Diminishing Viewership, Diminishing Popularity? -Once Magnifying Spoon TV Faces GOL Officials’ Boycott
Those who closely monitored the rise of the USA-based, Facebook-powered Spoon TV say it appeared few years back on the Liberian media landscape with colors of nonpartisanship and ethical standards which initially wooed diverse groups of guests and viewers from across the social and political spectrum. Like any newly emerging media organ, it particularly needed the appearances of popular and responsible citizens, mainly of the ruling class, to lend its broadcasts an aura of credibility and admiration. And the then fledging online TV entity got the approbation largely due to the fact that top-notched policymakers availed themselves for interviews; and ultimately, the viewership and popularity of its shows, mainly the nighttime show, blossomed almost instantly. Unfortunately, the news organ’s close followers intimate that, over time, and surprisingly the station reportedly changed its approach which made many responsible regular guests, mainly officials of Government to complain that the Spoon TV was turned into a Golgotha where they were taken to be crucified with “insults and disrespect” from partisan panelists. As The Analyst reports, the new situation has triggered a boycott from several VIPs, and it is causing loss to popularity and viewership in recent days.
The last few weeks has seen substantial drop in viewership of the once widely watched Spoon TV nocturnal show, according to pundits who have followed the show.
The Spoon TV night show a sensation for Liberians at home and abroad, replete with diverse panelists and very important guests who discuss a range of nation issues. The show was beating many other social media TV shows in the country and about the country until officials of the current political administration began to complain of disrespect coming from panelists who have taken off their neutrality and professional lenses for partisan pestering of guests.
As the complaints went unheeded, sources opined that the government officials who were regular quests and whose appearances attracted thousands of viewers to the show decided to boycott the show in protest.
The boycott appears to reduce the taste of most Liberians who were watching the Spoon TV show, and the numbers have significantly dropped consequently.
The most recent boycott was staged by the Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change CDC), Mulbah Morlu who was billed to appear and discuss some pertinent national issues.
According to sources close to the Spoon TV, usually whenever officials of government or top officials of the ruling party honored the invitation from the station, viewership averaged around 2,000 or above but currently the number of people who watch the live shows has significantly reduced far below what it used to be.
Before the latest decision to boycott, the Spoon TV was viewers’ delight because it served as a conduit to disseminate major updates on germane issues of national concerns and ongoing development projects in the country whenever it plays host to government officials and top chieftains of CDC which may not be known through other sources to the public.
Some pundits say the management of the news outlet has compromised the intent of the show in the last few months, resulting into disinterest amongst Liberians who were viewing it.
“The rare opportunity puts the Spoon at the top of other electronic outfits in terms of viewership and patronage as an alternative and viable source to get authentic and breaking stories from what is happening from the top echelon of public service in the country,” a source who has followed the outlet told The Analyst.
“The drop in the number of people following the station because of the boycott is raising serious concerns in the public as the nation approaches the decisive 2023 general elections where the need to have robust discussion on national issues through the media space cannot be overemphasized,” he said further, asking not to be named because of his proximity to the TV management.
Henry Smith, who also said he was an ardent follower of the station, asserted that he had once raised the issue of the wide disrespect shown to government officials and top partisans of CDC whenever they appear on the talk show.
“I did call on one of the shows when Representative Acarous Gray was hosted and one of the panelists out of disrespect made unprintable statements against him and the moderators did nothing to accord the Honorable man the respect he deserved”, Smith said.
A lady who did not want her identity to be made public said the management of Spoon TV, as a matter of urgency, should take action to correct what is going on with its panelists that is making the public lose interest in watching the shows.
“We can’t have this kind of scenario where the media will be one sided against the government and the ruling party. We need a balanced perspective of issues especially at the time when the nation is moving towards the 2023 elections,” she said.
Majority spoken to are of the view that if the management of Spoon TV does not take the necessary measures to correct what is going on, it stands the chance of losing its credibility and viewers permanently because there could be a possibility of an emergence of another institution that will be accepted by the people.
Meanwhile all efforts by this paper to reach the management of Spoon TV proved futile up to press time.