Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Working away at preparing a newscast and the phone won't stop ringing. Most of the calls are directed toward the sports department with high school scores. Based on the number of them I know I need to allow some extra time for sports.

Then a phone call is answered by someone else in the newsroom...and I pause upon hearing one side of the conversation.

"No, ma'am, I don't know how the voting works on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
"I'm sure they're aware of the problem, but you could call ABC."
"Well, I hope you'll keep trying. I'm sure it will be OK."

The things people will call the news department about, I think to myself.

A few minutes later, another phone call. This time I get both sides of the conversation.

"I've been trying to vote on 'Dancing With the Stars' all night and all I get is a busy signal."

"I'm sorry to hear about that, ma'am. I guess a lot of people must be voting tonight."

"I've never had this much trouble getting through before and I've been calling all night and only get a busy signal. There must be something wrong. Or have they turned off the voting early?"

"I don't know ma'am, I'm not aware of any problems. I'm sure the system must just be overloaded. But that's ABC, not a local program."

"Well, I've been trying to vote all night and just get a busy signal and they're going to cut off the voting here in just a few minutes and something seems to be wrong with the voting."

"I'm sorry you've been having difficulties, ma'am. I'm sure there are many people trying to vote and the system is overloaded."

"Well on other weeks I haven't been able to get all my votes in. You're supposed to get up to three votes from a single phone number, and I've got three different phones with different numbers and I never get more than five votes before they cut me off, and I'm not getting all the votes I'm supposed to get."

"I'm very sorry, but I don't really have any information on how the voting works. It's an ABC program and you will need to contact ABC."

"Well, I thought you'd want to know because you run the program on your station and there's something wrong with the voting on that show and people need to know about it."

"Yes, ma'am. And I'll pass along your concerns to our program director, but we really have no control over that show. You really should call ABC. Would you like their number?"

"No, I just think there's something wrong with the voting on that show and people need to know because I've been trying to call all night and can't get through and I'm not getting the votes I'm supposed to get."

"Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry about that. I'll pass the information along to our program director."

"OK, but I really think you should investigate because I don't think the voting is correct on that show."

Millions are unemployed. Millions are homeless. Millions are hungry. Millions are uninsured. There is turmoil in many parts of the world. But for this caller, the most important news story of the day is that voting on "Dancing With the Stars" may be corrupt.