Complain About a Radio or Television Broadcast • Example Letters, Plus Guides and Samples
Send this letter with as many signatures as possible. It is important to communicate the magnitude of your disappointment without insulting the reader.
How to write this complaint letter:
- State your grievance, giving all relevant facts concerning the case in question, including how the incident or policy affects you.
- Suggest what could be done to solve the problem, as you see it. If you plan to take action, let the reader know.
- Close with a positive expression.
Example Letter #1
We are writing to express our displeasure with your report on our Youth Bible Conference. First of all, it was not limited to a "fringe group" of one particular religion, but had the support and participation of all Protestant groups in the State. Nothing was said about the study sessions, talks, and publications that came out of the meetings. In fact, your broadcast seemed to focus on one unfortunate incident in which a homeless man had an altercation with a security guard. This was hardly what the conference was about. In all, your coverage was so inaccurate that it could lead one to believe that your station has significant prejudice against religious groups, regardless of their activities.
An apology is in order. You should consider the ramifications of such irresponsible reporting, which will surely not go unnoticed by the public. As for the undersigned and the hundreds who were in attendance, we have lost confidence in the credibility of your news reports. We hope you are interested in regaining this confidence and look forward to your correcting the problem.
Example Letter #2
I have always allowed my children to watch your station uncensored because of its family-centered programming, but yesterday afternoon I saw your new pilot program "Two." The language and the material were shocking, and I was saddened that the one station I had trusted had stooped so low.
Please discontinue that program after its initial contract ends, so we can once again enjoy watching Springfield's local station.
Example Letter #3
When I sit down to watch a sitcom with my children between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., I expect family entertainment. Imagine my surprise as we watched "Captain Creep" last night when not one, but two nearly naked actresses danced across our screen into the bed of one eager actor. Money is the only excuse for broadcasting such garbage. I am writing the show's sponsors to tell them that my money is going elsewhere until this show is moved to a different time slot or removed altogether. I hope you see the wisdom of cleaning up prime time programming.
Example Letter #4
We were very distressed by your one-sided coverage of the Springfield City Planning Commission meeting last Tuesday. You made it sound as if almost everyone present was in favor of the proposed rezoning, when in fact the meeting was evenly split. Implying that those opposed to the rezoning were a small minority, and referring to us as a "lunatic fringe" in your broadcast was misleading and insulting.
Kindly retract your statements and apologize on the air. We understand that it may be difficult for a local station to be impartial in reporting such matters, but impartiality is important if you wish to have any credibility at all.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 State your grievance, giving all relevant facts concerning the case in question, including how the incident or policy affects you.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- Because I enjoyed your series on 20th century American artists, and because I enjoy writing, I looked forward to your show on Jane Doe that was aired June 22. I was extremely disappointed when you spent practically the whole show discussing her relationships with men. I admire Doe's poetry, and I was upset that you chose to spend only about five minutes discussing her significant contribution to the humanities.
- The way your evening news reporter, John Doe, portrayed the Reverend Eric Johnson offended us. We have known Reverend Johnson since before he entered the seminary, and we know that he is not the sinister money-grabbing type that John Doe made him out to be. Had Mr. Doe taken the time to visit the Reverend at home, or spend a day with him, we are sure he would have covered the story in a very different way.
- I have long admired your series Doe and Doe. I am a lawyer myself, and I have enjoyed this show very much because I felt it portrayed accurately what defense lawyers go through day after day. The last three episodes, however, have caused me to rethink my opinion of the show. It appears that your writers are determined to portray lawyers as dishonest opportunists. Every profession has its share of dishonest people, but this show is highlighting the exception rather than the rule. It does a disservice to ethical members of our profession.
- We were very distressed to see that your company has decided to sponsor a Bikini Contest to be aired next weekend. We have always been impressed with your company's intelligent advertising and are disappointed that you would sponsor an event dedicated to the exploitation of women.
