I realise I’m probably in a minority here, but I do have a great deal of sympathy for the Australian radio DJs who made the prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted suffering from acute morning sickness.
The events that followed were devastating, not only for the family of the nurse who died, but also for the radio presenters who are now being blamed for the tragedy.
We’ve all watched shows like Beadle’s About and Noel’s House Party over the years and enjoyed watching someone become the butt of a wind-up.
You have to remember these DJs are just starting in their careers. They were hosting an evening show and were heard by thousands, not millions.
Having worked for several Australian radio programmers during my time, I also know what they expect of their presenters.
They say push the boundaries, make a noise in your marketplace. Be famous for something. Sadly for these two, they now are – for the wrong reasons.
I bet bosses at Sydney’s 2Day FM were initially delighted after their fledgling show made worldwide headlines. But is all publicity good publicity?
The station lost two major advertisers, so decided to drop all commercials. In a market full of commercial stations, this will be a great thing for their market share. Is that really a punishment in the long term?
With commercial radio being relatively new in the UK, many Australians came to these shores to spread their knowledge. A lot of the stations you hear today are influenced by them. Shows called ‘Blah & Blah in the Morning’ are a giveaway.
They follow a ‘template’ of ideas and set up a show structure that will contain competitions and features that will involve listener involvement one way or the other. The hosts are then trained to carry out this structure.
Over time almost all these Aussies have returned home as in this country we tend to prefer the personality of a presenter rather than gimmicks or battle of the sexes-style content.
As I once reluctantly made prank calls on the ‘advice’ of a former boss, I can appreciate what those presenters are going through.