In early April 2002, the New York Surveillance Camera Players decided that the group would no longer do interviews with mainstream and/or commercial radio stations, having found them not worth the bother.
What follows is a chronologically ordered list of all requests for interviews that the SCP-New York has refused.
1. On 5 September 2001, Bill Brown of the NY SCP was contacted by Andy Meisler, who described himself as "a segment producer for 'The Conspiracy Zone," an upcoming talk/comedy show on The National Network (formerly The Nashville Network) hosted by Kevin Nealon, late of 'Saturday Night Live,' and produced by Scott Carter, co-creator of 'Politically Incorrect.'" Meisler explained, "We are planning an episode on 'Big Brother' and would very much like to talk to you about it." Bill's response was very brief and got right to the heart of the matter: "How do you envision the SCP fitting into your format? Interview, pre-taped [footage], what?" Meisler said he wanted a copy of "any pre-existing tape of you or a member of your group explaining your objections to Big Brotherism--something that could jump start a panel discussion or get it moving in an interesting direction." Once again, Bill's response was brief and got right to the heart of the matter: "What are we offering as a licensing fee for such footage?" Meisler's response -- which you could see coming a mile away, indeed, right from the start -- was "Alas, only our effusive thanks and nationwide exposure for your group."
Dear reader, it was great to be able to say to this guy:
give away my life's work so that a bunch of Hollywood jokers can make fun of it *and* laugh all the way to the bank?! ha ha ha, very funny! not a chance!
Though he may work for exploitative corporate pigs, Meisler had to decency to respond and in a way that showed that he is a human being: "Message received!"
2. On 7 December 2001 -- in the middle of a live interview via telephone with an AM radio station in San Diego -- Bill decided to hang up rather than talk to or even argue with someone (a guy named Rick Roberts, imagine Rush Limbaugh) who constantly interrupted him, refused to listen when he (Bill) was allowed to get a word in edge-wise, and had judgments, not opinions, on the subject at hand.
Though this unfortunate episode is in fact the first time Bill has hung up on an interviewer, it isn't the first time that he's contemplated refusing to speak to any and all American radio interviewers/reporters in the future. Except for its independent broadcasters, America's radio interviewers/reporters are an aggressive, poorly informed and self-satisfied bunch of hacks, especially when compared with their Asian and European counterparts. Talking to -- trying to talk to -- people like Rick Roberts just isn't worth the time and effort.
3. On 11 April 2002, Ali Benton, producer of a radio show on SBS radio in Sydney, Australia, e-mailed the SCP-New York because she was producing a feature on "the history of pranks" and wanted to see if the group would be interested in being interviewed. Speaking on behalf of the SCP-New York, Bill Brown said that it wasn't.
4. On 20 August 2002, Stephanie Tyler, the Executive Director of "The Morning Show" on WKRC Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio, e-mailed the SCP-New York because an article on the group appeared in The Associated Press. Incredibly, the e-mail was addressed to Mr. Bennett, not Mr. (Bill) Brown. Bill's response was as follows:
Mr. Bennett?! Mr. Bill Bennett?! the Reagan Cabinet member and right-wing crusader?!
is *that* who you think you are writing to?
Obviously, it's a mistake, but it's precisely because of careless mistakes, lack of attention and sloppiness such as this -- getting the very simple name "Bill Brown" wrong, good god! -- that Bill Brown has stopped doing interviews with radio people.
You'd know that if you briefly pursued the website of the Surveillance Camera Players http://www.notbored.org/the-scp.html which -- in case you don't know -- is the group Bill Brown is a member of.
The next day, Stephanie Tyler wrote back to say:
I don't know how to apologize for my grievous error. My mental lapse must have been caused by the invasion of my brainwaves by Mr. Bill Bennett and the interview he had with my morning show hosts yesterday. He must have invaded my mind...(getting up at 3:30a in the morning every day probably doesn't help my mental functioning much either.)
I am sincerely embarrassed by my mistake.ÊI did go to your website and did much research on Mr. Brown. Which makes my error all the more embarrassing.
Please accept my humble apology.
Quite obviously, such a response only confirmed the appropriateness of the decision to refuse to work with radio people. They are incompetent.
5. On 29 August 2002, Martha Farnam e-mailed the SCP to say:
I am e-mailing you on behalf of Pastor Rick Strawcutter who has an international radio show called God and Country Club Dot Com. We are interested in having you on the show as a guest to talk about your surveillance camera tours. The show is on twice 8PM and 10PM EST Monday through Friday.ÊOur philosophy is free speech with no sacred cows.ÊI also may have a referral for an attorney for you.ÊIf you can be on with us on the show, let me know.Ê I can be reached at [...] Godandcountryclub.com.
After ascertaining that this was all for real, and wasn't a prank, Bill Brown of the SCP wrote back to politely decline. Since then, Pastor Strawcutter himself has called the SCP voice-line twice to reassure the group that he is not "the enemy."
6. On 9 April 2003, in response to an article in Reuters, Richard Sacco, the producer at the "Michael Smerconish Show" at WPAT-AM in Philadelphia, both called and e-mailed to invite someone from the SCP to come on the air. Bill Brown hesitated, took a little time to explore Smerconish's website, saw the pro-FOP/anti-Mumia stuff, and quickly made up his mind (again): no more radio (right-wing meat-grinders looking for fresh kill).
Contact the NY Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail SCP@notbored.org
By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998