Cutting Ray Hadley shows ‘lack of nerve’ says Seven’s Jason Morrison

Interrupting a Ray Hadley show mid-program showed “real lack of nerve” and poor trust in the broadcaster, former 2GB talkback radio presenter and Seven’s director of news, Jason Morrison has said.

Speaking on a panel at the 2017 Radio Alive Conference in Melbourne today, Morrison said he hadn’t heard of anything as “blatant” as Southern Cross Austereo’s cutting off Hadley midway through a segment.

Morrison presented on a panel around fake news at Radio Alive’s 2017 Conference

It comes after the 2GB talkback host’s syndicated feed was cut on Southern Cross Austereo’s Triple M in Orange when Hadley discussed  a local court case.

Hadley alleges parts of his show were not aired because of the local station’s commercial relationships with the one of the parties involved.

“I found the whole thing extra-ordinary. I haven’t heard of it as blatant as this when someone gets cut when something’s talked about,” Morrison told the audience.

Noting there may have been people in the room responsible for the decision, Morrison added: “I think your legal advice is wrong and your trust in the broadcaster is wrong, because he wasn’t wrong on this and to pull his show off and to start playing songs or putting legal disclaimers on.

“You are showing a lack of nerve when trusting the person who brings you enormous amounts of revenue into your radio station, gives you fantastic figure and audience figures in your market – because the public loves the edginess of Ray Hadley.”

According to Morrison, Hadley knows the rules and navigates the law very well.

“On talk radio you only ever get remembered for your screw ups but for many 1000’s of hours on talk radio, he doesn’t screw up, he gets it right.

“Someone has a fear that he is going to screw a story up and tread the line of contempt so they’ve made the decision to pull the plug, well I’d suggest they never go back to him ever again because if they don’t trust him on this one, what can you trust him on.”

“He’s smart enough to know that rules, and I know there are executives in this room he works for and have to everyday know that this guy is going on the air with a loaded gun and potentially do lots of things, but you know he’s smart enough to be able to know that. To pull him off the air because you fear that he might, I think you shouldn’t be running him at all. Go find another morning host if that’s what you want to do.”

However a statement this week from Southern Cross Austereo said attempts to frame the issue as one of “censorship” and “free speech” were misleading.

Hadley was not broadcast in Orange until this morning

“On several occasions this week as a result of legal advice SCA has decided not to broadcast parts of the program,” the network said.

“These decisions were based solely on legal advice and were not influenced by any commercial considerations, including the fact that West Orange Motors has a commercial relationship with SCA.

“While SCA appreciates the significance and the impact on the Orange community of this case, SCA was concerned that the material broadcast was potentially in breach of Australian contempt of court and defamation laws.

“In SCA’s view Monday’s segment contained material which went beyond the parameters of legal court reporting of a trial.

“Given the live nature of the program and the host’s public opinion that he does not consider his comments to be of concern, since Monday, SCA has declined to air any part of the show that refers to the case because of the risk that further problematic material may be aired.”

However Hadley was broadcast in Orange this morning.

Also in the session Michelle Griffin, news director at The Age responded to 3AW drive show host Tom Elliott’s comments around newspapers being dead.

In a Q&A session this morning, Elliott said: “I don’t read the newspapers at all, I think they’re a dying art form and a dying form of media and to me they’re yesterday news. I write for the Herald Sun so they won’t be very pleased about that.”

Griffin hit back: “Well you should stop just ripping our stories then.

“I am not the news director of a piece of paper, I’m the news director of The Age as a multi-platform channel, on iPad, online 24 hours a day, on the web, on mobile and in print.

“He can not like the paper if he likes,” she said.

“I also don’t often listen to his shows but I pick up when he has a good news break because I’ll find it on the extremely sharp Twitter feed of his producers.”


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