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Conroy slams Southern Cross Austereo 'top jock' award for royal prank DJ

Posted by: Matt Cram | 5 June, 2013 - 10:18 AM
Michael Christian, with former co-host Mel Greig, interviewed on A Current Affair in December last year. (Photo: Channel Nine)

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has accused radio network Southern Cross Austereo of "bad taste" after one of the DJs at the centre of the infamous royal prank won a 'top jock' award and free overseas trip.

The broadcaster named DJ Michael Christian a joint-winner of its 'next top jock' award, which comes with a trip to Los Angeles.

Christian, along with former co-host Mel Greig, was suspended by the station last year after a phone prank in which he impersonated Prince Charles while calling a London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying.

The nurse who answered the call and put it through to the Duchess's room committed suicide days later.

Senator Conroy told Neil Mitchell it was too soon for Christian to win such awards.

"I think there's a bit of bad taste involved there," Mr Conroy said.

"There was some very serious consequences of what was a prank and to be seen to be rewarding people so soon after such an event, I think is just in bad taste."

NEIL MITCHELL: 'Has Southern Cross Austereo learnt nothing?'

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford told Ross and John's Breakfast show that Christian shouldn't have won the award, regardless of his credentials.

"He may well be the best on-air talent they have at the moment, I'm not disputing that," Peter Ford said.

"But, gee, wouldn't some sort of innate sense of PR either from the network or from Michael Christian himself actually say 'no, this is not the right time for me to be nominated or collecting awards'?"

UK correspondent Gavin Grey said London won't be impressed with Southern Cross Austereo.

"I think there'll be a great deal of anger," he told Ross and John.

"There's no doubt the family and a lot of people in this country will stare, frankly, in disbelief at this award."

LISTEN: Gavin Gray and Peter Ford with Ross and John.

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Blog comments Your Say

  • I agree with Peggy. The actions of the nurse in taking her own life was her own choosing.

    Hooksy of Country Vic Thursday 6 June, 2013 - 2:14 PM
  • Stop pointing the finger at the 2 DJs, the people who are responsible are her family & the hospital. The woman made 2 attempts at killing herself before the prank, 1 jumping off a building & was placed into ICU , yet they allowed her to continue working. Bloody Disgraceful

    janetp Thursday 6 June, 2013 - 9:36 AM
  • To the 2 DJ's who played a prank on a (either naïve or stupid) nurse in my home country of England... My heart goes out to you both as it was a joke that many of radio stations around the world would have loved to have thought of??? we have many radio stations here who do similar pranks up and down the country on a daily basis... If you have been given an award which has had a poll, then you do deserve it... I'm sorry but I have not heard any of the past pranks or heard your station either??? but don't feel guilty as the miss-hap was not your fault and please believe me no one has any hard feelings towards you here in the U.K....
    Keep your chin up and don't stop the music!!!

    stu ryan Thursday 6 June, 2013 - 5:52 AM
  • That regardless of all that's happened in the past few months I'm still at the top of my game. So it felt good to see my name at the top of the final leaderboard. - Michael Christian

    Painfully shallow, self-obsessed, but lacking in self-awareness. Would have shown sensitivity towards Saldanha's family, and been a signal of ongoing contrition, to have curtly refused this nothing award. Foolish little man.

    Villa Thursday 6 June, 2013 - 1:18 AM
  • Michael Christian may not be totally responsible for that nurses death, But he showed very poor judgement in using a telephone in an act of Deception to of all places a hospital, If he's the best
    Southern Cross Austereo must be desperate and maybe a few of us should ring ahead when he goes to LA..just to make sure they know he has a dead nurse on his resume!!

    Karen Thursday 6 June, 2013 - 1:05 AM
  • You are wrong Peggy and do not understand the cultural characteristics of the Lady who died. It is all about shame and she will have felt that she didn't do her job properly and let people down, particulalry Royalty. They are very loyal and devoted people and these DJ's gave no thought about the consequences of their actions and who might be taking the calls, particularly as they LIED about who they were and proceeded to imitate family members. She will have felt as though she was in a very difficult situation given that they pretended to be Royals. He should be sacked not rewarded and has shown no respect whatsoever. His gloating statement is sick.

    John Wednesday 5 June, 2013 - 8:55 PM

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