How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 133.

23Nov14

In April 2001 I accidentally learned how to get worldwide publicity.

It’s simple, you just give the press a new angle on something they’re already writing about. It doesn’t matter if what you do isn’t even real. They’ll be so desperate to write something on the subject, they won’t bother to check if the story is fake or not.

It was April 2001, I was presenting the 9am till noon show on BRMB in Birmingham. Friday April 13th was Good Friday, I had tickets to Liverpool v Leeds at Anfield that afternoon. To be still on the air at noon in Birmingham and get to Anfield for the three o’clock kick-off shouldn’t have been a problem but because it was a televised game, it got moved (Skyjacked) and was now going to kick-off at 1:30pm. That was going to be tight so I asked the Program Director, Adam Bridge, if I could leave early, ending my show at 11 instead of 12.

He came back to me with an interesting idea, “Why don’t we have an argument on the air and you storm out?” he said. I asked him what we should have a row about and he said, “Eminem is getting a lot press right now because of what he’s supposed to have said about gays and women. How about, you refuse to play his current song ‘Stan’? I’ll call you live on the air and you can storm out. I’ll get Elliot Webb to come in early and he can do the extra hour.”

So at about ten to eleven, I explained on the air that I was due to play the song and I was refusing to because Eminem was homophobic and a misogynist. Adam called up and we had a pretend row on the air which finished with him saying, “Just play the bloody song!” and me saying something like, “You come down here and play it!” That was followed by a pause and the phoneyiest door slamming sound effect you’ve ever heard. After about five seconds of dead air (which felt like forever) Elliot came on, appologised and played the ads into the 11am news.

I got in the car, drove home, picked up Julie and headed to Liverpool on the M6. My phone ran out of charge during the match so on the way back while Julie was driving I plugged it into the car charger and turned it on. My phone beeped more than thirty times, one for each call and message I’d missed. I called the first few back and discovered from a lot of my mates that I was now world famous. In the space of about five hours, the story had gone global.

The next morning most of the tabloids ran the story complete with a bad picture of me and Eminem. It wasn’t just the Mirror, Star, Daily Mail etc that ran it, I also made the Guardian and the Telegraph. None of them checked to see if it was a hoax, not even the BBC who ran it online.

It was the beginning of Easter, a slow News day and I gave them something new to write about Eminem, who was flavour of the month.

It’s still online to this day. If you Google my name and Eminem you can read all about it. I still get calls from researchers on behalf of filmmakers who are doing documentaries about music, the noughties or youth culture, asking if I’ll take part in their project. There’s a website dedicated to spectacular ways people have quit their jobs and I’m on there even though I didn’t quit and the whole thing was a cheap hoax.

Here’s a few links to stuff that’s still online today;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1276927.stm

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/apr/14/kirstyscott

http://www.radio-now.co.uk/news007.htm

Listen to the latest Mack Nuggets at 

http://www.mackmedia.co.uk/8th-mack-nuggets-audio-video

If you enjoyed this Craic, please click “like” and tweet a link. If you’d like to talk to me about it, call me on +44 1438 422106 between 6 and 9 weekday mornings (UK time) on BOB fm.

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