By Kyle Austin
So Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch had a fast one pulled on him yesterday on the Fox Business “Happy Hour” show. Arrington notes on TechCrunch that he was scheduled to appear to discuss TechCrunch’s presidential endorsements of Barack Obama and John McCain.
Turns out they were really just interested in him trashing on Yahoo!. Arrington goes on to say “I was caught completely off guard” and “we never actually talked about,” what he thought he was there for in the first place. Even with being caught off guard Arrington makes some interesting points on the possibility of Yahoo! loosing the entire company to a merger or sale this year. Paul La Monica of CNNMoney.com shared similar thoughts with us just last week. Anyway, Michael apparently didn’t watch the show before going on it, because this sounds all too familiar.
Now first of all, you never really know what you’ll be talking about in these live business segments. You speak with the bookers of the show who have one idea and then the producers end up having a completely different idea when you show up for filming. But, Fox News and especially Fox Business (Even in its infancy) have become notorious in using this We’ll completely catch you off guard, cause that will make great TV approach. I mean, I understand that Fox Business has to try something to get their ratings out of the tank. The New York Times reported in January that less than 6,300 are watching the channel on any given weekday.
But, do they really think this sensationalistic approach will help them in the long run? I know for a fact that they are alienating their sources and potential guests with this tactic. One CEO that we work with recently took the time to tell us that he has absolutely no interest in going on Fox Business. Yes, the low ratings had a little to do with that, but we had little reason to convince him otherwise with the hatchet job reporting that they have been doing in their infancy.
A second client that we work is likely to follow the lead in being finished with Fox Business after the on-air talent went borderline “off the reservation” in a live interview. That incident led to their producers openly apologizing to us for their “talents'” behavior.
If they really want to save this thing, Rupert better swap out this on-air “talent” for some reporters from the Wall Street Journal and I don’t think he can wait for the exclusive deal the Wall Street Journal has with CNBC to expire in 2012 to make his move. Plus it won’t be hard to swap them out now that they are going to be roommates.
It doesn’t appear that just featuring journalists from Dow Jones’ publications as guests is going to help. In a third run-in we had with Fox Business, “Happy Hour” included David Weidner from Marketplace in a “debate” on on a client of ours and a current event. The only problem being that co-hosts Cody Willard and Rebecca Gomez were hollering so loud you couldn’t hear what Weidner had to say. Luckily they film this “business” show in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Bull & Bear bar, so he could quickly drown his headache in a martini.