12.11.12

2DayFM to Resume Advertising But Profits to Be Donated to Nurse's Family

The owner of radio station 2DayFM has said it will resume advertising on its Sydney radio station but that all profits until the end of the year will be donated to the family of Jacintah Saldanha, the nurse who took her life after she was duped by two DJs making a prank call to the London hospital where Kate Middleton was beign treated for acute morning sickness.

Southern Cross Media said today it would make a minimum $500,000 donation to a fund to help the family of Ms Saldanha, who transferred the DJs call to another nurse who then divulged the details about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge.

Ms Saldanha took her own life on Friday..

"All profits from advertising on 2DayFM until the end of the year will be donated to an appropriate fund that will directly benefit the family of Jacintha Saldanha," Southern Cross Media said in a statement. Southern Cross Austereo today reiterates its deep regret for what has taken place in these tragic and unforeseen circumstances and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha."

Southern Cross chief executive Rhys Holleran told the Sydney Morning Herald the company was deeply saddened by "this tragic and unforseen event and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha."

"We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time," he said.

Under the Australian radio code of practice, a radio station cannot broadcast any prank call without the “victim’s” permission. The station cliamed it had attempted to contact the hospital five times, but the hospital said yesterday that it had not taken any calls from the station.

Wendy Harmer, a former presenter at 2DayFM told The (paywalled) Times that the decision to air would be taken by senior managers rather than the DJs who made the call.

“Within the chain of command there are a whole lot of people that pass these decisions along,” she said. “We have not heard from any significant person in that chain of command. The person who has to accept responsibility is the person in charge of content.”

Ms Harmer, who as a 2DayFM presenter was at the top of the ratings for 11 years from 1993 to 2004, said that colleagues in the broadcasting world had become increasingly concerned at the antics of presenters at 2DayFM who appeared unwilling to stick to accepted protocols.

The station outraged Australia in 2009 when two other DJs, Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, were suspended after forcing a teenage girl to admit on air that she had been raped. Last year, sponsors deserted the station after Mr Sandilands called a journalist a “fat slag” and criticised her hair and breasts on air.

“Word from inside is that this particular station, because of their antics, will drag the entire industry into a new era of regulation.” she told the Times.