Listener wins $10K name game after celeb voice contacts station
Guessing the voices of celebrities is a common commercial radio competition, but a radio station in Singapore found itself at the centre of controversy after one of the voices it used in a Celebrity Name Drop quiz got involved in a listener dispute.
Gold905 was forced to backflip on a decision not to award a listener a $10,000 cash prize, after a long saga. The station originally teed up a whopping 14 celebrities, who each said one more in the phrase “Gold 9 0 5, the station that sounds good, and makes you feel good”.
The list? Tony Hadley, Madonna, Maggie Wheeler, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, David Bowie, Belinda Carlisle, Julie Andrews, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Michael Buble and Rebecca Lim.
One listener, Muhammad Shalehan, called the station hundreds of times, and the third time he got through to the station he guessed all 14 correctly. He was surprised to be told, however, that he had pronounced the name of former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley incorrectly.
Shalehan was even more confused when another listener called up and guessed the same name. He disputed the decision with the station but the station doubled down, saying it’s decision was final and he had the incorrect pronunciation.
“In the case of Mr Shalehan’s entry on 21 Apr, his pronunciation of “Hadley” did not meet the criteria as stipulated in the rules of the contest. As a result, his entry was judged as not having all the correct answers. This rule was applied consistently across all the entries,” said Gold 905 in a statement.
Shalehan wouldn’t be deterred however, and got in touch with Tony Hadley himself. Hadley then send a video into the station endorsing Shalehan’s pronunciation, but the BBC reports that Gold905 still refused to give out the prize, which had already been awarded to another listener.
“You might have had a slight accent, but as far as I’m concerned, you said my name correctly,” said Hadley.
In the days that followed, several media outlets including Singapore’s Hype & Stuff covered the story, and some even played back the entries of the two listeners back to back.
48 hours passed and the station finally changed their decision.
Hi everyone, Thank you for all your feedback and posts. We have reached out to Mr Shalehan again to convey that we…
“I was so shocked. I feel honestly happy that justice has been served. My message to Mr Tony Hadley is a big, big, big thank you. His video was a great, great game-changer,” Shalehan told the BBC.
Hadley posted another video too, thanking the station for finally giving the prize to its correct recipient, and also inviting Shalehan and the other winner to meet him backstage at a concert in Singapore later this year!