Oh those viewer calls...

A case of PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair)? Tell us about your war stories!
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PID_Stop
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Oh those viewer calls...

Post by PID_Stop »

For whatever reason, I seem to get the bulk of viewer calls at my station whenever they seem even minimally technical (or when other people simply don't want to deal with them). And some of them are... remarkable.

Yesterday's was a woman who started off by complaining that she doesn't see our channel any more. After some questioning, it turns out that she has cable TV, that the problem affects every channel, that in fact she doesn't see or hear anything at all from the TV.

Me: "How do you know that the TV is actually on?"
Her: "Its light is on."
Me: "Did you see it stop working?"
Her: "Oh, yes, I was watching General Hospital."
Me: "Okay, what happened when it stopped working?"
Her: "My dog knocked the TV over, but I picked it back up again."
Me: "Aha... did you check to make sure everything was still plugged in?"
Her: "No, why should I?"
Me: "If a cord pulled loose from its connection, that could do it. You should take a look."
Her: "NO! THAT'S YOUR JOB!"
Me: ... :shock: ... "Well, a cable company installer might be able to do it, but they might charge you for the call. It's also possible that the impact damaged the TV. In either case, it's really something that you need to pursue yourself."
Her: "Well, you're no help! #$&% you!" (and hangs up)

I wish this was unusual... but it isn't. What kinds of crazy viewer (or listener) calls stand out in your experience?

Jeff
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by Deep Thought »

Makes you wonder how some people find their pants in the morning.

Then again... :shock:
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by PID_Stop »

Deep Thought wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:31 pm Makes you wonder how some people find their pants in the morning.

Then again... :shock:
That's why I will never use Skype or Facetime to answer viewer calls. Some things are best unseen. :lol:

Jeff
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by w9wi »

Ouch. Sure didn't want that image placed in my brain.

OK, my entry. Big honking sporadic-E opening in progress. Woman calls Engineering at our station, on analog channel 3. Asks for the phone number of the Madison, Wis. FCC office. (no, there isn't one)

This is pre-Internet so I tell her I'm going to have to go look up the Chicago office, and while I'm looking, may I ask why you're asking?

"I want to file a complaint against you for cutting back your power to increase your profits."

==================================================================================

Oh, and there's this one. Guy calls. He's about 30 miles from the transmitter & while he doesn't think there's anything wrong with us, he's trying to figure out why he's seeing channel 15 superimposed on channel 3. I think about it for a few seconds & realize he must have his VCR hooked up wrong & outputting on channel 3.

He doesn't have a VCR.

I tell him I have no idea what's going on & he's probably going to have to call a local TV repair shop.

A week later, he calls back. His wife bought a VCR & didn't tell him. (and yes, she hooked it up wrong & to output on channel 3)
--
Doug Smith W9WI
Pleasant View, TN EM66
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PID_Stop
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by PID_Stop »

w9wi wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:51 pmA week later, he calls back. His wife bought a VCR & didn't tell him. (and yes, she hooked it up wrong & to output on channel 3)
Unusual -- generally it's the guy who buys the toys without talking to his wife. :lol:

I got cussed out years ago by a woman who accused us of putting the word "STOP" over her picture.
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by NECRAT »

Back during the transition to all digital TV, we had a woman who called us, after talking to her friend "in the know" to tell us how unhappy she was that we were turning down our transmitters at night to save power. She was so mad she even contacted the local senator's office.

Turns out, she had assumed our towers were located in the actual city of license, when in fact, they were about a mile from her house. She could even see the lights from the tower from her driveway. Ended up she was using an amplified antenna to pick up our VHF signal from that distance.

The call ended with the comment (from me), that if we had in fact been lowering our power, her signal would've improved!
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by kkiddkkidd »

My radio entries...

Even though I was just a contractor, I took a call one time from a very aggressive know-it-all trying to say that the full C client in question was raising their power for the very popular morning show and then reducing it when they went off. He made all manner of threats about calling the FCC, making measurements, etc, etc. After carefully explaining that he was totally incorrect about a dozen times, I finally told him to have at it and hung up in the middle of a profane tirade. He called several more times but the receptionist forwarded the calls to their general mailbox. He would leave 10-15 minute tirades against the stations illegal operation, etc, etc.

Years later, I found a conversation on an old FM-DXer / radio gossip newsgroup (remember newsgroups?) with all manner of conspiracy theories and accusations about the station and even mentioning my conversation with this cat. He wasn't impressed with my customer service skills.

=========

Another oldie... A radio client forwarded a caller to me that was complaining about their Spanish programmed AM transmitter overriding the sound on her TV. She was located fairly close to the AM site and was very angry that they had taken over her TV while she was watching a soap opera. She had been calling for several days and they forwarded her to me (again just a contractor) to try and resolve her problem. After talking to her for several minutes and listening to her audio over the phone while listening to the AM on my shop radio, it was obvious that she wasn't hearing my client. She wouldn't accept that. We were still talking at the top of the hour when I heard very clearly the TV station call & liner in a odd spanish accent.... You probably saw this one coming...

I helped her find the SAP button on her remote and fixed the issue instantly... She had called the TV station and someone there had sicced her on the AM station without considering that they had a Spanish translation of their network programming on an SAP.

