The Two Kinds of F Bombs

Chances are that you’ve already seen the video of  A.J. Clemente dropping both the F-Bomb and S-Bomb in the first fifteen  seconds on the air  as the new weekend news anchor for NBC affiliate KFYR in North Dakota last Sunday.

Yep, he got fired. Yes, he should have been fired. I would have fired him. If this “broadcaster” couldn’t keep one of the seven dirty words from flying out of his mouth the first time the mic/camera went live, he has no business being in this business. Should he be given another chance? Sure, but the manager of KFYR certainly has the right to tell him to go do it somewhere else. Undoubtedly someone will hire him because of his 15 seconds of infamy , and it might even be a smart move to do so for some publicity seeking broadcaster or narrowcaster. But yea, he should have been shown the door.

Should a broadcaster always be give the boot for dropping an F-Bomb? I think not, and here’s my reasoning behind it and why I began this post with why there are two kinds of F-Bombs:

Mr. Clemente’s F-Bomb is an F-Bomb based on inexperience and, well, stupidity. His expletive happened because he’s inexperienced, has not yet learned to respect the mic/camera and proves that, in my opinion, until he gets a better handle on the English language and a more mature outlook on life and his employer, he shouldn’t be allowed to step through the front door of any broadcast house. To put it bluntly, he just doesn’t have what it takes (yet) to be trusted when the “on-air” light is lit.

So is an F-Bomb ever excusable? Yes. In my opinion, if an experienced announcer or host drops one it can often show that the seasoned professional is so relaxed behind the mic/camera, that their “real” personality is finally shining through. This is why you have a delay. It is entirely possible that a host is so at home, so comfortable in the studio that they accidentally blurt out an F-Bomb. The best on-air hosts WILL be so at home and comfortable in the studio that the dreaded F-Bomb will spout from their lips without them even knowing it ever happened. In a twisted way, it’s exactly the place any smart Program Director would want their host to be, and exactly the kind of thing you’re paying a board-op or producer to listen for. You want your personality to be themselves and at home behind the mic/camera as they would be talking to a friend or foe and your support staff to not only be listening for a guest or host to cross the line, but to dump the host when necessary. But if host the is an idiot, dump them for good.

As a Local Broadcaster, You Are the Gatekeeper, Not Twitter or Facebook

Someone hacks the Twitter account of Associated Press and announces that The President has been wounded in a bombing. aphackStocks take a sneak left-hook to the chin and over 200 billion in market value evaporates. Sure, the market corrected following the real news that the Twitter AP report was a hoax, just another malicious hacker wreaking havoc on us all. So the question of the hour is.. is Twitter and social media the new trusted source for responsable and trusted news?

To quote Churchill  “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” With Twitter, it spans the globe in an instant, for better or worse. As broadcasters, we know better. We have the experience to self-edit and use our better judgement before we crack the mic. The pants are worn by  professionals when it comes to reporting news. We are the trusted gatekeepers. There are no gatekeepers watching the undisciplined and fledgling floodgates of an unregulated and untrusted matrix of digital innuendo, rumor, untrusted and untested fad. We wear the pants. Sure, this may be a little over the top, but turn the competitions disadvantage and weakness into our advantage. This should be where the copy for your creative service director should start tomorrow morning. Every full-service radio station in the country should have this promo on the air tomorrow morning. “Don’t trust Twitter for what’s going on in the world, trust the professionals.”

This article on the AV Club nails it.