- While driving to work, I have enjoyed listening to your radio station. I have been pleased that you have "taken the higher ground," avoiding tasteless jokes and inane conversation. I was disappointed the last couple of mornings to find that new DJs had lowered the caliber of your programming.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- a gross distortion of the facts
- an insult to the intelligence of
- an inaccurate and unfair portrayal of
- appeal only to the prurient interests of
- appears that your writers are determined to
- because I enjoyed your
- caused me to revise my opinion of
- chose to spend only seconds dealing with
- do not enjoy listening to
- don't you realize the devastating effects such programs can
- find some new material
- had looked forward to this particular
- have never before seen such
- have no respect for
- have stooped to new lows
- have long been a fan of
- have sacrificed values for profit
- highlighting the exception rather than the rule
- if your program is any reflection of
- is a disservice to all those who
- it's no wonder that the public distrusts the
- losing confidence in your judgment
- lowers the caliber of your programming
- mislead your audience
- not the quality we expect in our
- one-sided and unfair reporting
- seem to be selling out to
- sensational report was inappropriate
- showed extremely poor judgment in
- tired of mindless violence
- was a false portrayal of
- was most disappointed in
- was also in attendance at
- was upset when I saw
- was extremely disappointed
- was offended by the
- why not emphasize the positive aspects in life
2 Suggest what could be done to solve the problem, as you see it. If you plan to take action, let the reader know.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- The undersigned members of Pastor Smith's congregation request that Mr. Doe publicly apologize for his rude and inaccurate statements on the air. We represent but a fraction of those who he offended.
- I hope your station will return to its usual intelligent and tasteful programming. I deal with many people who move into this area, and will be reluctant to recommend your station to new advertisers until it more accurately reflects the tastes of the majority in this community.
- Please take the politically motivated "Doe the Purple Dragon" off the air. Until you do, we have no plans to tune in to your network. In fact, we are discussing this issue at the next combined PTA meeting in Springfield. You are welcome to send a representative.
- Accompanying this letter is the table that you claimed to be reading from in your recent program on Doe Associates' financial matters. It proves that the information you broadcasted last week was incorrect. If you do not retract and correct your statements, I will take legal action.
- Please take John Doe off the air! We are offended at his openly anti-Semitic comments and jokes. In this day and age, bigotry is unacceptable, and ethnic jokes are not considered funny by those with intelligence and sensitivity.
- We urge you to stop supporting such programs. If you do not, we will definitely stop using your products and will encourage others to do the same.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- a higher caliber of programming
- apologize for the inaccuracy of
- are welcome to send a representative to our
- back to something we can be proud of
- become more aware of your audience
- change the time-slot of the
- have no plans to tune in to your
- hope your station will return to
- if you do not retract and correct your
- is very damaging to
- kindly air a correction
- leave yourself open to charges of
- make some serious decisions regarding
- more accurately reflect the tastes of the community
- move toward more intelligent programming
- not during prime time
- offer time for rebuttal
- recommend that you
- reconsider your editorial commitments
- reflect the values of the community
- represent only a fraction of those who
- request a public apology for the
- review your editorial stance
- should cancel the program
- show some loyalty to your
- some may consider this funny
- undersigned members of
- urge you to withdraw these
- will no longer be watching
- will definitely stop using your products
- will be reluctant to recommend your
- will sue your station for slander
- would very much appreciate your
3 Close with a positive expression.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- Thank you for your attention to this matter.
- We will appreciate your addressing our concerns.
- Please take our concerns seriously. We have enjoyed your programming in the past, and we hope we can enjoy it again in the future.
- We hope you will return to more tasteful advertising.
- I have enjoyed viewing programs on your channel. When you remove the objectionable material in your programming, I will continue to do so.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- are confident that
- are sure that
- clear up this situation
- for your cooperation
- for addressing my concerns
- for giving this your personal attention
- have always been impressed by
- have confidence in your
- look forward to
- make every effort to
- thank you for
- to hearing from you
- to your returning to
- to seeing an improvement in
- trust that you will
- will be receptive to these suggestions
- will greatly appreciate
- will appreciate your
- will be glad to
- your prompt attention to