Pleasing An Audience Isn’t Easy!

Dave’s Write Away
By Dave Scott, Host, Spaced Out Radio
Pleasing An Audience Isn’t Easy! 
One of the hardest things to accomplish as a radio or podcast host is to build an audience.  Time is valuable, and many people out there only have a few minutes a day that they can dedicated to a show, cause, or topic of discussion.  It’s one of the most difficult tasks at hand in paranormal entertainment.  Why?  The audience has hundreds of options to choose from.  Add that with if they don’t like the topic, guest, or heaven forbid, the host, they have no problem tuning out and finding somewhere else to spend their precious time.  When someone gives you their time, whether its for a radio or life in general, they are giving you their most precious commodity.  Time is finite on this planet as every single one of us on this planet has a check out date.  So in the case of radio or podcasting, when a listener gives you their time, you as a host need to show the respect for that.  Too many times that isn’t the case, which is highly unfortunate.  We should always remember that when someone gives us their time we need to respect that honour of that person who’s tuned in.  It doesn’t matter whether your show has ten listeners per episode or 100,000 per show.  You need to bring your best as a host, and give your best each and every time.  The audience, no matter how big or small, deserve that from you!
That being said, respect is a two way street.  Especially when it comes to the paranormal type topics we broadcast.  This is an industry that has been riddled with fakers, hoaxers, and at times very raunchy people.  With this poor history of people claiming faux videos, photographs or research in general, the listening public has literally had enough of the garbage that has tainted what could be wonderful research.  Yet the unfortunate part is some in the audience are so bitter over never receiving the ‘truth’ from guests, that they have become angry over it.  They want the stories to stop and to provide actual research rather than hearsay.  You can’t blame them!  For every Dr. Bob McGwier, there are dozens of fake scientists claiming their work is scientific and factual.  But where do we as hosts have to draw a line with this?  This is where things get a little difficult.

For me, I never want to attack a guest on the show.  I don’t think that’s right.  Nor do I think its fair.  I also don’t believe it’s good radio.  Too many podcasters and radio show hosts today feel the need to explode on guests in a Rush Limbaugh or Tucker Carlson type of way.  Too many times have I talked to guests, from big names to those just getting into the field who refuse to now go on certain shows because they feel they were ambushed by the host who verbally attacked them and their research.  The unfortunate side of this is there are members of the audience who want this to happen.  There’s a huge difference between being critical and just being an asshole for the sake of being one.  Sometimes, there are members of the audience who just want verbal ‘blood’ and want to see a guest destroyed on the air, which in my opinion doesn’t do anyone any good.  There’s no reason for it at all.

A great example of this is a featured guest we have on Spaced Out Radio monthly in Butch Witkowski.  Butch is a good friend of our show and has been doing his ‘Strange Days’ segment for the last four plus years.  His no nonsense approach has made him a listener favourite with our listeners, but it also brings out the critics as well.  Butch is a former police officer in Pennsylvania and a former member of MUFON in that state.  Because of his alpha personality, over time he’s rubbed a few people the wrong way.  Also over the years, people have questioned his personal background.  A number of years ago there was an obscure website that published some false accusations of Butch, to which he had to deal with on a personal level.  It went as far as stating that he was charged with impersonating a police officer.  This is simply not true.  Yet, once on the internet, always on the internet, and to this day, I still have listeners who want me to ask Butch about this past dilemma and potentially grind him for it.  That’s something I won’t do.  There’s no point to it and a large waste of time considering it had already been dealt with.  Why?  It’s useless.  It’s untrue and sometimes people need to stop trying to pick fights along with stirring up false information for the sake of ‘combat radio’.  We aren’t about that.  When I first heard these false accusations years ago, I called up Butch and he sent me photographs proving he was a cop including a newspaper article with him and two other officers in uniform.  That’s one example.  I then did other research to confirm what I already knew which was people trying to spite him for whatever reason they chose.  Things like this are not worth my time.

Look, I will be the first one to say there are guests we have on Spaced Out Radio that I do not believe their research.  I’m not going to agree with everyone.  But I feel it’s not my job to crucify someone on the air because their research is so far off in ‘Wooville’ that it’s totally unbelieveable.  We bring the topics and it’s up to the audience to decide whether or not they want to believe.  What good does it do for me as a host to power trip on a guest who has taken time out of their evening to provide information?  Now, that being said, there is a difference between asking tough and critically thought out questions compared to trying to embarrass someone who took the time out for your show.  Only recently have I ever had to throw my first guest off a show in five years, because after two warnings of swearing, the third strike and he was out.  Add to the fact the guest sounded quite intoxicated or stoned.  Well, I don’t need that, but the audience doesn’t need amateur hour either!

Getting back on topic.  At certain times, tough questions need to be asked.  I’ve been critical in my thinking with MUFON, and have asked some high ranking members like Tom Whitmore very difficult questions regarding some of their history.  Those questions needed focusing on because this a public group who has had some difficult times that in my opinion, Executive Director Jan Harzan has refused to deal with publicly.  I have been highly critical of the To The Stars Academy for trying to control the UFO media narrative, and dodging media requests.  I have been critical of the BFRO when it comes to their ways of researching, claiming they are scientifically studying Sasquatch when all they are doing is conducting opinion.  I have been critical of paranormal groups like TAPS for pulling the wool over people’s eyes when it comes to hauntings. I’ve been hard on Dr. Steven Greer for his mandate on what he needs to do an interview, including asking if he will be paid. When it affects the public that’s when tougher questions from groups and organizations need to be asked.  Ripping into a solitary researcher or author who is giving their precious time to allow us to hear where their research has taken them, well that’s different.

The audience needs to know the more professional a radio show or podcast is conducted, less likely they’re going to have someone throw a guest under the bus.  If that’s the sort of thing you’re into, then maybe certain shows aren’t for you.  But if you want a host who conducts themselves in a professional and respectful manner, well, I know exactly where you should tune in!

Author: Gail Hodson Shirk

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