Morons In
The Control Room

One has to give MTV their propers for one thing: Yes, they are airing "Daria." They might be treating the show with not-so-benign neglect, but yeah, they haven't pulled the plug on it -- yet.

However, one person or one group of people have become the bane of my existence: Whoever is in the control room at 3pm Pacific Time weekdays running the daily "Daria" episodes.

I am sure that MTV doesn't have to make do with crummy equipment. I am sure that MTV can afford to hire competent engineers. But somehow or another I think that they have dropped the ball on the latter.

I am a web designer who works out of my home office. One of the few pleasures of my day is to take my afternoon break and watch "Daria" for a half-hour. Yeah, I've seen all of the episodes before. But it's a break in the routine, and I'm grateful for it.

Lately, though, there have been interruptions in audio and once even video because of the carelessness of the guys in the control room. Since I don't have the super-kewl and groovy video equipment my buddy Paperpusher has, I have not noticed half of the audio faux-pas that he has. But I've heard enough to get mad. The high pitched whine that goes with color bars leaking into the audio. Microphone checks for "Total Request Videos" that are audible on top of the "Daria" audio. Audio that shifts from too little gain to too much gain. And once, even a disruption of the video portion of the presentation: 3 solid minutes of the "slate" frame for Total Request Videos instead of "The Daria Hunter." Seriously.

I swear, we did a better job at West LA College's Communications Department and our simulated TV broadcasts in TV Production 101! There were screwups there, but everyone expected screwups because after all, it was TV Production 101. As far as I know, MTV is The Big Leagues. When you can't hack it in The Big Leagues you get sent down to The Minors. As in, you get canned.

I know I'm not the only one noticing this -- has been full of these "bug reports" and the topic has come up in chats. So what do we, the "Daria" fans do? We take our grievances to MTV. We don't do it with phone calls. We don't do it with email. Neither are taken very seriously by the media anymore. What is still taken seriously? SNAILMAIL.

If you are as fed up as I am about this, here's what you do. Go into your favorite word processor. It could be MS Word, it could be ClarisWorks, it could be WordPerfect, it could be StarOffice for Linux, it could be Applixware For Linux, it could be Notepad or SimpleText for all I care. But go in. Write a letter, as if you were writing an email or posting to a newsgroup or a message board. Don't use insulting or profane language. Say your peace. Then print it out, sign it, shove it into an envelope, seal the envelope, stick a stamp on it and give it this address:

MTV Networks, Inc.
1515 Broadway
NYC, NY 10036

According to the receptionist I spoke to today at MTV, "Attention: Network Operations" will suffice to route the letter to the correct hands. Use "Ladies and Gentlemen" as the salutation rather than "To Whom This May Concern" because the former is a weensy bit more polite.

We gotta stick up for Our Heroine. Because judging from MTV Network Operations' track record, they aren't.

Updated October 5th, 1998