Presenter who was told to fake her death accuses network of encouraging sick humour in staff

AMBER PETTY FNUKY MUMBRELLAA radio presenter has accused Southern Cross Austereo of  having a culture that encourages “revolting behaviour” including forcing her to go along with faking her own death in an on-air stunt.

Amber Petty was a breakfast presenter on SAFM in Adelaide for three years.

She contacted Mumbrella to comment after seeing this week’s story about the sacking of Kyle & Jackie O Show producer Bruno Bouchet over jokes he made about the Colorado shootings.

When Petty first joined that station in 2007, her death was faked in an on-air prank. Petty claims that as a new starter, she was pressured into doing the stunt. She told Mumbrella:

“Having worked for SCA, I will say that behind the scenes much of the time it is 100% encouraged to be outrageous and have a sick sense of humour. Revolting things are encouraged, and they employ sycophantic people who make dumb mistakes.”

Rhys Holleran, Southern Cross Austereo CEO, responded to Petty’s comments saying, “At Southern Cross Austereo, we’re proud of our focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent, who thrive within our culture where respect, honesty and integrity are valued.”

Petty said: “While I was on air, the powers that be decided it would be a good idea to get attention by pretending I had died. So being new on air and feeling the pushiness of ‘don’t carry on about this or you’re not a team player’ I had to leave the studio while an obituary for me was recorded.

“The obituary included our news reader reading out my death news and a sound grab from my brother and father saying how horrendous it was that I’d died, including asking my dad to say ‘It’s obviously always sad when a parent loses a child’.”

Petty claimed that before agreeing to play along with the stunt, her father “was bailed up on the run while he was at work, didn’t feel right about it and only succumbed after my pushy co-host convinced him to do it. He felt sick after doing it – and that went to air.”

Petty worked with co-host Dave ‘Rabbit’ Rabbetts at SAFM until 2010, when she left to start her own website Not Just For Hippies.

She added: “So that explains the culture that goes on inside SCA, and the behaviour that is encouraged – not discouraged. The culture is to employ a lot of people who only have an opinion that fits right with what the bosses tell you is best for your career.”

Petty said the nature of her departure from SCA was “a mutual parting of ways”.

“It was time for me to go. There is no bitterness there,” she claimed.

Bouchet publicly apologised in an opinion piece on Mumbrella yesterday over the comments that led to his exit. Petty said of this move: “I rate this apology and although I don’t know what was said in the no doubt dumb and attention seeking tweets, I think Bruno has gone over and above in his explanation of what is a deeper reason for trying to be cool and controversial at all costs.”

The former SAFM presenter is best known as being bridesmaid to Princess Mary.


  1. Ian
    25 Jul 12
    1:02 pm

  2. Why anyone keeps listening to this crap on the radio is beyond me.

    Choose public broadcasting, choose spotify, rdio, MOG, choose your damn itunes library… just don’t choose to listen to this sh!t.

    Once you stop the ratings will plummet and then idiots like Kyle, Jackie O and those who qualify this as entertainment will all go away quietly.

    Pretty simple really.

  3. Cynic
    25 Jul 12
    1:30 pm

  4. ok…so she’s just looking for media attention to promote her freelance gig? oh, cool.

  5. Army Culture
    25 Jul 12
    1:42 pm

  6. Perhaps those working at Austereo have the same training and culture as our Defence force. A Culture of innapropriateness, internal misconduct and not caring what is socially acceptable.

    Perhaps its time to review their ability to hold a licence.

  7. Anna Barr
    25 Jul 12
    1:44 pm

  8. Hear Hear!! Well said, could not have put it better myself

  9. Toe mas
    25 Jul 12
    1:50 pm

  10. Commercial media is full of this crap. I worked as a journo for a regional TV newsroom briefly and was astounded by the sensationalistic approach. The behaviour was revolting. My questioning the validity or ethics of their “journalism” was met with greaaat vengence and furrrrious anger… and led to the use of the adverb “briefly” in describing my employment.

  11. CatintheHat
    25 Jul 12
    2:13 pm

  12. Got get Mumbrella.

  13. Matt
    25 Jul 12
    2:13 pm

  14. Isn’t it funny how once someone leaves an organisation, and there is the opportunity for publicity, all of this kind of stuff suddenly becomes a huge issue for them that they never recovered from.
    If she felt the culture was so bad while she was there then why did she continue on for 3 more years? Did she do anything after settling in for a year to change things? Didn’t think so.
    Sorry Amber, having a dig 5 years later will do little in the minds of reasonable people to raise yourself above the sort of programming that you DIRECTLY contributed to

  15. CatintheHat
    25 Jul 12
    2:13 pm

  16. Sorry typo

    Good get Mumbrella.

  17. Greg M
    25 Jul 12
    2:17 pm

  18. What Ian said!

    Prove it to us Australia – prove that we deserve better than their rubbish!

