The following are the comments of Charlie Middleton, Station Manager of a small Midwestern NBC affiliate. Take it away, Mr. Middleton.
My head hurts. I've been taking every kind of headache pill known to man since last Friday when I spent the afternoon explaining to a local store owner why the NFL wouldn't let me run a crawl for his store several times over the Superbowl. And that was after a morning shot to hell convincing another client of the legal problems of using the old Mel and Tim song "Backfield in Motion" in his commercial. We missed a news conference where the mayor announced that due to budget cuts, the city will have to shut off street lights after midnight, because our only working camera was out shooting high school cheerleaders for a car dealer's Superbowl spot. My stomach hurts. I can't eat. I think my wife just ran off with the Culligan Man... at least that's what her last text message said.
And all because nobody can behave themselves during the Superbowl.
I had no idea we aired a political ad for Obama during halftime. At least that's what the dittoheads at the club tell me. I only saw Clint Eastwood selling cars... at least that's what I thought he was trying to do. I can't remember seeing any actual cars in the commercial, but I'm pretty sure it was a car commercial. It was Eastwood in Detroit, right? No? He was actually in New Orleans? Detroit, New Orleans... hey, pal, you wanna do a commercial in a depressed area? How about my sales office? You just blew six million to not show us your cars. For a fraction of that, I can cut you a spot that might actually move some metal, which is all the dealers want from you in the first place. A little help here, guys.
Meanwhile, I got every Republican in the county including the dog warden up my ass wanting equal time. I haven't got any equal time. It was on the network... during the f___ Superbowl!
Oh, sorry. Did I offend you with my frank language? Well, you'll have to excuse me. Since NBC sends my heart into palpitations every time a character on "Law & Order" drops a word the nuns used to slap my wrists for, I can't decide if there really is such a thing as "obscene language" anymore. Apparently, some rapper gave my audience - number one in nursing homes and hospital waiting rooms in the 3-county area - the finger. And she - I guess it's a woman, hell, I don't know - pretty much nearly said the s-word. Now I got a voice mail system overloaded with complaints and I can't show my face at Applebee's until this thing blows over. I gotta go to mass next Sunday and face these people. Thanks a lot NBC.
When I went into radio sales back in '78, you still got in trouble for "hell" or "damn." We didn't have to worry about Shaun Cassidy throwing the bird, or The Fonz yelling the s-word, or Karen Carpenter showing us her boobs. Why can't it be like that now?
Look, NBC, NFL... I don't care who's responsible for the halftime show, just remember this: I'm trying to run a business. You're killing me, here. I know you guys have degrees in marketing and you live on the coast where you think of the affiliates as hillbillies and Bible Belt puritans, but we're a part of America too. And if it weren't for small markets like us, Jay Leno would be working in Branson. So, let's try to figure this out together. How about this: you may not want kids watching the halftime show... but the parents do. And the parents are my client's customers. Got that? So, next year, all I want to f___ see on that f____ stage during halftime is f____ Spongebob Squarepants, or f____ Elmo, or Popeye or something wholesome like that. And maybe Dora the Explorer; my granddaughter really likes her.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to shotgun a glass of Alka Seltzer and listen to some Kenny G until the next crisis hits... probably some politician or pro-life group putting a picture of an aborted fetus on the air. And then maybe I'll run off and join a hippie commune or something.