Solicitation Alert: Close-up TV News / Close-up Talk Radio

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Writer Beware has received reports that authors are receiving phone solicitations from an outfit called Close-up TV News, which describes itself as
...a premiere news magazine TV program spotlighting the most successful businesses across America. Close-Up TV News has featured hundreds of industry leaders on our shows. We are a professional News Magazine Show, viewed by millions who continue to be captivated by our intellectual, informative and entertaining storytelling style.
In fact, Close-up TV News is pay-to-play (a fact not mentioned on its website). It produces faux news segments for a fee, which businesses can then use to promote themselves. Several of the testimonials from satisfied customers confirm this--for instance, this one, this one, and this one--as does this summary of a recent indictment against a pair of timeshare telemarketers, who allegedly used a Close-up TV News segment to further their scheme to defraud consumers.
Done in the format of a news segment for the fictional “Close Up TV News,” the segment was hosted by an actor who played the host of the “People’s Court.” In this fake news segment, the reporter described Creative Vacation Solutions as “remarkably effective” in putting buyers and sellers of timeshare units together. Johnson and Todd played the role of a happy couple who owned a timeshare unit that was purportedly sold by CVS.
(Close-up TV News was not charged in connection with the scam.)

From what I can determine, authors aren't being solicited for the fake news segments, but for Close-up Talk Radio, Close-up TV News's Blog Talk Radio channel. Authors are told that they are one of just three who've been chosen from a carefully-selected list of 30 writers, with the goal of finding a single author to receive huge promotion and marketing support, including several Close-up Talk Radio interviews, during the month of March. It's promised that this marketing and promo will make them a best-seller.

The catch? Close-up claims it will "invest" $40,000 of its own resources in scripts for the interviews, email blasts, and other promotion...but the author must share the burden by kicking in $5,000. And authors must make up their minds fast! The promo happens in March, and Close-up needs an answer ASAP.

If the fee isn't a tipoff, the supposed time pressure should be. Pay-to-play schemes don't want you to make a considered decision; they want you to feel rushed, so you'll be more likely to make an impulse decision.

Close-up is not unique. Many other pay-to-play media schemes are out there--for instance, Global Talk Radio, where guests pay to be interviewed on Internet radio, and The Balancing Act, the pay-to-play ($5,900) Lifetime TV show. But Close-up's recent solicitations are certainly among the more deceptive I've heard about.

Writer beware. Even if they don't try to fool you into buying, this sort of thing is not a good use of your money.

6 comments to Solicitation Alert: Close-up TV News / Close-up Talk Radio

  • Ms. Led

    Bob Banks called me today with the same wonderful details and benefits and told me he was definitely selecting me out of the other potential candidates. Then the major catch of $2500. I said I needed to speak with my husband about our financial situation. He googled the site and found a long list of pages regarding this scam. I plan on sharing this with Bob when he calls back!

  • Thank you very much Victoria for taking the time to create this blog string. I actually spoke to Bob today. He was a gracious gentleman and accepted a gentle no thank you without push. I have received several solicitations like this over the years and have found it best to just always say no. Your blog however, helped me to stay true to my previous decision – so again, thank you! My business has been built by referrals of happy clients who have been deeply satisfied with the services they have received. For me and what I do, that is the best way for me to grow.

  • Kelly Hughs

    I had 2 shows with this firm and I am very delighted by the response that I had. It was the most bang for the buck I guess you would say. I took on many interested parties, one of the listeners was a CEO with 100′s of employees, I am going to help his employees…I will further my relationship with this firm, I am sorry to see this. I have 15-20 new clients and a radio show that I will have for life.

    Did you try the service or just thought you would post this?

    I charge for services, I expected a fee to be on National Radio…. Thank You Close up TV News

  • Lia

    Thank you for this! This was the only post I’ve seen about this solicitation. I’ve had “opportunities” to do things like this in the past & thank God for people like you who can give us a heads up about what it’s really about before we make a costly mistake.

  • Hi, Just had 2 phone conversations with Kieran Rodgers, Senior Director, setting up two half hour interviews, then, “Oh did I not mention?”, asked for $2500 for this service. I politely declined. I am a writer and speaker and he must’ve gotten my name off of a speaker site. My story centers around the murder of my son. I guess that’s why I’m writing this. How low can a person be to solicit a mother who has lost a child for a scam? These guys are disgusting and should be stopped.

  • Janet

    I am working with my credit card company, the CA and NY OAG and the BBBs to get my money back. What a rip!

    The services provided were:

    the 4 interviews
    the 30 second promotions
    the DVD recordings
    Press release with photo or video distribution to major news outlets (newspaper clipping service)
    Website design – recommended pix relocation and answered question re the guest book feature

    The services not provided were:

    the email list
    Press release with photo or video distribution to media publications
    Press release with photo or video distribution to networks
    Promotional campaign for products, services, books, etc.
    Provide company visibility on the major search engines
    Live streaming from website
    Stats on live callers to show
    Stats on listeners
    Website tech support
    Website design completion
    Detailed year long media campaign

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