Want a great job fingering scam artists and crooked pols? WBBM TV is looking for an investigative producer. It doesn’t sound like work for beginners, but if you figure out how to call and talk to somebody at the station you’ve already passed the first test.
Here’s how the job’s listed on the Web site of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. Your duties: “To research and produce investigative stories.” Your “core competencies”: “Results-Oriented, Strategic, Conceptual/Analytical, Team Player.” If you’re interested, the number at WBBM: 312-944-6000. Call it and a recorded message begins, “Thank you for calling the Berg Group.” The message ends, “Please note we are not associated with WBBM Channel 2 or WBBM Radio.”
WBBM used to have 312-944-6000, but according to president Norman Berg, a business broker, it’s belonged to the Berg Group since 2004. When he got it he was immediately inundated with calls for WBBM. He called CBS headquarters in New York and someone “very sympathetic” said there wasn’t anything he could do. Berg figured the nuisance had to run its course, but that once new phone directories were printed, speed dials reset, old habits broken, those calls would dry up. They didn’t. “I still get calls from CBS New York looking to call CBS Chicago.” Berg says. “Their own corporation can’t get the number right.” His company phone has caller ID, and if he doesn’t recognize the number he doesn’t answer it. He can tell if the call’s meant for WBBM, because the caller usually waits out the message, swears, and then hangs up.
The investigative producer job is also being advertised on WBBM’s own Web site. Amazingly, this in-house notice uses the same obsolete phone number. But it alertly advises, “No phone calls please.” That’s one way to deal with the problem.