Dear Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg: Please Discontinue Carmen’s Phone Jacks

by |
05/20/2010 12:22 PM |

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Now, nobody ruefully resigned to the gender politics of the hip-hop morning show is a bigger fan of Hot 97’s Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg Show than I am. But we need to talk about Carmen’s Phone Jacks.

Now, most mornings, round about 8:30, whiny-voiced middle-aged Mexican mama Carmen (I really don’t know who does the voice), will call up some local business with a complaint: the clown we hired for my son’s birthday was a perv and my cousins beat him to a bloody pulp; why won’t you help me unlock my husband’s iPhone so I can see if he’s cheating; you’re hiring physical therapists? Good, I’ll massage anything.

She cusses and accuses and, like any good improv comic, sticks to her premise when it’s questioned. When she’s hung up on, she calls back. On the second and third calls, the person on the other end, who’s just politely or stridently hung up, will answer the redial with her same professional greeting script, often sighing audibly when she hears the same voice as before on the other end.

I really can’t stomach it any more, all this fucking with secretaries to get a laugh.

Look: who answers the phone at an agency, or a store, or a clinic? Somebody who’s not getting paid very much to keep things organized, put out her boss’s fires, and be constantly answering the phone. (And, as anyone who answers phones for a living can tell you, people calling in for a legitimate purpose are infuriating enough.)

It’s top-down class warfare, and to the extent that listeners enjoy it, I find it distressing, giving that the average listener probably makes closer to what a secretary makes than what a prominent morning-show jock makes.

If Carmen is going to continue her phone jacks—which, despite my pull at Hot 97, I suspect she will—I wish she would at least ask to speak to the manager.

5 Comment

  • I think her phonejacks are scripted because some of the people’s voices she calls sounds very identical.

  • Really?? Lighten up. Most of those people answering those phone calls are as you said, at the bottom of the food chain. What you didn’t say is that their jobs are also usually pretty mundane. “Carmen’s” phone call is probably one of the more exciting things that happens in their day. And if nothing else it’s a story that they entertain their coworkers with over lunch… or their families when they return home. “You’ll never believe the call I got today…” As a person who did some customer service right out of college… I can attest to the fact that the crazy phone calls were there ones we loved most, even if they were sometimes infuriating. Because after that person hung up it was something to talk about, laugh about, bitch about, and most of all think about. People need stimulation. As simplistic as it may be, Carmen provides that.

  • Why can’t we lighten up? I am not saying that people should not lose their temper, but comedy is “Carmen’s” job as well… to me, phone taps (especially broadcasted) are a way of people looking at other people’s reactions and thinking, ‘what would I have said?’ And of course for the laughs of Carmen’s sassy comebacks!

  • I didn’t like Carmen at first, but now it’s part of waking up in the morning. Some of it is intelligent ridiculousness (if there is such a thing) It is today’s border line issues. I’m actually starting to like it and everybody is trying to simulate it on other stations. It is definitely cutting edge Hip Hop, breaking down borders. Keep in mind it is only entertainment. Yo hot 97 keep the good work up I LIKE IT.

  • Carmen Calls are FAKE.

    You cannot do phony phone calls in radio anymore. It has been YEARS since you REALLY could.

    Carmen is phony.

    Also, it has nothing to do with Hot 97.

    Carmen Calls are produced using voice actors and they are packaged and sold in syndication sort of like how TV sitcoms air in syndication on different channels.

    The same Carmen Calls call you hear at say 8:30am in New York will be the same one played in Milwaukee at 9:10am and Orlando at 10:05pm.

    Shame on Hot 97 for buying these crappy calls and not producing their own stuff.

    I dont blame a dumpwater small town radio station in the middle of nowhere for buying this stuff but in New York City during morning drive; you should not hear the same canned phony phone calls that a station in Butte, MT is playing on their Mix morning show.

    Look up Opie & Anthony Jocktober Carmen Calls and you will hear more and learn more.

    Trust me, you thought you were angry at the premise of Carmen Calls?

    You will be angrier at Hot 97 for insulting you and everyone else by paying for and airing this phony junk.