My boss told me long ago that people in pain make the loudest noise. We were talking about the complaints after we had changed format on a radio station but it really does apply to almost any situation in life. Recently we made several changes on one of the radio stations that I am nominally in charge of. I notice I am less in charge when things are going right and more in charge when people have a problem. Right now it feels like I have a bull’s-eye painted on my back but it’s part of my job description I guess. The part where it says I will be a punching bag.
For the purpose of this narrative the changes are not important. The reaction of the people in pain is what I want to focus on. Sitting at my desk I can almost tell by the way the phone rings that it’s another angry listener. I have tired of trying to reason with these folks. In spite of the fact that they say they want to know the reason for the change, they really don’t care. What they want to do is vent their spleen on me and anything I have to say is totally superfluous.
So I have taken to listening without making any comment until they run down and ask if I am still there. I answer them with all the politeness I have left and they start in again. I draw the line at personal attacks. First of all although I agree with the change it wasn’t my idea. In fact the order for the upheaval came from the very highest level of management in the company so I had to laugh when one of the callers asked for the CEO’s name and phone number. I wonder how that conversation went?
In my career in radio I have made many changes to the radio stations I have been entrusted with. Personalities have been hired and fired, music formats have been changed and all along the way I have had to deal with the vocal minority that doesn’t like the change.
It seems that the rally cry is something along the lines of “it’s new and different. We don’t like it”. I love the we. Always the person complaining claims to be speaking for a great multitude of others who are like minded. I am tempted when I hear the we to ask if they have a frog in their pocket but I did that once and the angry caller took offense. So now I just sit and listen and wait until they run out of steam and then put the phone down and wait for the next one. It’s a great job, being the one with target on your back.
The Rant D’Jour is about oil.
Even with the price of gas slowly drifting back to a level where it’s just an arm and a leg…more