How NOT to win friends and influence people

Kpbs_logo2_2Ever suffer through one of those never-ending Public Broadcasting fundraising efforts? They’ll debut some
very cool new documentary or concert that will draw you in, but then they’ll interrupt every 15 minutes or so with nattering program managers and pseudo-intellectual, B-level actors or actresses who implore you to give, give,

I take no issue with the strategy since PBS does, in
fact, need our individual contributions to continue providing the kind
of content that it, and it alone, seems capable of producing
(Frontline, The American Experience and any Ken Burns documentary come
immediately to mind).

So, why in God’s name, would a local PBS general manager at San Diego station KPBS, go out of his way to alienate current and prospective viewers cum donors with absurd, Neo-Nazi like comments?

This sort of boorish, ‘bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you’ behavior not only undermines the overarching PBS philosophy, it reflects poorly on the organization’s carefully crafted image of being the arbiter of all things liberal, avante garde and sophisticated.

So, here’s one pledge that PBS can count on: you can forget about any donations from this particular blogger/viewer until Neanderthals like San Diego General Manager Doug Myrland are given the hook.

4 thoughts on “How NOT to win friends and influence people

  1. Love your post. Just a note from a reader who happens to produce some of those “never-ending fundraising efforts…” Every PBS-affiliate is completely local and independent. That’s what allows us to stay avante garde and sophisticated. Each station is reliant on their own local community to support their efforts. PBS is simply one supplier of many (yes, the largest) for public television programming. PBS does not control local station programming or management decisions. So I’d encourage you not to punish your local station because of the behavior of someone on the other side of the country. But it sure goes to show how all of our actions do impact eachother because of that strong PBS brand identity.

  2. I think fritz’s comment highlights how Doug Myrland got into trouble. Blogs–while an excellent way to engage an audience with an interactive dialog–by their very nature foster an environment of “glib retort” that is not as common in other forms of communication. After reading some of the blog where Myrland posted his thoughts to the angry chagrin of station listeners, and then let himself get drawn into a flame war as a result, it’s easy to see where he went wrong and how he (most likely inadvertently) damaged his reputation. Blogs are great forums for idea exchange, but not ideal venues for issue management. It’s far too tempting to let one’s temper flare behind the safety of the virtual world, even if one is in a position of responsibility who would not behave as such when communicating in another medium.