Lifestyle & Belief

Australian radio station will review its practices following tragic prank call


King Edward VII hospital chief executive John Lofthouse (CR) standing next to the hospital's chairman Simon Arthur (CL) speaks to the media outside the hospital in London on December 7, 2012 after nurse Jacintha Saldanha who answered a hoax call was found dead at a property close by.

The Australian radio show whose Kate Middleton prank call went from funny to tragic this week will launch an investigation into its practices. 

Southern Cross Austereo, which owns radio station 2DayFM, received a harsh letter from King Edward VII's Hospital over the apparent suicide of one of its employees, Jacintha Saldanha, who put through the joke phone call to the Duchess' private nurse. 

"King Edward VII's Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call," wrote hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur, CNN reported

"The immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses who were simply doing their job tending to their patients."

The radio station's parent company responded, assuring cooperation with all investigations. 

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"It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public," said Southern Cross Austereo chairman Max Moore-Wilton, BBC News reported. "We can assure you that we will fully cooperate with all investigations. As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable." 

"I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast processes involved," he added. 

Meanwhile, the two hosts behind the call, 2DayFM's Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have been taken off the air indefinitely, and several of the station's major advertisers have reportedly suspended their accounts, the Globe and Mail reported. Austereo said they had shelved all the station's advertising until Monday at the earliest, after many of the advertisers were inundated with hate mail over the incident, Reuters reported.

Rhys Holleran, Austereo's CEO, said there were no current plans to resume broadcasting the show. 

"At this point in time, the radio show won't go ahead into the future, and will be reviewed," said Holleran, according to the Telegraph

The two are reportedly "completely shattered" by Saldanha's death, and are undergoing counseling. 

London's Metropolitan Police are investigating Saldanha's death with the cooperation of Australian police officials, CNN reported. 

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