Prank station says tried to contact hospital five times



SYDNEY — A Sydney radio station at the heart of the British royal prank call scandal on Monday said it tried to contact the London hospital five times to discuss what it had recorded before going to air.

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo which owns 2Day FM, said that nobody could have reasonably foreseen the consequences of what has been described by the hospital as an “appalling” hoax.

He said he was satisfied that the appropriate checks were conducted before the pre-recorded segment was broadcast.

“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions,” Holleran told Fairfax radio.

“We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded.”

“We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions,” he added. “We wanted to speak to them about it.”

Holleran did not say whether the broadcaster was given any response.

The prank call was vetted by lawyers before being aired to listeners in Sydney last week.

The hoax call, with 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, was taken by mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, 46, at London’s King Edward VII Hospital.

With no receptionist on duty she put them through to a colleague who divulged details of Prince William’s wife Kate’s recovery from severe morning sickness.

Saldanha was later found dead, believed to have taken her own life, sparking a massive backlash against the radio station and the two presenters, who have gone into hiding and are undergoing counselling.

“No one could have reasonably foreseen what has happened,” said Holleran, adding however that the station was reviewing its actions.

“We think that’s an appropriate thing to be doing and we’ll do it,” he said.

His comments came after Southern Cross Austereo held an emergency board meeting Sunday to discuss the growing furore, vowing to cooperate with any investigations.

“As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable,” company chairman Max Moore-Wilton said in a letter to the hospital’s chairman Lord Simon Glenarthur.

“I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, all Austereo staff were called to a meeting on Monday morning with employees ordered not to speak publicly.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Pro_Filipino

    Shame on you! 

  • watsupketchup

    Well, those DJ’s won’t surely sleep soundly, or even would not be able to sleep at all.

    Karma really has it’s ways. What goes around comes around. Guilt will be going to haunt them forever. 

    Pathetic brainless and insensitive DJ’s.

  • joseph bautista

    They commited fraud as simple as that, they should be prosecuted!

  • JEO

    Shame on these broadcasters! they are selfish… now, this incident will hunt them forever!

    I think the woman who answered the phone in the hospital just felt the pressure and stress was to much to digest. It felt like a scandal to her and maybe she simply thinks she must be put to blame because of her incompetent. A very sad story of her life.

  • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

    Apparently, I’ve learned that Nurse Saldhana had been fired over her indiscretion.  Below is the excerpt of the termination letter:

    “…the Royal family has been terribly vexed at how lax we have exercised our judgment and that we  have seem to have forgotten our basic protocols in accepting calls. As we all know, the duchess had been subject to public malaise on several occasions this year, and insofar as her privacy is concerned, the Royal Commission has expressed extreme disappointment at how we have been unmindful of her circumstances, as to have unwittingly participated in a malicious concoction that has compromised the confidential and private nature of her conditions. The Queen has also allayed her disappointment over our lapse of judgement (please refer to the letter of Mr. Glenn Edelstone, Royal PR Officer) and expressed regret at having the Duchess treated at our hospital.

    We have discussed this matter into the board and inasmuch as we would like to keep things the way they were, the board has made a painful decision, in light of this incident that has put our organization’s reputation in jeopardy, to avoid any future precedents and to redeem whatever is left of us. It is with a heavy heart, considering that you have been working with us for several years and have witnessed your utmost dedication to patient care, that we are letting you go.

    You will receive all the benefits that are……”

    This is very unfortunate and we share her grief. The letter  has since been redacted from King Edward VII hospital files but Nurse Saldanha’s copy was found by her daughter.

    Shame on you Aussie Dee Jays.

    • batangpaslit

      the nurse was duped. was it her fault?

      • Jesse_Bruce_Pinkman

        I really cannot answer you with that. But the hospital board somehow seem to think so.

    • Lapu Lapu

      The hospital too should be partly blamed for her death.

    • LongShotInTheDark

      This is a grave allegation. Kindly state your source to give some degree of credibility   otherwise you are spreading a similarly controversial story. 

  • angogay

    Hello???? Contact the hospital to authorize the broadcast of a prank and hoax call?  Does the official of the radio station expext the hospital to allow them to air a hoax and prank call?  Nobody in his right frame of mind will do that?  So what is the alleged call for? A big alibi……. Come on, people now a days cannot just be made to believe lies.  Just keep quiet and accept responsibility instead of adding lies after another.  

  • Opel

    Nanay Dionesia: alo ospital, si nanay dionesia ito, musta na c manny anak ko? Hospital Staff: we dont entertain prank calls

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos