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Should Aussie Hosts Be Fired?

12-10-2012

The Australian jocks who are now the most famous radio pair on the planet will undoubtedly become the FCC case study to justify the commission's phone-recording rule (READ JOHN GARZIGLIA'S ARTICLE ON THE TOPIC HERE). After bragging about what they had done, Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2DayFM are now said to be shattered after the 46 year old nurse who took their call, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead. Should Greig and Christian be fired and held accountable for what has happened?

Here are some of the public comments about the prank call that the two have made. "When we thought about making a call it was going to go for 30 seconds we were going to be hung up on, and that was it. As innocent as that,'' Michael Christian said. Mel Greig said, "We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on.''

However, they got through, retrieved personal information about Middleton, aired that information, and everyone knows what happened shortly after the prank was successful. Suicide is suspected in Saldanha's death. She was the nurse who answered the phone when Greig and Christian called. The hospital blames the hosts and, the hosts are seeking counseling, and the radio station is reviewing its practices.

Lord Glenarthur, chairman at the hospital where the incident occurred, wrote the station. "Saldanha's death was tragic beyond words" He called the incident "premeditated and ill-considered actions" that led to the "humiliation" of Saldanha and another nurse. "I appreciate that you cannot undo the damage which has been done," he wrote, "but I would urge you to take steps to ensure that such an incident could never be repeated."

Responding to the hospital, Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of parent company Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the 2DayFM radio station, said, "It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event, and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public. I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved. As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable."

Additional coverage at ABC News and The Washington Post




(12/10/2012 10:19:42 PM)
The loss of a any life is tragic and we dont know what was in the mind and heart of the poor woman who took her life. We don't know what the expectation was for the talent but lets assume for a moment that the station understood the style and expectation of the show and the hosts were working to fulfill that expectation. The stunt was goofy, not mean spirited and I believe that they expected to be shut out early in the bit. Management should stand by and with their talent.

- Dan Halyburton
(12/10/2012 9:59:53 PM)
Audiences aren't asking for these stunts; they're what's being offered to them in place of real humor. Station managers can end them overnight with a straightforward policy: If any employee of the station, on-air or off-air, disguises their identity for any reason other than legitimate newsgathering, they'll be fired on the spot.

Write the policy into employment contracts so that violations result in employees not only losing their jobs, but also losing any severance pay.

- Len Feldman
(12/10/2012 10:43:29 AM)
I'm embarrassed to be in the same profession too, but for a different reason. The hosts had no idea that their prank would result in the death of the nurse, but radio people react like they intentionally killed her. I read article after article stressing that radio needs to be different; to set itself apart from other media. When something, totally unpredictable, goes wrong, radio & the hosts are vilified. The radio industry deserves to be in the deplorable condition that it's in.

- Jerry Scott
(12/10/2012 10:02:09 AM)
Unfortunately, immature "shock jocks" do not realize that words can be more powerful than the bullet in a gun. In fact, you can do more damage with the spoken word than you can with a gun because the effects can last a lifetime. I cannot understand why management allows people like this on the air in the name of "humor". Humor is Johnny Carson, The Carol Burnett Show, Boone and Erickson on WCCO in Minneapolis years ago. These were people who understood there is a difference between funny and being offensive. It seems today that too many people believe you have to ridicule someone or use offensive language to get laughs. That is very sad. Is it any wonder bullying is a problem with the example that is set by those in the "entertainment" industry! Grow up people!!

- Maynard Meyer
(12/10/2012 9:48:05 AM)
Y'know, the pranks have been done a thousand times by a thousand jocks. It's the kind of thing that audiences ask for. And before the internet age, it would rarely ever leave the listening area. I know 15 years ago, I'd never hear about a prank call from the other side of the planet. Meet the global audience.

Now, could anyone have predicted how this would play out? Of course not. It's sad, but it was in no way predictable. Who could have known?

- Just Sayin

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