Oh the joy's of dealing with the public.
--
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by RGORJANCE »

One Saturday afternoon while working at a 50kw AM in Tulsa, I get a nice pleasant call from a fellow telling me he was getting our station in his hi-fi. I asked him where he lived and he told me. I asked him that when he looked out his window to tell me how many towers he saw. He replied ONE! I then suggested that his problem was really bad at night, to which he replied yes! I then explained to him that at night we went directional on THREE TOWERS and it was 50kw coming right at him. I then told him about shielded wire, which he understood. He knew what to do and used the wore to connect to his speakers. Problem solved. He got it cleaned up. Fortunately, he was pretty sharp.

Fossil
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by KPJL FM »

And..
I had a lady who lived across the road from our CATV sat facility who complained the those dishes made it impossible for her to hear her favorite easy listening FM.
Of course, the FM had changed owners and format...
Trim to fit, paint to match, tune for minimum smoke.
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by PID_Stop »

Similar to changing format... a number of years ago when the Oprah Winfrey show started, we dropped Donahue to run Oprah at 4; the NBC station across town picked up Donahue. Several days later a woman called me to say that she was having trouble getting Donahue on her set.

Me: I'm sorry, we don't carry Donahue now; we run Oprah at 4.
Woman: I know that.
Me: Are you having trouble getting Oprah?
Woman: No, I can't see Donahue.
Me: Channel 3 carries Donahue now...
Woman: I KNOW that.
Me: ...and we carry Oprah.
Woman: I KNOW THAT!
Me: You've called channel 9.
Woman: I KNOW THAT!!!
Me: Why don't you give channel 3 a call?
Woman: Their phone is busy.

:shock:
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by jthorusen »

Way back when, a fellow named Bill Cruse worked at the KCBS (then KNXT) transmitter. In those days, all interference complaints were routed to the transmitter. After a particularly long and frustrating call from a female viewer, Bill asked her to give him the serial number on the back of her set. He told her that he was going to permanently remove her set from channel 2's service so she could never watch it again. She hung up the phone immediately and never called back. Boy, that's what I call thinking on your feet! :D

Another story that I heard was a caller complaining that there was too much extra cable lying on the floor behind her TV set. They asked if the station could pull the excess back on their end. :roll:

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rftranstv
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by rftranstv »

i had an older couple call and said our channels had no audio. Asked them to turn their television volume up. They proceed to turn it up so loud i can hear it in the background of the call clear as day. Said they still can't hear it. Not sure how they could hear me on the phone but not their TV.
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by rfn »

Woman called saying she couldn't see Channel 6 between 4-5 pm. Only those hours.
She was the first.
Over several days there were more calls with the same complaint.
Plotted them on a map. Tight cigar-shaped pattern. Ummmmm..

Visited two of the homes. Yup.
4-pm sharp strong interference that continued until 5-pm.
But only in the defined area.

Dragged a spectrum analyzer into a van. Sure enough, a spike dead-on 87.260 MHz (station was actually a 6+ because of short-spacing).

Drove around the area. A second crew was about to work the same problem but needed a UHF barrel so stopped in a local electronics store. A little discussion about what was going on. Clerk said "that's be crazy "Bernie". Always buying parts to build weird stuff. Gave an address.

Prowling the neighborhood spotted a copper-tubing Yagi on a rooftop. Knocked on the door - "Bernie" answered and was not at all reluctant to say it was his work. The woman on the ground floor watched a particular show on 6 while she was cooking dinner so had the audio cranked up so she could hear it in the kitchen. LOUD. So loud it disturbed him and she wouldn't turn it down so he took it into his own hands.

We couldn't make him stop but The FCC did. They cared about that kind of stuff back then.

He was dumping about 50-watts into the yag and was blocking the channel 6 signal for a distance of about 5 miles with his major lobe.

We were short on technicians so the CE offered the guy a job - he obviously had talent but he declined - saying he'd lose all his welfare/child care benefits if he took it (he had about six kids).

(around 1968-68)
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by NECRAT »

One quick one.

Woman during the DTV transition, my old market at a VHF 6, DT 49. When the analog shut down happened, she went to radio shack and bought a "digital radio", so she could continue hearing channel 6 at "87.7", but couldn't figure out how to make it work...
Mike Fitzpatrick
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"If you don’t think you’re good, nobody else will" - Tom Laun (RIP)."
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Re: Oh those viewer calls...

Post by rfn »

Sounds like we may have worked at the same station at different times.

Another one: Caller from a newly-built high-rise senior building called to complain that Channel 6 was making her apartment cold. She'd start her viewing day with the news - she loved the sports guy. But within an hour her apartment chilled. About that time the news ended and she might or might not switch channels but the cooling always started with the news on 6.

First visit produced only a mystery. Her thermostat - which we thought might be too near the (tube type) TV but it was clear across the room.

Conversation with the building manager showed that the thermostats were all bogus - temperature sensing was by little varistors in the plaster in each room.

Yup. Not even knowing it was there she had put her TV right against the wall and just below the location of the sensor.

We helped re-arrange her living room.
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