29 Jan, 2009
Here at Cotolo Chronicles, we get many letters, emails, packages
and personally delivered messages that contain any number of attitudes,
opinions, accolades and drawings of stick-figure men. We do not ignore
any of them. Even the letters that are sticky, with chocolate stains and
the emails that have multi attachments are perused and answered.
Over the years we have established that our audience is moved and riled
by the program. We embrace those reactions for rarely is one program able
to move and rile its audience. Dr. Phil's show, for instance, has been
known to move its audience but riling them has been a goal since the
program debuted. Of course back then the show did not have seats for its
audience because the doctor insisted the studio have lawn chairs instead
of theater seats.
So not even Dr. Phil paid as much attention to audience opinion as we do.
As for his mentor, Oprah Winfrey, we hear she chops up her analog mail
and sprinkles it in her lunch salads.
But those shows, unlike our program, are for a mass audience. Our show is
for a special audience, a group of unique people who love to put nothing
where there was once something. And we pay attention to all of them,
respond to all of them and often use their names when waiting for a
table at a restaurant.
Take, for instance, a letter that came to us through the mail from Eunice
Pretorious of Utah. She wrote: "Why can't I hear your show in my state?"
It didn't take us two minutes to find a piece of paper and a pen and
write back to Eunice with this comment: "Beats us."
There is no template for the listener of our program. Some are black,
some are white, some are tall, others short; some pass breakfast for an
early lunch; some pass kidney stones; others are Christians, a few are
Jewish; a sprinkling of them are dog-lovers and tree-huggers; two of
them are former members of the singing group, The Lettermen. But all of
them are unique: even the twins from Manitoba, who are joined at the
toes and travel the country as an act called "The Human Wheel."
Oprah chops up her analogue mail and sprinkles it on her salads for
Mr. Cotolo supervises the staff sessions involving audience mail. Usually
he makes the staff pile all of the mail on the ends of a long conference
table and has each staff member take one pile and see if he or she can
balance the stack on their heads. Then, when that fails, each envelope is
opened and the contents are carefully scoped by a machine that authenticates
the letter as just a letter and not a carefully designed code that only a
secret organization could interpret.