Robin Westley Martin in front and behind the camera at Bangkok Chit Chat
Both have 30-plus years of experience living and doing business in Thailand, and being known as ‘guys around town’. I first became friends with Andrew over 30 years ago when he was the advertising and marketing director for Business in Thailand, where I was the news editor and writer.
I have also known Andy Francis for the same length of time – albeit vicariously – through his work as a DJ on several radio stations, and also as the DJ at some of the venues and functions around town that I attended.
Recently, since the birth of Bangkok Chit Chat, I have renewed my friendship with Andrew, and have formed an amity with Andy. All three of us have a lot in common, and we all do our best to see the bright side of life.
Andrew – the owner of Clip Cube Media, an agency focused on digital media and online brand management – thought that there was a place for a not-too-serious discussion show that himself and his friends would find entertaining. When his buddy Andy Francis, a well-known media personality, also expressed his interest in the project, the formation of Bangkok Chit Chat began in earnest.
Andrew already had the premises, and he wanted to make an impact with his new venture, so no half-measures were taken. In mid-2018 he began building a studio, and equipping it with cameras, green screen, lighting, sound-proofing, studio sets, and computer editing software. The whole shebang cost about 750,000 baht, but would have cost rather more had Andrew not been hands-on during the construction.
The stage was set, and in early 2019 they were ready to roll … Bangok’s very own homegrown TV interviewers were about to hit the airwaves. Andrew Sloan and Andy Francis complement each other well: Andrew has the business background and is able to research well the subjects they have choose to invite to the studio, and Andy, with his background in the entertainment industry is able to add another slant to the proceedings.
hey choose their subjects together, and when their invitation has been accepted they start their work on the research, and what questions they need to ask their guest interviewees. It’s all very informal, and the banter goes back and forth between them and their guests. This is not to say that it is a comedy exercise, as some of the topics cover important matters.
the serious TV networks, rather to provide an entertaining insight into some of the issues affecting Thailand, and
Bangkok in particular. Their guests are often well-known by the local community, and experts in their
field, through their involvement in business, entertainment, the hotel and travel industry, or the media.
There is a large pool of prospective interview guests for these budding Graham Norton’s to choose from, as two million (or more) foreigners have made Thailand their home. The actual figures are difficult to ascertain, but from such a number there is no risk of Chit Chat ever running out of entertaining people to invite onto its programming. They have also had some high-profile Thai personalioties on the show, so no favouritism there!
As a former guest myself, I know how they work together as a team, but I wanted to see how the whole thing works as an observer from the outside. So I went along to see them do an interview with Barry Upton, UK musician, ex-Brotherhood of Man, founder of Steps, a mega-successful band from the 80s, record producer, songwriter, and radio DJ in Pattaya, where he now lives.
On arrival at the business premises Barry, as all guests do, entered the compound through the sliding doors from the street. Right in front of the entrance to the studio a table, sofa, and chairs were ready for him to make himself comfortable on, and to enjoy coffee and biscuits pre-shoot.
Andrew and Andy went over how it would work, before they headed into the studio. This informal little precis to the filming they go through with all their guests often gives them some points they hadn’t thought of during their research, they assure me. The studio itself is head-to-toe green, with a dining table at its centre, and dining chairs set around it. Everyone makes themselves comfortable, the tech guy mikes everyone up, sets the lighting and camera equipment ready for … ACTION!
None of the guys being interviewed are coached on what to say, and the questions Andrew and Andy put to them are not divulged beforehand. This makes for greater spontaneity, and sometimes things come out that have not even yet hit the mainstream media.
The interviews, after post production, usually come in at about twenty to thirty minutes, but sometimes, with guys such as Barry Upton, there is such a wealth of material that they go on for longer. Barry’s came in at 50 minutes’ runtime, and he said he could have gone on all day.
angkok Chit Chat is a show that has no boundaries and they will cover just about every subject except politics, which is not really such a good idea in Thailand.
People and topics featured have included The Soi Dogs Foundation, with John Dalley, MBE; a look at the Thai prison system, with Gail Bailey, MBE; a chat with one of Canada’s top stand-up comedians, Brian Aylward; reports on places in Thailand, such as Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, and Pattaya with the views of prominent expats from those locales; Covid, and how it has affected Thailand; Thai traditional tattoos; Thai food and where to find the best of it; plus many more topics and interesting people that you might want to meet, even if only on-screen.
Bangkok Chit Chat is waiting for you – as their guest of the week – at the press of a button. Just do a quick search for Bangkok Chit Chat on Google or Facebook. A pound to a penny you will soon be one of the many fans that tune in every week to see what’s new on their menu. Happy surfing!