The newspaper business is a tricky one. You never know what you’re going to get from one day to the next.
This week, however, I had a pretty good idea. I figured that readers would notice that the weekly TV Guide was missing from Sunday’s edition and replaced with a daily TV grid. I was right.
The phone was ringing when I walked into my office Monday morning from angry readers. Similar calls trickled in throughout the week. Readers wanted to know, “Dude, where’s my TV Guide?”
We knew when we made the decision to stop including the TV Guide in our Sunday edition that it would be unpopular. But so would raising our rates. With the rising cost of everything, we are forced, just like other businesses to make tough decisions. We would have to either raise rates or cut back expenses by eliminating the TV Guide. Knowing that readers can get TV programming information elsewhere, we opted for the latter.
Still. There are more than a handful of people who don’t like it and they’ve voiced their opinions loud and clear. While most people understood our decision once we explained it to them, not everyone was nice.
One man suggested that the elimination of the FOX News information was a left-wing conspiracy to keep readers from tuning in. Not so.
The syndicate where we receive the daily grid doesn’t include FOX. We are, however, looking for one that offers more than prime-time information.
And then there was the lady who said the only reason she subscribes to our paper was for the TV Guide.
That one stung like a dart to the jugular.
“Surely, you enjoy some of our local content,” I asked, feeling a little nauseous.
“No. All you cover is football and horses,” she said. “It’s terrible.”
That’s when I gave up.
Meanwhile, curious readers lit up the phone lines with another burning question. They wanted to know if Clinton Anderson, the Australian cowboy, is married.
This is not a joke.
About mid-week, one of my co-workers who spends a great deal of her time fielding calls, appeared frazzled and slightly irritated.
“What’s wrong?” I asked as I was leaving the office.
“I just got another call from some woman who wants to know how to get in touch with Clinton Anderson. She wants to know if he is married or has a girlfriend,” she said.
I stopped dead in my tracks. Are you kidding?
She wasn’t. She said calls have been coming in all week from women asking the same thing.
“What are you telling them?” I asked.
“I tell them I have no idea.”
So there you have it. We have no idea about Clinton Anderson’s romantic life. And by the way, it’s fine with me if you tune in to FOX. I watch it myself on occasion - when I’m not writing about football and horses.
SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.