  19. mediaman
    25 Jul 12
    2:34 pm

  20. well said Ian- there arent the only radio stations- ill take PBR or RRR or triple J/ABC Local anyday

  21. David
    25 Jul 12
    2:53 pm

  22. I agree Ian. They sack their producer but let Kyle get away with anything he wants. Is that not having double standards for on air talent.

    Warranted I didn’t see the jokes about the shooting but reading that SCA decided to take a moral ground on censoring comments from an employee is a press release from topsy turvy land. Think the time that SCA become a moral judge on anything has passed, advocating such talent like they do.

    Did the letter ceasing employment read “sorry Bruno, we can afford to lose you, you just don’t have the ratings….”

  23. Carole Goldsmith
    25 Jul 12
    4:22 pm

  24. Why are we even reading this. Stooping so low to fake an employee’s death surely should have been a bullying claim by Petty to WorkCover

  25. Steve
    26 Jul 12
    10:29 am

  26. All sounds a bit petty and rather opportunistic to me.

    26 Jul 12
    3:32 pm

  28. Choose Good Coerrcialadio Stations like 3AW 693AM in Melbourne Australia where annopuncer do not resort to gutter tactcs like this to get and retain listeners.

  29. DeanO
    27 Jul 12
    12:15 am

  30. They encourage “revolting behaviour”?? Sounds like a great gig, have they got any on-air jobs going?? :)


    27 Jul 12
    6:18 am

  32. 3AW is Melbourne’s 2012 Olympic Radio Broadcast Partner so for the best Olympic Broadcast listen to 3AW 693AM in Partnership with MRN From Tomorrow Morning at 6AM. 3AW has been on Air iN Mwelbourne for 80 years and 3AW needs younger listeners. 3AW has the best Football Commentary of any Code, Anytime, Antwhere.

    27 Jul 12
    7:46 am

  34. As Melissa & I said in an eariler post Deano 3AW Encourages a good culture because it has good behviour and if you want to work with 3AW mee This Mornkngwith their GM Shane Healy and sign with 3AW as one of their fii-ins.
    3AW is that far ahead of any other Radio Station in Melbourne that included ABC Radio 774 that it’s not funny. Only The 2DAY Network foster revolting behaviour because they let it hasppen.

    28 Jul 12
    8:45 am

  36. There are AM Corecial Stations like 3AW in Melbourne, 2GB in Sydney, 4BC In Brisbane FiveAA in Adelaide, 6PR In Perth, 2CC In Canberra & 2HD iN Newcastle that foster a good Culture because they encourage gunlike ti 2DAY Network that in contrast foster a bad culter beacuse they allow bad behaviour to happen and do not do anything about it.
    If Kyle Sandilands did what he duid if he worked for 2GB he would have been sacked years ago here is the difference between AM Coercial Radio and FM Coercial Radio and another thing well respected people work for AM radio and those who want respect lerave FM Radio to work for AM Radio.

  37. Lemming
    28 Jul 12
    1:26 pm

  38. She faked her own death because she was told to? Her Dad went along with it?

    What sort of people are these guys?!

    If somebody told me to fake my own death I would tell them to piss off. My Dad would probably punch them?

    “Today Amber, we require you to jump off that high cliff”

    Whilst this employer sounds awful, it takes two to tango…

    29 Jul 12
    3:28 pm

  40. to Amber Petty time for you to make the change and sign with FiveAA 1395AM become Co Host ofg their Breakfast Program and bring Younger Listeners with you to FIVEAA and both yiu and they will know Bettter Radio when you see in and they hear it.

    29 Jul 12
    7:25 pm

  42. All 2DAY Network staff leave yiour network now and come to 2GB In Sydney,3AWin Melbourjhne, 4BC in Brisbane, FiveAA In Adrelaide, 6PR In Perth, 2CC in Canberra, 2HD in Newcasrtle and Other Coercial Radio Stations owned by Grant Broadcastering MacQuarie Regional Radio Network Idependent Broadcaster and Super Radio network apart form 2SM.

  43. LW
    29 Jul 12
    7:37 pm

  44. @Jason & Melissa, if you are going to post so many words can you at least spell some correctly? Thanks!

  45. OH My God
    29 Jul 12
    7:43 pm

  46. This is terrible. When you have to do something outside of your job requirements and they expect your family to play along with it, corporations become fascists, where you have to work after hours, and give up your social rights too. Such pranks can lead to media personalities loss of credibility. It is ridiculous. And it leads to suspicion when they start playing with the masses minds and what they really aim to achieve. Not everyone passing through the transmission s reach is going to hear a rebuttal of the this information and this behavior if left unchecked leads media outlets to encroach on .more serious pranks. Practical Jokes just seem to get more intense to satisfy the prankster threshold for fun. Yes it reminds me of defense force pranks.