Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Do Sloanie and Tracy on WLW Use Fake Callers?
I first began wondering when Tracy had a "Dr. William Bradford", supposedly from San Francisco, call in to his show several times a talk about parent/child relationships. Holding a B.A. in psychology, having worked in mental health and social services for 10 years, plus my father having been a clinical psychologist, I recognized that much of what "Dr. Bradford" said was bizarre and ridiculous. Although, almost anyone could recognize that.
I searched the web for a Dr. William Bradford in California, including the state licensing boards. I found some William Bradfords, but none in the area of psychology, child/parent relationships or a doctor of any sort.
There has also been a recurring caller named "Richard" purportedly from Indian Hills, an ultra rich bedroom community outside of Cincinnati. Richard played the rich, conceited, arrogant rich guy.
Today Sloan and Jones were talking about the theft of $600 worth of Girl Scout cookies from 9 year old twin girls. A "girl" claiming to be a friend of the twins called in and Jones went into a rant about irresponsibility and made the "girl" "cry".
Callers went wild calling Jones a jerk, which he is but that's another story. Jones acted like he didn't realize he had been a jerk. But, the whole thing seemed obviously staged.
Doing a little more searching on the web today what did I find? An article at Radio Daze claiming that Premiere on Call, a subsidiary Clear Channel, WLW's parent company, provides fake callers for radio shows.
But what exactly was the work? The question popped up during the audition and was explained, the actor said, clearly and simply: If he passed the audition, he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio. He would never be identified as an actor, and his scenarios would never be identified as fabricated—which they always were.I don't know if Sloan and Jones use Premiere on Call or other fake callers. But, I'd be surprised if they don't use some sort of fake caller scheme given the content and nature of some of their calls.
“I was surprised that it seemed so open,” the actor told me in an interview. “There was really no pretense of covering it up.”
Curious, the actor did some snooping and learned that Premiere On Call was a service offered by Premiere Radio Networks, the largest syndication company in the United States and a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, the entertainment and advertising giant.
The actors hired by Premiere to provide the aforementioned voice talents sign confidentiality agreements and so would not go on the record. But their accounts leave little room for doubt. All of the actors I questioned reported receiving scripts, calling in to real shows, pretending to be real people. Frequently, one actor said, the calls were live, sometimes recorded in advance, but never presented on-air as anything but real.
Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, the talk-radio world’s leading trade publication, said he knew nothing of this particular service but was not altogether surprised to hear that it was in place. There was, he said, a tradition of “creating fake phone calls for the sake of entertainment on some of the funny shows, shock jocks shows, the kind of shows you hear on FM music stations in the morning, they would regularly have scenarios, crazy scenarios of people calling up and doing pranks.”
Rachel Nelson, a Premiere Radio Networks spokesperson, defended the Premiere on Call service and said that responsibility for how it is employed falls ultimately to those who use it.
As for me, I'll listen to old time rock and roll rather than fake radio.
How does everyone know (or stongly suspect) the callers are for-real? PAAAWWWLLLL talks about SEC football, in the state of Alabama.
Do, believe they use fake callers? Just talk to a receptionist at the station.
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