Although Today Network’s Royal prank call was national, regulator can only investigate Sydney station 2Day FM

today network logoAlthough the Today Network’s Royal prank call was broadcast nationally, only Sydney station 2Day FM potentially faces sanctions because of the way the licensing regime works, Mumbrella can reveal.

The Summer 30 was produced from the Sydney studios of Southern Cross Austereo’s 2Day FM. It was broadcast across the Today Network, including Fox FM in Melbourne, 92.9 in Perth, B105 in Brisbane and SAFM in Adelaide, along with stations in Southern Cross Austereo’s regional network.

On Wednesday night, the show broadcast a prank call carried out by Michael ‘MC’ Christian and Mel Greig. They impersonated Prince Charles and The Queen and tricked a nurse on the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness to give out confidential information about her condition. Over the weekend, it emerged that the nurse who put the call though appeared to have taken her own life.

Australia’s commercial radio industry runs through co-regulation – the industry draws up its own codes of practice which are approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Complaints from the public are initially handled by the radio stations themselves, and only go on to ACMA 60 days later if the complainant is unhappy with the outcome. However, ACMA does have the right to launch its own investigation earlier if it wishes. It may also draw up its own program standards if it believes that the codes are not providing sufficient public protection.

2day fm sydneyThe Today Network carries a mixture of local and national content. Breakfast shows are local, while the drivetime show hosted by Fifi Box and Jules Lund comes out of Melbourne. Take 40 Australia comes from Sydney. The Summer 30, featuring stand-ins Christian and Greig, also came from Sydney.

A spokesman for ACMA today told Mumbrella that the national show would be treated as having been syndicated from Sydney, meaning that any conversations would only be in regard to SCA’s ownership of the licence for 2Day FM.

SCA appears to be taking a similar approach to quarantine the backlash to 2Day FM only. Although it has pulled ads from the station – there have been none since the weekend – it has not taken the same approach in other cities.

The apparent gap – which means that a listener outside Sydney who complained about hearing it on their local station would still have their complaint focus on the Sydney broadcast – is the latest to emerge from the current code of practice.

The code only covers news and current affairs programs when it comes to protecting privacy. And the rules about broadcasting an “identifiable” person’s voice without permission may not apply when they are overseas. The Today Network has insisted that it did not break any of the rules.

Update: A spokesman for ACMA told Mumbrella: “Any licensee who broadcast the segment could potentially be the subject of an investigation. The licensee we investigate typically reflects the particular broadcast complained of by complainants.”

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  1. Insulted Australian
    10 Dec 12
    12:10 pm

  2. What pathetic disk JERKS they must have at 2DayFM.
    I do not listen to the station but it apparent that this pair need to face up to every bit of possible shame that can be laid upon them. The pathetic management at the station excusing the conduct by saying they tried to make contact with the nurse after the “joke” is not good enough. It is the very fact that the call was even made is the first issue.
    Making a mockery of someone for what was supposedly humour is not true humour.
    The Queen and the future King were mocked firstly.
    The already unwell Princess will suffer. Her privacy for a personal matter of sensitive health issues was invaded. Had the patient of the future monach had even an ingrown toenail matter, it is NOT ETHICAL to deviously go and dig out information. Pregnancy is a personal, sexual issue requiring dignity.
    Perhaps the parents of these radio station staff, management as well, never taught their offspring about dignity, respect, ethic.

    SHAME TO THE FAMILIES of the radio station staff. Let us hope that the shock JERKS never have their own families. They tried to cause enough grief to murder the future monach of the Commonwealth. NO ONE has the right to make assumptions that their own actions can be inconsequential to others.
    That is why promiscuous people never regard the ethical stance of others. Misfit, narcissistic people such as these radio JERKS do anything to absorb attention.

    The shame and grief of the nurse should have been anticipated. She was doing her job. We can not assume that she should laugh at a caller and detect it as a joke. She is a woman. Additionally a woman from a culture where honour and shame compounds her training for obedience. She was in a service role, not a control freak role. She did her business and had the right to expect the dignity and respect she gave to the job.

    I see her as one of the victims of crime. Using a carriage service for harassment is a crime in Australia.
    Mocking the Monach is treason. There was a queen, the future 2 kings and a queen and the unborn heir. I would not hessitate in implementing a punishment to the several generations of these who commit treason..

    Whether the life of the nurse was lost or not, it was unforgivable to mock like they did let alone at a sensitive time.

    I am personally embarassed and infuriated for the conduct f of the radio station staff. This includes producers and management that aired the needless and illegally obtained recording. (It is not legal to record in Australia without consent).

    I would call for the full force of the law upon these disgraceful wastes of air space.
    They have destroyed lives of many people. Essentially the murder, threaten the pregnancy, destruction of the nurse’s family including her children and others in India and more !

    Advertisers cancel your advertising with the station. These shock JERKS might feel the damage closer to home when they loose their jobs and the station punished accordingly for breaches of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice.

    Who ever gave Christian to the surname to one of these people certainly did not brow beat any principles into the failure of the offspring. Let us hope the female has not and never will have children. She created a widower with young children.

    These are most disgraceful people. I hope my humiliation here will target only those intended and that there will never be a hint of these Australian failures left.

    It wounld be nice, should the newborn, assuming it is born and female, could be named after the nurse.

  3. Rosscoe
    10 Dec 12
    3:39 pm

  4. Geez, insulted Australian. Just a weenie bit over the top.

  5. goodone
    10 Dec 12
    4:36 pm

  6. um…everyone just needs to chill the f$%k out

  7. Stewie Griffin
    11 Dec 12
    8:42 am

  8. Insulted Australia is totally old school, but can’t spell. Lose not loose mate.