Publish and be damned?



I have a big problem and I don’t know what to do about it.

An interview went bad the other week, very bad. I’ve been interviewing some amazing people on my new online show, ‘London Calling’. It’s a show about Britain and is aimed at America.

Last month, I got the chance to talk to a UK based American who’s famous here but virtually unknown in the states. I thought he was someone who was pretty cool and a few Fridays ago, I went to the offices of a production company he works with and in the basement I recorded an hour long chat with him.

He was on great form and really sounded like he enjoyed our chat. When I listened back to the audio the following day, I realized that I had captured gold. It’s a great interview with a really interesting bloke.

Then on the Monday, my wife Julie, who’d booked the interview and made the arrangements, got a call from his agent. The agent said that this bloke’s “management” had some “concerns” about some of the content in our chat, they felt like they’d been misled and were “pulling” the interview.

First of all, they CAN’T do that. Legally, after an interview has been recorded the audio is the property of whoever recorded it. That means I can do whatever I like with it. I was most bothered about being accused of misleading them, so I checked what had been agreed and sent this email to the agent;

In setting up the interview Julie’s email to you made it clear that the interview would feature, “…an interview with a prominent guest, talking about their life-story and also exciting new books, tours & projects.” That’s exactly what the interview consists of. The day before the recording, in a reply to your email asking if we could send over any questions in advance, Julie’s email said, “I don’t have any specific questions for you. The show is about what’s happening in the UK and is for an American audience, so (name of guest) will offer a unique perspective. But generally it will be a look back at his life & career, what he is doing now and what new projects he might want to promote. A really relaxed chat.” To which you replied, “Great, thank you!”. Once again, this is exactly what the interview was.”

I also sent an mp3 version of the interview to the agent because it proves that I did exactly what I said I’d do, when I said I’d do it, the way I said I’d do it. I also pointed out that I never agreed to the guest’s management having to give permission to broadcast because I don’t work that way. I told the agent that the interview would go to air as planned. However, I did say that I didn’t want to put anything out that could cause this guest any problems and said that if there was something specific in the audio that was a problem, if they let me know exactly what it is and what time it appeared, I’d have a look at it. They came back to me a week later and told me the interview was not to be broadcast.

So what exactly has gone on here? I don’t believe that it’s his “management” that has a problem. They decided to “pull” the interview before they’d heard it. No one else was in the room with us during the recording, so it’s got to be the artist himself that isn’t happy but as I said, he seemed perfectly fine before, during and just after our chat. He never flinched when answering any of my questions and actually seemed to enjoy it. If there is a problem, why won’t they tell me what it is so I can fix it?

So what do I do now? Do I air it anyway? That will surely upset him and his “management” and could hurt my reputation. It could cause problems when I want to book future guests. Of course, I could just roll over and do what his agent is telling me to do but that doesn’t feel right. Giving them the final say on whether it goes to air or not was never the deal.

I don’t want to be bullied into not running it, so part of me wants to run the whole thing unedited but to be honest, the way I’ve been treated, I don’t think I want to run the interview and give him publicity in America, especially as he’s pretty much unknown there.

What do you think I should do? Tweet me and don’t forget to link to this blog, @GrahamMack

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