Meridian Star

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December 10, 2012

Royal phone-hoax death prompts cancellation of Australian radio show

(Continued)

SYDNEY —

"There's not a minute that goes by where we don't think about her family and what they must be going through," Greig said, according to the transcript. "The thought we may have played a part in that is gutwrenching."

Southern Cross dropped 5.9 percent to A$1.04 at the close in Sydney trading. That was the largest decline for the stock since Sept. 12 last year.

"Company protocols were adhered to" in the broadcast of the item, Southern Cross said in its statement. The production team made unsuccessful attempts for discussions with the hospital regarding the program, and the company's lawyers reviewed the item before broadcast, it said.

"The company does not consider that the broadcast of the segment has breached any relevant law, regulation, or code," Southern Cross said.

2Day FM, which has the largest share of audiences between ages 25 and 39 years in Sydney, has twice been censured by the Australian Communications and Media Authority over incidents involving Kyle Sandilands, a presenter on another show. The first was after he interviewed a 14-year-old girl who said she had been raped and the second was after he insulted a female journalist on air.

"When these sorts of incidents start becoming repetitive the regulators no longer look at it as an isolated case," BBY's McDonnell said. The hoax call may prompt the regulator to examine whether the station's culture needs to be overhauled, he said.

The ACMA is "engaging with the licensee" for 2Day FM about the "facts and issues surrounding the prank call," the regulator said in a statement on its website.

The board of Southern Cross met Sunday to consider what action to take. The two radio presenters are "incredibly distraught" and have been asked not to comment at this stage, Holleran said in the web statement.

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