Monday, 8 February 2016

The Scambusters versus the world

Scott: 'Tony? It's Scott Chisholm calling from Talk Radio...'
Tony: Sighs
Scott: '.....again'.
Tony: 'Scott; I've got nothing more to say to you, mate'. Hangs up 
Scott: 'Tony. Tony. Tony!'
Producers in the operations room: 'Hooray!'

Talk Radio reunion, 5 Feb 2016.
Scott, Craig, Harry, Nat, Me, Foxy, Mike and Tom 

Just a normal, everyday call in 1999 on Scott's show on Talk Radio, which included the Scambusters hour. The reason for telling you this is that last week, those producers and that presenter had a wonderful reunion. 

The show was from 9am until midday every weekday; my involvement was on the consumer show, Scambusters. And the thing is: There's no note of the show online. There's no digital history of it. If we were on air today we'd have a social media presence, a website and maybe a Scam app. But there's no mention of what we did in 1999 if you do a search. So I'm writing this to redress the balance. 

It was a consumer show with attitude. We put nasty retailers on air and humiliated them live to the nation: Dodgy phone companies; cowboy builders; people offering non-existent contracts to aspiring models. Often their humiliation would be accompanied by Craig's Scamwall. These were a set of sound affects that would be played as the scamees tried to squirm their way out of their misdeeds. The ice in the glass, a line from the song 'I remember you' or the howling Scamdog, ready to be unleashed at Scott's command. 

Watchdog it wasn't. We did things our own way. For the modelling scam mentioned above, we asked the guy from reception, who had a heavy London accent and was in his 60s, to read out the leaflet: 'Hi. My name's Samantha. I'm an attractive, beautiful, 23-year-old model. And you can be too'. How could the scammers respond to that?

People who rang into the Scamphone would be put on air to state their case against the scam retailers. There were some amazing people, often at their wits' ends. And more often than not, we solved the problem for them. 
A handy explanation some of the team, drawn by a listener, 1999.
So we saved several people from being ripped off. It was so much fun and we were also providing a valuable public service. 

It was anarchic. At times, Scott would say, on air: 'This is a shambles'. But it was well-thought-out shambolic broadcasting. At the reunion, Scott told me that he still, to this day, has taxi drivers telling him how much they loved his show on Talk back in the day.   

At the reunion everyone turned up. It was special because everyone came to remember the sort of time you shouldn't really have if you're getting paid for it. But it was also great broadcasting. And what a team. What a reunion. 

The team
Presenter: Scott
Producers: Tom, Dick and Harry 
Studio production: Foxy
Scamwall: Craig
Trainee Scambuster (set for big things): Nat
Friend of the show: Motoring Mike Rutherford 
Other friends:Callers on the Scamphone, Ola & many others

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