4 December 2012

Psychic Readings Live Gone Thanks to BP Forumite!

The last 30 minutes went with a whimper with 3 calls, a space of 20 minutes before the last caller at 02.04 and so it ended at 02.06, Irelands TV3 Psychic Readings Live turned off the green screen and went back under its rock with a few passing shots that might be regarded as breaches of the BAI code.

Speculation started yesterday at about 2pm yesterday when Flathan Huerter their golden boy posted

"My Friends and Fans in Ireland. I'am sad to inform you that tonight, is the last show Psychic Readings Live on the Irish TV..... "

later he updated it with

"The Broadcaster wanna change the concept of the show, to make the calls cheaper for the people, put the channel don't want it, so the broadcaster quit the contract! this is the information i get from the broadcaster. the broadcaster is the company i working for the psychic shows."

Wayne Isaacs posted

"Goodbye TV3 Psychic Reading Live Ireland tonight is the last show ;-(".

For the next few hours we were wondering was it real or another so called "last appearance" as it was still on the television listing on TV3 and RTE, also if true how was TV3 going to tell their side. We had a inkling something was going on with Danielle appearing on the forum and another new poster appearing that was suspicious, a possible TV3 plant or sympathiser a few days prior to this. At 8.30pm the Irish Times newspaper broke with "Psychic Readings Live cancelled" and had "The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has so far upheld seven complaints against the show and results for the authority’s compliance committee are set to be published next week."

How did all this start? The show started on the 16th June and it was the 20th June I went into Twitter and saw all these tweets about some psychic show that was on TV3. Curious I switched on and ended up watching the remaining hour or so of what could only be described as car crash TV and I was hooked.

Wayne Isaacs was asking people to call a number at €2.44 per min for their "psychic" readings. Checking an Irish forum I found a thread on the program and that's where it really began. A group from a previous show take-down were there giving advice and links to look at on how to complain. I don't know how long into the show it happened as time disappeared like some alien abductees story but one of our trusty twitter people called in.

His question was about the Irish Soccer, if we would every win anything and what was going to happen to the team. Wayne dragged it out with vague answers and said that it looked like there would be 3 changes to the team. The sceptic I am I went onto google and started looking for answers and found a newspaper article about the team and that 3 members would re-evaluating their futures. Now it crossed my mind that he might have someone on the google machine looking for answers. Another caller come “I was just wondering what are the chances of you getting a BAI complaint for false advertising?”

Laughing at the pictures used for the psychics the hunt started and people were posting up the stock version of the pictures. Alan Rice wrote up a blog with the pictures and stock links, it spread like wildfire and his site was having problems keeping up with the traffic. It hit the news on the 26th June with "TV3 distances itself from Psychic Wayne TV broadcast", TV3 issued a statement to clarify that the Psychic Readings Live broadcast is an “infomercial window”.

The psychics also kept saying they were in Ireland and hunting on the internet found the producers and studios to be in Budapest Hungary. Wayne at one stage was on his Facebook page while he was presenting, showed him in Budapest, poor Erick kept getting mixed up one minute saying lovely in Ireland and next saying its late here in Budapest, another night Flathan posted on twitter about his dinner before the show of the vending machine with the time 1 hour ahead of Irish time. So that was out of the bag. Each time a new psychic would appear a hunt for information on them started and details posted.

All laughing aside on the 26th June the so called "Entertainment Service" showed it's true colours when Sue Hudd took a call from a lady wondering about her hospital results, she had breast cancer and was wondering if it was good. Sue tells the caller "what we've got here the 3rd card that I pulled for you and it's saying to you it will be a time of celebration, something for you to very proud of. So good news, good things happening to you, we don't need to keep our fingers and toes crossed because this is about you now being in the right space, so well done you."

I was disgusted that someone could give false hope to a vulnerable person and sent off a complaint to TV3 quoting the whole call. I said it breached code relating to health. Again on the 5th July Erik told a caller they make be suffering from depression, another complaint sent off.

In Ireland when you complain to the broadcaster they have 21 days to get back, if you are not happy with the reply you then send it off to the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) , they get onto the broadcaster and this can take another 21 days. The BAI get back with another response and you have to reply with yeah or nay. This is then reviewed and if it is worth note they will take it up at their next meeting to see if it did breach code.

The first BAI meeting with the complaints was on 11th September and 3 complaints were upheld, 2 of those were of the cancer call and the depression call. At the same time complaining I was also posting videos of the calls including funny moments, trolls and slipping in the possible breaches. It became a running joke that if something funny happened with Flathan he'd say that's another Youtube video for Spookwoman.

The videos piled up and the complaints kept going in from the others on the forum and myself. While some others were enamoured by the "psychics" I was not, I saw them as leeches with no morals and no amount of flamboyancy would change that. I tried different areas to complain and even contacted Comreg about 1 caller who rang in 19 times over a few months. On the forum we had also started logging the calls, the time they came in, names and later estimated on air costs for the callers. We knew we were being monitored by the show and we wanted them to see we were also monitoring them. With my name already out there I didn't care and made public my distain for the show on Twitter often using #septicpsychics which was thought up by one of the forum members. Wayne would make comments at me then go into protected mode so I couldn't post back which shows the mentality of some of the presenters.

Slowly I started taking down the funny clips and leaving only the questionable readings along with a parody intro I made up called Psyick Readings Liv€, no rules were broken as it contained no actual PRL clips or anything linked to them. Not long after that I got the Youtube take down notice for my calls. TV3's replies to my complaints also changed tone saying I was complaining too much, I had an agenda and told me if I didn't like the show to switch off. Flathan even went on a rant about me on air at one stage. With all this I knew we were starting to get to them and I was rubbing my hands in glee. I scrutinized all calls and replies picking holes and backing it up with research, anything that added credence to the complaints.

Another BAI meeting on the 11th November found another 4 complaints upheld, 1 by me relating to pregnancy which TV3 said is not health related. Each time the BAI published their results the news got hold of it and published the details giving out more bad publicity. With the complaints upheld, bad press and having to broadcast BAI statements they would only follow the book for a few days before talking about health again. The Irish Times say there are another 10 complaints still to be processed and I know more are still being sent in. The show may be finished but we are still working with complaints so this does not happen again. If it wasn't for the forum or "Boardies" as we are known as by the psychics I would probably have gotten disheartened and bogged down with the process. It was a long and hard haul but we got there in the end even if some say it was canceled due to lack of interest.

Leah Burgess