Though this report dates back to 2013, CUTVNews is still actively soliciting with offers similar to the one described below, as the more than 200 comments on this post attest.
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. CUTVNews has featured thousands 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. Join us! Viewers are eager to watch and learn about your specific business or profession.
In fact, Close-up TV News is pay-to-play (see the disclaimer 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, all of which refer to the videos as “promotional” or “advertisements”–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 alleged 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.
I almost got swept up in this scam, but thankfully was able to reach out to a past client of theirs to get the full story – I ran the other way. As with many of the other 1 star review on here I was approached for a “empowering women” segment – and was in the running with three other women to work with this PR person, Chris Johnson who supposedly worked for NBC but had a generic cutvbusiness@gmail account. Big promises, lots of urgency, HUGE $15K investment – and crappy contract without any significant details that would normally be in a PR contract of this sort…like how much Chris Johnson the publicist would be getting paid.
They said the same thing to me that the did to the woman I reached out to (who worked with them a year ago) that Marshall Goldsmith was “just retiring” and this supposed publicist Chris Johnson was looking for someone to fill the space and become the next big leadership speaker. When Chris Johnson called me back once, he called me his Superstar – but then realized he thought he was calling me, not some other woman named Tracy. Absolutely wild.
They talk a big game and push you to move faster before you have a chance to think about it saying “C’mon, don’t you want to take things to the next level?” “The studio is covering 90% of the cost” “Just trust me, if I don’t book you my family doesn’t eat”, but aren’t forthcoming with things like invoices, legal details, and legitimate communication.
Run away. Run away fast. And don’t look back.
Yup, still at it, LOL. I got a call and voice message today. He actually reached out to me a few years ago. I didn’t go for it then. This time he was combining the business owner and spiritual/psychic approach. I’ve been in professional healing for 25 years. I instantly recognized his voice, even after all the years ago that we spoke.
Aloha. Also got one of these today. A Frank Mitchell 516-320-1485. They are putting together a thing on holistic practitioners for radio. A “30 minute business news radio segment.” So glad I found this site Thanks!! Apparently they’ve done it to authors too. There’s a thread on this over at Goodreads. Gah.
Frank & Bobby are still at it. Current target – EMDR therapists. I am so thankful I found this thread. I won’t waste my time tomorrow being gaslit!
Same story different day here. Asking me to “invest” $2500 for two 30 minute segments. Putting the pressure on me and trying to make me feel as though this is a one time chance. Pandering to my ego “oh you’ve definitely got one of the most amazing stories!”
They're still at it! The Empowered Women series must be the longest in history!! Also, there may be a focus on EMDR providers or maybe it's just coincidental –(NOT). I'll keep my money. Thank you everyone~
Watch out for this email, she is really asking for you to pay.
My name is Kate Nash and I am an executive producer at Close up television. We are currently interviewing for our empowered women radio series and we are highlighting women from different aspects of coaching. I would love to speak with you at your convenience. Look forward to talking.
Close Up Television
Thanks for sharing! I got a call today from Bobby Banks and got the scripted info that others have posted.
To the purported CU TV News clients who are attempting to comment-bomb this post: if you want to send compliments to CU TV News personnel, do so on their website, not on this one.
"I have been working with Host Jim Masters for a few months now doing radio and television interviews. His calm, grounded presence sets the tone for relaxed and sincere discussions. He easily relates to situations that I am presenting. Jim remembers experiences I have talked about previously and will weave them in and out of our discussion topics. He is professional, sincere and kindhearted–well suited for his role in communicating people's stories which help enrich the lives of all listeners/viewers.
CEO, Healer, Workshop Presenter, Speaker at Awaken with Audrey
Wow, CUTV has been at this a long time! I talked with "Bobby Bond" (apparently he's got a new identity), who laid out the whole "interview with Empowered Women". And the comments I just read here were spot-on, so they're still running that scam. When you're a coach and someone asks how you came to be a coach, etc. you tend to go right into your story because we know that prospective clients want to know if you understand what they're dealing with. It's fun to talk about your business. And then…just as I was thinking "and how much is this going to cost me?" Bobby dropped the hammer to the tune of $1500. Of course, he wanted to get the "ball rolling" right away and wanted to schedule me with the producer and scriptwriters, etc. and when I told him I discuss all financial investments with my husband he was understanding, etc. and what time tomorrow morning could he call me. And when someone asks you if you "are into growing your business", you of course reply that you want your business to grow. I learned a long time ago that if something sounds too good to be true, 99% of the time it isn't. So tomorrow morning my phone will ring once or twice before the number blocking goes into effect. I for sure am an Empowered Woman who doesn't need to pay money to be heard and who knows how to effectively use the internet to uncover disreputable companies and their representatives. Thanks for this site and saving me the
trouble of throwing $1500 into the wind.
They're still at it – just got a call for my business.
Thanks for maintaining this blog!
So glad I found this site. Alexis called me this morning. So glad I didn't answer!!
This is still going on. Received a message yesterday and decided to Google "is Close-up radio legit?". Thank you to all who have posted. DELETED
They are still at it. A woman named Alexis Nicole called this morning and left a message saying they may want to have their celebrity host interview me for their Empowered Women show. I am glad I found this blog before wasting any time calling them back.
Most people don't charge to interview guests on a radio show as you are sharing your expertise to help them engage their listeners. This is a scam to get business owners to pay CUTV to market their business. Sad to see people get taken in by them.
I got a voicemail today from Close-Up Television & Radio. I'm in Canada and I'm a Life Coach. Thank you for posting this here and all of the other comments. Here's a transcript of the voicemail I received, in case you're interested and want to compare notes:
"Hi Louise , I'd like you to call me. I am Robert Couri. I am the executive producer at Close-Up Radio. I'm currently interviewing several people in your field and I am going to be choosing one of you to be featured on two of our promotional 30-minute radio shows. Our website, http://www.closeuptelevision.com. Please find me, 786-916-3564, and I will expect you call."
