Being a Booker

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Dear Viewers,

Do you wonder how we book guests? The job is done by a group of bookers (search) assigned to the show. They get in early in the morning and "pound" the phones. They stay late until the show is booked and are often — in a breaking news environment — booking as the show is on the air.

It is a tough job because it is not simply a matter of making calls — they actually have the job of producing the show. In others words, they have an editorial input. They must book a segment on a topic that is relevant to the news, IS the news in many instances, and which is going to interest you. We don't do news/talk for ourselves. We do it for you.

Getting the right guest for the segment topic is a challenge. It also means making sure, once they "book," the right guest for the topic, that we can get the guest on camera — and yes, sometimes we can't, which means we use the phone. In some cities we have a bureau, in others a relationship with a local TV station, in still others we just hire a studio for a one-time deal — and, the most costly solution is "sending a truck." "Sending a truck" means dispatching a satellite or microwave truck (search) to that person. This is very expensive and many times a truck can't get to the guest in time for the show. In some instances, we "share" the cost of a truck with another news organization because only one truck is available in an area and several news organizations are trying to get a guest on the air. The trucks are sometimes our own, and sometimes "freelancers." Sometimes guests get lost or get late for the show which is a problem for the booker. In short, booking guests is not only a creative process, it can be a organizational nightmare.

Other problems can arise for the booker during the course of the day — a guest changes his or her mind about appearing on TV, or the segment gets eliminated. If a big news story happens, the originally booked segment is "trumped" and the booker has the rotten job of undoing all the arrangements plus calling the guest and apologizing for cancellation. I am sure that is a rotten part of the job.

As the producer/booker does his, or her job during the day, calls are constantly made to me to "yes or no" a particular topic, or direction of the segment. Many guest decisions are made without a need for me to weigh in — e.g. A law enforcement officer on a breaking news crime story, two U.S. senators on opposite sides of a political issue, etc. I am lucky to work with very experienced and smart bookers and I let them do their job. They let me do mine, so I let them do theirs without micromanaging. I over see, but I don't want to take the creative fun from them — plus, they are really good at their jobs.

You don't get to meet the producer/bookers but they really are HUGELY important to news/talk since guests drive the show. I could simply show up and not say a word and have a great show solely on how the show is produced and booked. (I know, some of you are probably thinking, "I wish she would just show up and say nothing!" Be nice.)

Here are some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

To say I am outraged at the decision of Judge Greer to prolong the agony of Terri Schiavo (search) is putting it mildly. What good is it going to do to add one more day to a life to a woman who for all intents and purposes has already expired!? It makes no sense!
It has already been fifteen years for crying out loud!
The Schlinders are out of their collective minds if they think any of this mindless legal wrangling is going to help Terri in any way shape or form!
They are not thinking of her. If they were, they would want her misery to end not prolong it because of religious ideology! It is time for these fools to stop fighting the inevitable and let Terri die in peace!! Stop demonizing Michael Schiavo. Stop the finger-pointing. Stop the name-calling. Let Terri end her life in dignity and get on with theirs. After all these years it is not about Terri or what's best for her. It has been about the Schlinders doing everything possible to stick it to Michael Schiavo. Terri has been an after thought. The Schlinders have treated their own daughter as if she were some sort of possession or some kind of prize for the taking. The only person who has given any thought to what Terri would want is Michael Schiavo! Yet, this man has been been trashed by the media and the Schlinders attorney David Gibbs and the Schlinders, themselves.
Now, a meddling judge has to stick his nose in this!
When will this madness end? This is a woman who deserves a dignified end to her life (what is left of it) not a glorified ping-pong ball!
John Swanson
Rockford, IL

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta!
You know, when the show goes off without a hitch, it's without drama ... we need drama! Just kidding, of course.
I love it when I get to pick on you because it makes me feel "smarter". You are a very intelligent person. Here's my latest "catch".
In today's blog, you stated "As always, they are grabbed randomly." As an attorney, you know that certain words have more power than others. I want you to confess, Greta. Tell the truth. Change the phrase to "almost always" ... even you've admitted in past blogs that you have selected some specific e-mails!
Life would be dull if we didn't get to pick on our favorite host:~)

E-mail No. 3 — this e-mail refers to Tuesday's blog:

Regarding your opening comment in your blog today: "When I do the show, I see a television screen without the crawl, weather, bug, lower third (the names under the guests, information), etc."
I'd like to start watching TV from your screen. I get sick of 'stuff' crawling, popping and twirling across my screen when I'm trying to watch FOX.
Claudia Tufts
Carlisle, OH

E-mail No. 4

When we have babies they can't feed themselves, are we to let them die? Of course not. It's hard to judge another person's predicament, but it seems to me that as long as Terri is not on any other life support besides the feeding tube, she should be fed.
Her family wants to take her home and take care of her, how can any judge say no to that?
Why shouldn't her family at the very least have the chance to try to care for their baby?
Sandy Neville
Woodbury, MN

E-mail No. 5

I guess I must be in the minority, but Terri's family really annoys me. First and foremost they started this whole thing through being vindictive to Michael. That said, I will tell you that my own family, only a few years ago, had to make a life or death decision. It was very painful, but with the help of Hospice, we did what we knew and was right. We all know that every person has a right to life, but how about quality of life and the right to die? Greta, would you like to linger on like Terri and have people fight over you? I believe that Terri is with Hospice, and the Hospice people are the most caring people on this earth. The way the Schindler family portrays her dying as "starving her to death, or murder" is really disgusting. If they could get over their own selves and get into their daughter's true physical condition, and allow and let her go peacefully they would be all better people for it. Michael is being vilified for having the courage to do what should have been done years ago. Remember: he is the husband. The Schindler family hate him because he found happiness with someone else — but he didn't give up on Terri and her wishes. Even if they weren't her wishes it was/is time to let her go. Her family has to now get their own life and stop trying to live it through their daughter who knows nothing. No, Michael should not just "give her over". It is not murder. It is mercy. I hope that by tomorrow I can say a prayer for her in heaven. I shall hope for that. She will then be with some very great people.
New Haven, CT

E-mail No. 6

So the plot thickens about the penis. I must jump to the other side now. She had no right cutting it off. They both should rot in prison. Free food, clothes, roof over their heads, free dental and medical care, they're set for life.
Kathy Palmer
Clarksville, TN

E-Mail No. 7

Lisa Underwood's family should sue the U.S. Supreme Court for the death of Lisa and her son Jayden by Stephen Barbee. Why? It was the U.S. Supreme Court that in 1980 ordered all U.S. Public Schools to remove the 10 Commandments from view.
I wonder how Stephen Barbee would've turned out if he was taught from his first day at school that "Thou shall not murder." You wanted separation. You got it.
Joseph P. Briglia, Jr.
Toms River, NJ

E-Mail No. 8

What kind of human beings are these people? They just lost their grandson and they come to the TV dressed like that, in an uniform and talking with you as it was a normal day? I do not think they are human but animals. What attraction can have to come to the silly TV and almost forget that someone has just killed his grandson!
Don't you respect the grieving of the relatives?
Don't they want to be left alone with their suffering? Were they really in pain, or just excited to appear on TV?
Houston, TX

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