Holleran: "Mel & MC completely shattered"

Just moments ago Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran has conducted a media conference in Melbourne regarding the Hot 30 prank phone call.

He started by saying that given the level of interest SCA thought it appropriate to make a statement. He then read the statement that had been released earlier this morning, and went on to add;

"Southern Cross Austereo is commited to working with authorities in any investigation into the tragedy. Our primary concern at this time is for the family.....this is a tragic event that could not have been reasonably foreseen".

Holleran then opened the floor for questions, and in a tightly managed 10 minute question period fielded a variety of queries from the gathered journalists. Responding to the questions surrounding the legality of the prank call, he said;

"We followed procedures that we have within our company, and we're satisifed that those procedures were met. We're confident we've broken no rules"

Pushed further he reiterated; 

"We're satisfied that the procedures we have in place were met."

When asked about the recording of a phone call and whether permission was sought, or required, Holleran said;

"It depends on the jurisdiction and they vary from state to state, and they vary between countries as well......it's a bit early to be drawing conclusions from what is a deeply tragic matter. Our main concern is for the family, I dont think anyone could have reasonably foreseen this result."

He was then asked if SCA had sought legal advice before or after the call was made, Holleran replied;

"I think the more important point is that we're very confident we haven't done anything illegal."

One of the journalists asked how the presenters MC and Mel were handling the situation, he said;

"I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it's fair to say they're completely shattered. We have made sure that their needs are addressed and counselling is certainly part of that offer".

Asked under what circumstances they will return to air, he replied;

"Our concern is for their welfare at this point in time. This is a tragic event, these people aren't machines they're human beings, there is no straight forward answer to your question. We'll make sure their well-being is the priority for us".

Holleran was also asked about his personal view of the prank call;

"Prank calls, as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades, they're not just part of one radio station or network or one country, they're done worldwide".

In response to a question about advertiser fallout Holleran said;

"We are in constant dialogue with our advertisers at all times and those conversations will remain private...(but) I don't think that's the important issue at this time".

The media conference, in contrast to the recent rambling Alan Jones one, was a tightly managed affair, with an SCA representative stepping in after about 10 minutes to end the discussion.

Watch the full press conference:

steve fitton(3:27 08 Dec 2012)
the tragedy here-besides the obvious- is that this is how the new generation of announcers are taught to engage. They are not taught to communicate, to connect one on one with the listener, but to be as outrageous and loud and noticeable as possible. To wear a meat dress if you like. It works for Lady Ga Ga, but radio is not a visual medium, it is theatre of the mind, and unfortunately the theatre has become so off off off broadway, it's not funny. Airtime is so full of credits and client placements and integration concepts, that the craft of hooking a listener through with a creative music sell, or a personal comment that they relate to, is dying. I feel sorry for these 2 kids, who instead of having a moral compass and a little life experience on what is and isn't acceptable, just consulted the WWKD* workbook, and thought this would score brownie points with the higherups, and maybe score some publicity. A terrible tragedy for the nurse and her family, and an equally tragic event in the story of Australian radio. *WhatWouldKyleDo.
Jason Bouman(3:48 08 Dec 2012)
The death of the UK nurse is an absolute tragedy, but I also think there's great wisdom in a statement made by Jeff Kennett from Beyond Blue today. "Chairman of Beyond Blue, Jeff Kennett, has expressed concern for the presenters, and said Australians should support rather than crucify the pair for a prank made in good faith." There are no winners here, and any of us who have been on the air for a long time, have equally made mistakes on our journey, especially as younger broadcasters.
Anonymous(5:23 08 Dec 2012)
Where are the content executives in all of this? The announcers did the right thing and recorded the call and then sought approval. Who approved this? The system has let these two announcers down.
Anonymous(6:17 08 Dec 2012)
"There are no winners here, and any of us who have been on the air for a long time, have equally made mistakes on our journey, especially as younger broadcasters."

What thoughtful and compassionate... hogwash.
Frank(13:04 08 Dec 2012)
Apart from any legal and moral issues, the decent thing for SCA to do is open a trust for the children of the nurse and see to it that it gets enough funding for the next 10-20 years. This will stop the downspiral. It also limits damages to both SCA and the DJ's.
Jason Plannik(21:19 08 Dec 2012)
headline should read "Holleran: December revenue completely shattered"
Anonymous(7:37 09 Dec 2012)
This is incredibly sad. Even if they could not forsee this terrible tragedy, they should have forseen that the nurses might have been ostracised by their colleagues, reprimanded by their supervisors and even lost their jobs right before Christmas.

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