It's 2020 and I have been getting these calls for several years. I wish they would just go away.
Frank Mitchell called our law firm saying he was working on a 30-minute radio series profiling different legal services for Close Up Radio. Was a little skeptical since the number had a NY area code and we practice law in another state.
They are still at it; my call came earlier this week. I wondered how a “business” show found and desired me, who’s not that high up on the radar scale (yet). The message sounded fishy so I googled Close Up Radio. As soon as I saw a quasi famous name (Doug Llewelyn) I immediately guessed pay to play. All these comments let me know it’s much worse – actual scam territory. I appreciate the info and am glad I didn’t waste any more time, energy and especially money with them.
Wow! So this thread began in 2013 and here it is, March 17th, 2020 and these calls are still being made! I got a call from a Bobby Banks today with the "Empowered Women" ploy ("we've partnered with Blogtalk Radio", etc etc). Happy to have found this thread. Thanks, all!
They are well aware of this blog post. I guess I can expect another cease-and-desist…
I now expect to hear from them at least once a year. Got another call a couple weeks ago and this guy was quite pushy. I told him it's a scam and there is a website where we all discuss their phony offers. He was "offended" so I just hung up. Obviously there are people who don't investigate; hence, them still being able to scam.
I got a call today from “Bobby” who pitched me a feature on Close Up TV. So they must still be making money; they’re still in business! Buyer beware, indeed.
They tried to target my boss this morning. I did not answer the call, they left a message and we saw this site.
They just hit me up today. When they got to the $ I hung up on them. These predators are out there praying on the public.
I finally answered the call yesterday. He said all the same things to me he said to others, but the price was $1200 which is what I spend on advertising. After listening to the interview sample, I wasn't impressed, Doug Lewellyn sounded very uninterested and too scripted. When I told the producer I need to think it through and do my research he got annoyed and said he would call back in 2 hours, I said no, I need a week, he agreed but was annoyed and quickly hung up. We'll see if he follows up next week, when he does I'll be declining his service after reading all these comments!
Just got a call about Empowering Women Series as well. Thank you for this! Fortunately, he gave me the wrong site address it was just CUTV.com which did not seem like what he was talking about, so I got suspicious right away. Glad I looked into it and glad there's things like this to help each other out!
Brenda Baker called and left a message this past week 631-850-3313. I didn't think much of it as we have gotten a lot of coverage for our business, and she had not mentioned the pay for play in her voicemail. I called back today and left a message for her, as I just wanted to know how she had heard of our small business in metro dc from New York……. If she calls me back this week we can have some fun. I, too, saw the BBB logo on their site.
I got a call from Alexis Rose (probably not her name) with the same pitch, but only after two phone calls. $1500 for one show, $2500 for two. "The producers must have heard you on a podcast." What a waste of time.
Thanks for this website, folks.
I, too, recently got a voicemail from "Frank Michael," although his name shows up on Caller I.D. as "Frank Dudash." He said CUTV news "might" be interested in interviewing me. He used my name over and over (perhaps to convince me it wasn't a robocall?)I knew right away it was a scam. I won't be calling back. Folks, just a reminder, whether you are an author or any other type of business person: you should never have to pay to be interviewed. This is not how legitimate news or entertainment media work. Writers, beware.
I had a call from Bobby Banks today – he is still at it! Sounded too good to be true… and I am glad I found this thread. Won't be returning that call!
I took the day off yesterday from work and returned to find a message from "Frank Michael" calling for 'blogger and author Norman Cowie,' which tells me he found my website, but nowhere on my website do I list where I work during my daytime job or any phone number. Of course, he could easily find where I work on my LinkedIn page, but again, no phone number. so this guy did some digging. In his message, he claimed they are working on a radio series 'currently focusing on different types of authors, and we may be interested in featuring you on an upcoming radio show.." Anyway, if someone else wants his number, it's 516-502-8267. I'm not calling him back. Thanks to everyone who posted warnings about this.
I received this call today from a Frank Michael–not his real name as a different last name showed up on my phone ID–anyway, he pushed for me to talk to his "producer" a woman named Anne immediately, but I was suspicious and told him to send me an email. He did so stating that "Anne" would be calling me tomorrow. Lots of luck, Anne. As a long-time journalist, I can smell a skunk for miles. I did a little on-line search and reached this site. I'm hoping no other writers get taken in –I'm thinking of contacting Snopes.
Just got a call from a Frank Michael for a 30 minute business radio show, I believe this is the same thing. Going to call back to confirm, and because I enjoy messing with scammers. Unfortunately for him I am listed on the do not call list, so just calling me was a bad idea on his part. Already enough info to report him to the Feds.
Bobby Banks is now targeting another field. Hypnosis & Regression therapy.
Bobby Banks left a voice message via my practice number today. Wanting to do an interview for Empowered Business Women that do various healing modalities.
My practice is Your Soul Recovery, I do Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy /Beyond Quantum Healing / Past Life / Present Life / Future Life & Life Coaching.
I do Regression sessions for Soul Journey of Remembrance. You are here for a purpose and it is time to be empowered and step into the Remembrance of Why you planned this life. What is your Purpose? Why are you here? I do session 1 to 1 in person and virtual sessions, I have do sessions all over the world.
He gave his spill 'pay to play'. Having been a business owner for many years I advised that I would pass his number on to my attorney to discuss the propitiation he was presenting
to confirm the validated of his request and that was the end of that! NO MORE CALLS!
Be careful EVERYONE….LOVE & LIGHT to all 😉
LA Donna @ Your Soul Recovery yoursoulrecovery.com