Australian radio show in royal prank call cancelled

10 Dec 2012

2Day FM's Facebook page

The Australian radio show that featured a prank call to a London hospital where Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness, has been cancelled. The station said it will co-operate with authorities after a nurse who answered the call was found dead two days later.

The Hot 30 show, which broadcast the prank call on radio station 2Day FM, has been terminated, while prank calls have been banned across the company and advertising suspended on the station, 2Day FM owner Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) said today in a statement.

“SCA and the hosts of the radio programme have also decided that they will not return to the airwaves until further notice,” SCA said.

SCA CEO Rhys Holleran added, “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.”

The hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles when they rang King Edward VII Hospital last week. Greig sought to speak to Catherine, who was admitted on 3 December and discharged on 6 December. Jacintha Saldanha, who answered that call, transferred it to a colleague on the duchess’ ward, who disclosed the duchess’ condition to the hosts.

Friday morning, police responded to a call to an address near the hospital about a woman found unconscious. Ambulance staff pronounced her dead at the scene, Reuters reported.

Police have been treating Saldanha’s death as unexplained. Other media reports indicated she may have taken her own life.

After news of the nurse’s death became public, Facebook users flooded 2Day FM’s Facebook page with scathing messages, and Greig and Christian had deleted their Twitter accounts following messages criticising them on that social network.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic