Doing a radio interview

So, some part of the HBO empire – Vice – wanted me to talk about China and rare earths. Fine. They didn’t want to use Skype because sound quality. Odd, but there we are. Mobile, not land line. OK. Give them mobile number, time to call.

Then:

Actually, would you mind calling me? +1 xxx xxxx Thanks —

Answer:

Well, yes, I would. Making a 30 minute international call on my mobile – in return for no payment as an appearance fee – isn’t quite how I like to spend my money.

They called me.

The thing is the assumption they make there. That not only am I willing to give my time up for free – US media really just doesn’t pay appearance fees in the way the BBC does – but I’m so desirous of getting my voice on the airwaves that I’ll pay to do it. I assume there are enough for this to be true for it to have become that standard set up but still….

16 comments on “Doing a radio interview

  1. Lots of these new media businesses only work (if they work) because they underpay or don’t pay staff and other contributors.

    Vice of course has also done very well in fleecing PE companies.

  2. Did they call your mobile? At least 10-15 years ago it is my understanding that the recipient of a mobile call from overseas had to pay. Hope you didn’t end up footing the bill inadvertently…

  3. I don’t remember it ever being the case in the UK. It was common in the US for mobile phone users to pick up the cost of the final ‘leg’ and as a result they could use numbers in the same range as a landline, rather than a separate range (07x) as in the UK (where the cost fell on the calling party). This also meant that they were picking up costs for ‘spam’ calls.

    I’m not up to date enough to know if that’s still the case.

  4. This was the Huffington Post model. They wanted bloggers to contribute for the glory. No payment required. Not sure if that’s still the case. Certainly about that time – ten years or so ago – I had several approaches along this line of reasoning. I would be so excited by the exposure that I’d write for free and just let them have my work, along with the copyright. I wasn’t, so it never happened.

  5. Sounds like you want some kind of SIP/IP phone. If you’re on decent WiFi your mobile can run an app for it. I use sipgate and have a free UK number that gives me local call rates basically worldwide on a pay as you go basis, as the international bit is handled by the Internet. Sipgate also does inclusive plans.

    Granted its a bit fiddly to set up but if you can follow online instructions it isn’t that difficult

  6. Are you thinking of “roaming”? If you took a uk phone abroad, anyone calling you from the uk was charged as if you were still in the uk, and you paid the number they first thought of for the foreign leg.

    The EU clamped down on this practice as an impediment to trade.

  7. BBC article.–
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-48366074

    “Could the US start its own refining industry for rare earths?
    It’s certainly possible, but this would take time and the sources of ore could be limited if China were ruled out.”

    I guess a lot depends on the environmental aspect. Does china produce most coz its cheaper yes probably. Is it cheaper because laxer environmental standards? partly maybe. To what extent i don’t know but a bit disappointing “reality check” didn’t do the economic reality.

  8. RdJ “The EU clamped down on this practice as an impediment to trade.”

    Well, maybe, they were pushing at a door already open; has all the mobile companies are international operations there wasn’t any reason for the charges other than the opportunity to charge more, but that had to be set against the revenue lost from people unwilling to use a phone abroad for fear of the cost.

  9. International calls do cost operators more. Often there’s roaming going on and the local company will demand recompense for use of their network. it’s true that you can argue that a voice call is just a few hundred bytes of data, but someone’s got to pay for the network, including all the physical infrastructure.

    In theory, Google (or Apple) could build their own international mobile network, make it free to use, and pay for it by charging a premium on their phones. But they don’t.

  10. In the early days of mobiles there used to be a number of roaming clearing houses and calls could be routed through a number of countries. This saved the MNOs having to have interconnect deals and connecting infrastructure with every other country and operator. Each operator had to be paid for the transit, which is why international calls were so expensive. This was even the case in country where calls between mobile operators may have been routed through BT.

    As the volume grew it made economic sense to have direct connections between operators so once the Capex had been covered international charges could be reduced.

    The EU’s mandate to end roaming charges really pissed of at least one MNOs because they saw not offering them as a competitive advantage. They’d have been gone not long after the EU interfered so its wrong of the EU to claim that as a benefit.

    Sounds like you want some kind of SIP/IP phone. If you’re on decent WiFi your mobile can run an app for it. I use sipgate and have a free UK number that gives me local call rates basically worldwide on a pay as you go basis, as the international bit is handled by the Internet. Sipgate also does inclusive plans.

    My one claim to fame is that I built the first trans-national VoIP network in Europe and made one of the first calls. It was illegal because the two countries hadn’t deregulated at the time.

  11. @BiND

    Well done; never let laws/regs stop innovation/whatever if it does no harm.

    It’s like doing 150mph on an empty motorway at 3AM or the M9 almost anytime.

  12. most USA mobile services (Verizon, Sprint, ATT, T-Mobile) provide unlimited calls for a flat fee, New york to California, Florida to Rome, or Paris to Washington. …
    … and it wouldn’t surprise me if most Americans assumed that Europeans calling to the USA would fall under a similar flat fee for unlimited calls plan, and that the marginal cost of an extra phone call is zero

    another case of, “hey why isn’t the world just like us.” … as an American I went through that confusion 30 years ago when i was told to go to Beecham street, and wandered around for an hour before I realized the British were mispronouncing Beauchamp street.

  13. @TC
    Reminds me of the story of a computer engineer (early 90s, before sat navs) who drove round the Warsaw ring road looking for the exit to “Wooj”, where he’d been told his customer was. He should have been looking for Łódź.

  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxKtH5OnxI4

    If you’re interested, that’s a guy I watch sometimes on YT talking about the contract Vice wanted him to sign. They wanted to bring his repair vlogs onto their channel as a show.

    Its an amazingly bad contract – for anyone except Vice – as it basically says ‘we’ll pay you jack-shit, own all your product, own all the work *you’ve already done on your own*, and you’ll cover the costs of production’.

    So it doesn’t surprise me that that Vice interviewer wanted to shift as much of the costs onto you as possible. They’re probably a late-20’s Millennial that signed on to make a show without reading how deep the shithole they’d be working in goes.

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