Lets take some calls, on the air. Hello? Hello? Okay, next caller?
February 17, 2006 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Almost invariably, on talk radio programs, when we go to the phones, the first caller isn't there. How come?

I think the problem must be technical, I find it hard to believe folks who go to the trouble to dial in first just give up, losing patience. But maybe it's just a matter of confirmation bias, as detailed by teece recently.
posted by Rash to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
I listen to plenty of talk radio and your premise is false. However, the answer is that yes, most dropped calls are due to people hanging up after long waits.
posted by cribcage at 11:45 AM on February 17, 2006

Response by poster: Perhaps it's just a feature of the talk radio I listen to, which would be limited to public radio.
posted by Rash at 2:05 PM on February 17, 2006

Most often, when you call a show and are put on hold, you can hear the entire show while you are muted and waiting. Then the host "turns" to you and un-mutes your line so you can talk.

For someone doing this for the first time, it's a little weird, because you're listening to the show, being temporarily ignored, waiting for your moment, and there's a lot of waiting and a lot of distractions (the show is still running along without you). Suddenly, you're on. Go! Talk now!

I imagine a lot of people either freeze up or worse -- they've been waiting and put the phone down at the exact wrong time. The second caller gets to hear all of this and doesn't make the same mistake.

Anyway, that's just my opinion.
posted by frogan at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2006

This reminds me of this story, which was being discussed on my local morning talk show in Australia.

Ontopic: I used to listen to a LOT of radio, mainly in the evening and afternoon, in the form of top 40 programs. It definitely didn't happen much there, but maybe that's because callers were generally calling for prizes? I'm not sure what counts as 'talk radio'.
posted by jacalata at 8:26 PM on February 17, 2006

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