James Cridland

Faking it - competition winners caught out

An important correction

Above: an important correction from a radio review in Choice, the Australian version of Which?. Mind, probably a good job that the Sangean DPR-45 doesn’t have an AM transmitter in it: it would make it awfully bulky. Thank you to Mister Brisbane for passing it on.


In Australia, the Capital Radio Network has been found-out by the ABC’s MediaWatch, which said that it faked competition-winning calls with its on-air hosts.

Someone called the winner, recorded their answers, made it into a script, and then each local breakfast crew faked-up the call to pretend that the competition winner was on their station. The clip is worth a play.

The statement from the Capital Radio Network in Australia said it “has not deceived its listeners”, which is evidently nonsense: splicing in the local breakfast presenters is clearly trying to suggest that the winner was local.

As with much in radio, it’s nothing new. Back in the early 2000s, GWR Group’s “cashman” promotion was network-wide, with the winners called by “the cashman”, Paris Troy.

I was running a radio discussion forum at the time, called Media UK. The “cashman” was the subject of some debate - because while the cashman’s calls were aired network-wide, the radio group did not, at the time, make it clear that the competition was a network-wide one.

GWR Group’s lawyers contacted me requiring that the allegation was removed. It was the first time I’d heard from lawyers while operating the website (surprisingly, given how long it had been going and frankly what was on it), and it was quite scary to hear from them. But, the story was the truth: so, while I moderated some of the language, I didn’t remove the allegation itself. Shortly afterwards, probably by coincidence, the stations began carrying the disclaimer that the competition was “across the Mix network”.

  • The next version of iOS will record calls, and transcribe and summarise them, much to the excitement of journalists everywhere.

  • Congratulations to broadcasters in the King’s Birthday Honours; including Dame Jenny Abramsky (former BBC Radio boss, in the UK), Ian Grace OAM (Virgin Radio, in Australia) and Hamish Blake OAM (off of Hamish & Andy, in Australia). Most unusual to see Hamish be honoured but Andy Lee to not get anything. Imagine if only Eric Morecambe from Morecambe and Wise got the OBE. Or, John, Paul and George from The Beatles, but not Ringo!

  • Interesting data about ad-skipping, and ad tolerance, from Tom Webster. Written about podcasting, but relevant to radio as well.

  • In late August, it’s the 25th Swiss Radio Day; the tenth (and final) with Jürg Bachmann on the board, and the tenth event organised by Darryl von Däniken. As a previous speaker, congratulations to them.

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