Southern Cross Austereo Issues Statement On Prank Call/Suicide Controversy; Hosts Talk In TV Interview
December 10, 2012 at 3:17 PM (PT)
SOUThERN CROSS AUSTEREO has issued a statement on the Royal prank call controversy and suicide of nurse JACINTHA SALDANHA that engulfed its Top 40 2DAY FM/SYDNEY last week, and the measures the station is taking include the cancellation of the "HOT 30 COUNTDOWN" show, suspension of all advertising on the station, suspension of all prank calls, a "comprehensive review of relevant company policies and processes," and a mutual decision by the station and hosts MEL GRIEG and MICHAEL CHRISTIAN that they not return to the airwaves "until further notice." But the company, saying that "company protocols were adhered to" by the hosts (including internal legal review and authorization) and noting that "(s)everal attempts were made by the production team to discuss the segment with the hospital, but with no success," .said that it "does not consider that the broadcast of the segment has breached any relevant law, regulation or code."
SCA CEO RHYS HOLLERAN said, "First and foremost we would like to express our deep and sincere condolences to the family of JACINTHA SALDANHA for their loss. We are very sorry for what has happened.
"As a leading commercial radio broadcaster, we must ensure that our internal processes and protocols are robust. We don't claim to be perfect and we always strive to do better. We have initiated a detailed and rigorous review of our policies and procedures to inform any improvements we can make.
"We are also providing support to our people who are deeply saddened by this tragic and unforseen event."
Hosts Make Appearance On TV
On the SEVEN NETWORK's "TODAY TONIGHT" show MONDAY night, GREIG said that when she heard the news about the nurse's suicide, "I remember my first question was ’Was she a mother?’" CHRISTIAN said, "We’re still trying to get our heads around everything. Trying to make sense of the situation." GRIEG added, "It doesn’t seem real because you just couldn’t foresee something like that happening from a prank call. You know it was never meant to go that far. It was meant to be a silly little prank that so many people have done before. This wasn’t meant to happen." She noted that "the accents were terrible. You know it was designed to be stupid. We were never meant to get that far from the little corgis barking in the background - we obviously wanted it to be a joke.... We just wanted to be hung up on. We wanted to be hung up on with our silly voices and wanted a 20-second segment to air of us doing stupid voices."
A tearful GRIEG told interviewer CLARE BRADY, "There’s nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We’re so sorry that this has happened to them."