Open Mike

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Scared Programmers

J. Max Robins’ Jan. 29 column “Harsh Reality” was not quite harsh enough. I attended NATPE attempting to bring fresh new reality programs to the eyes and ears of the Andrea Wongs [executive VP, alternative programming, specials and late-night, ABC Entertainment] of the business. I was lucky to get any pitch meetings (and unfortunately not with Ms. Wong’s people). Possibly I got a meeting or two because I have been appearing as an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, a four-time Emmy-nominated reality program.

It’s not that the upper-management isn’t looking for good ideas. But the system has become inbred with safe, ineffective copycats (middle managers and producers) sucking the dollars and sense from the decision-making processes.

Gary Sohmers
Framingham, Mass.

Beantown Bungle

I agree with most of J. Max Robins’ column “Bumbling in Boston” (Feb. 5). It should be noted on the same morning as the discovery of the Cartoon Network devices, there were two pipe bombs discovered in different parts of the city, which contributed to the mayhem.

For 362 days of the year, our Bomb Squad trains for dismantling bombs. Suddenly they get about 20 or so calls in one morning? Drama will definitely ensue. Everyone acted like buffoons.

Mark Higgins
Boston

Most government agencies have their annual budgets determined by their previous year’s expenditures. Could that explain how one of the country’s best-trained bomb squads could mistake a simple circuit board with ordinary LED lights on it for a WMD? If so, I pray for the safety of the outfield video screen at Fenway Park.

Mark Brown
The Arnold Agency
Charleston W.Va.

Self-Serving Media

In response to your editorial “The Needless Doctrine” (Jan. 29), I admit you have a point. Yes, abiding by the fairness doctrine did cause tongues to be tied. But am I to infer that, in a land freed from the doctrine’s constraints, we’re living in an era of enlightenment, filled with hard news and heated debate? Please. I live on Long Island with a population of 3 million people and 19 commercial radio stations that do not employ one news reporter.

How about changing the license-renewal process so a company has to illustrate how it has earned the right to continue to feed the airwaves America owns? In exchange for the half a trillion dollars media companies take in, I’m entitled to enlightenment, information, news and debate.

Jaci Clement
Executive Director
Fair Media Council
Bethpage, N.Y.

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