Southern Cross Austereo’s CEO Rhys Holleran has told a press conference that the company did nothing illegal and broke no rules over a prank call conducted by two Today Network presenters which has been linked to the suicide of a nurse in the UK.
Holleran’s press conference | Source: Sky News
His comments came at a press conference called by SCA in Melbourne this afternoon at which he reiterated the organisation’s condolences.
News broke of the tragedy in the early hours of the morning, Australian time.
It emerged that Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who put through the call from Michael ‘MC’ Christian and Mel Greig, had been found dead, apprently having killed herself. During the call the duo pretended to be Prince Charles and The Queen and persuaded another nurse to share information about the medical condition of the Duchess of Cambridge who was in the hospital with acute morning sickness.
Earlier today Coles was the first major Australian brand to pull its ads from the Today Network. Meanwhile the Australian Communications and Media Authority said it was to talk to SCA about the tragedy.
SCA owns two major Australian radio networks – the Today Network, which includes 2Day FM in Sydney, Fox FM in Melbourne, SAFM in Adelaide, 92.9 in Perth and B105 in Brisbane, and rock brand Triple M.
Holleran said at the press conference:”Southern Cross Austereo is committed to working with the authorities in any investigation.
“We’re confident we’ve broken no rules. We are very confident that we haven’t done anything illegal.”
He said of the two presenters: “It’s fair to say they are completely shattered.”
Asked about advertisers withdrawing their support, Holleran said: “We are in constant dialogue with our advertisers at all times and those conversations shall remain private. We respect they have the right to make the decisions that are best for them.”
He added: “Prank calls as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades. No-one could reasonably foreseen what ended up being a very tragic and sad day for us.”
Audio of the press conference (Source: SCA):