In a tragedy that has rocked Australian airwaves, the Australian radio station responsible for the Kate Middleton hospital prank call that lead to the shocking suicide of a nurse will donate its advertising revenue to the family of the nurse.
According to Reuters, Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of Australian radio station 2Day FM, which was source of the prank call, will give all advertising profits to a memorial fund for the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, who answered the telephone at the hospital treating Prince William’s pregnant wife, Kate Middleton, with a minimum contribution of $525,000.
In the wake of the nurse’s death, the parent company canceled the show responsible for the prank on Monday and has suspended the Sydney-based announcers, Mel Greig and Michael Christian. The company also suspended all prank calls on all stations, pulled advertising, and ordered a comprehensive review of relevant policies and processes.
Southern Cross Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran said:
“It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family. 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.”
Southern Cross said it would resume advertising on its station on Thursday.
There has been much debate between King Edward VII Hospital and Southern Cross whether or not the Australian radio station contacted senior management or its press office in advance of broadcasting the prank call. According to the Daily Mail, despite Southern Cross’s claim that it called the hospital five times, the hospital never responded, and the station went on to broadcast the call regardless.
Under broadcasting rules in Australia, the permission of anyone “caught” in a radio prank must be sought before the call can be put to air.
The Australian radio station has a long history of jokes designed to cause devastation.
The worst of the segments was on 2DayFM’s “Kyle and Jackie O” show which had a long running lie detector bit that went horribly wrong in 2009 when a mother brought her 14-year-old daughter into the station to grill the teen on her drug and sexual life.