Roll up Roll up!

 

Rob McCasker is a former radio programmer and now freelance writer, here he offers his views on Fitzy & Wippa's recent story arc around bringing the world's shortest man 'Dangi' to Australia.

60 years ago freak shows were big business.

Money forked out to see the visually unusual including The Giant, The Three Legged Boy, The Fat Lady and The Thin Man. All classic attractions.

Last week Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa took it upon themselves to revive the genre when they carted around a 72 year old Nepalese dwarf.

The Sydney Breakfast, and syndicated Drive, duo weren’t after money, just ticks in a survey diary.

Chandra Bahadur Dangi stands at just 54.6cm tall. At full stretch the height of a car tyre. Chandra’s small stature earned him the Guinness World Record crown of shortest man alive. The publicity over the Dangi trip to Australia, said Nova, was extraordinary and they have no doubt it’s been a very powerful story for the station, the network and Fitzy and Wippa.

Throughout Chandra’s visit, or Dangi as the boys called him, possibly because ‘Dangi -Fever’ was more of a hook than ‘Chandra’s visit’, the septuagenarian was set quite a pace. There was a trip around Sydney harbour, Taronga Park Zoo and a Rugby League membership presented by the club owned by Russell Crowe. During the trip to the footy club Wippa held Chandra like a father would a baby. Burley footballers shook hands, laughed and took photos. Degradation wasn’t getting in the way of this story arc.

There was even a live freak show where the Fitzy and Wippa faithful could get up close and personal, snap a photo and send it on;

“OMG check out the old dude, he’s just tiny  …LOL”

Nova also, unbelievably, organised a life sized cake of Chandra so he could come face to face with a replica of himself and listeners could hook in and take home a slice of chocolate Dangi. Shameful.

Fitzy and Wippa will tell you they acted in the best interests of Chandra and this was nothing more than generosity to assist Chandra’s dream of travelling the world; a random act of international kindness. Nova insists Chandra and his support team agreed to everything and could have pulled out at any time. So what? It still doesn’t make it right. That Chandra was so agreeable to radio’s freak show only made it easier to humiliate him not bring it any close to what’s acceptable.

This was a relatively low-cost survey stunt stacked with appalling sight gags to provide hours of web-site content to ‘entertain’ during his stay and long after Chandra Bahadur Dangi left the country.

There’s a new low in radio’s attention seeking behaviour.

 

 

Rob McCasker worked in radio and now writes about it. More articles by Rob can be viewed at robmccasker.com

 

 

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