or she were in the radio studio.

    At the company where I work, we use Skype for Business for teleconferencing, and the sound has fewer artifacts than a mobile phone and much better frequency response than an ordinary analog telephone. These observations are based either on using analog corded headphones or on running the Skype audio through my stereo system at home. Do professional versions of Skype use higher bitrates?

    #15729
    duxrule
    Participant

    Could it be because Twitter and FB feeds are easier to “sponsor”? If I hear Mike Greenberg go on about the “1-800-Flowers.com Twitter Feed” one more time, I’m going to hurl. Remember, folks, the content on Blather Radio doesn’t really matter; those people are on the air only to act as vehicle for delivery of ad content. Just sit and listen for a while, if you’re able.

    #15734
    radiogeek
    Participant

    Alfredo, if you control the internet on both ends of the call and are paying for sufficient bandwidth I believe Skype senses this and uses a higher bit rate. The bad quality calls usually are because Skype downgrades it’s quality if the bandwidth on either end is low.

    Of course, then you can try and tell someone you are calling to turn off the video so the audio isn’t horrible. Most people don’t know how to do anything on their computers. At least analog land lines used to have basic predictable standards.

    (good, I can still edit this)

    I forgot to aknowledge that many “landlines” aren’t analog anyway. If telephone service is cable or over DSL as VOIP that is all digital now, and any analog service if long distance gets sent as digital data along the way somewhere. So the real question is if you can control the quality of the equipment on both ends and can you get enough bandwidth.

    I remember one time telling an interview we needed to be on a landline, and when we connected he insisted the only handset available was a crappy wireless handset. Go figure.

    #15736
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    After I wrote my previous post, I read that Skype for Business is Microsoft Lync, rebranded. This means that the two programs are totally different pieces of software.

    Also from above,

    those people [talk radio personalities] are on the air only to act as vehicle for delivery of ad content. Just sit and listen for a while, if you’re able.

    I often feel that the same principle applies to commercially sponsored Websites today. Web browsers and Flash Player have to be kept up to date so that the ads display properly; otherwise, the site might not display at all! “Sponsored content” is often thrown into the middle of what I am trying to read. Sometimes, I can’t sit through it. Although I am not one who is quick to jump on the non-commercial bandwagon, I can see why the people who experienced the Internet of the early 1990s became so pissed off by what the Web was starting to offer during the dot-com rush of the late 1990s.

    #15739
    radiogeek
    Participant

    Microsoft has owned all of Skype for several years now.

    Google I think owns Dropbox.

    Start something good and you get absorbed by the giants, and it all starts to go downhill from there.

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