2DayFM: PR experts urge SCA to bring presenters out of hiding

2DayFM: PR experts urge SCA to bring presenters out of hiding
SHARE
THIS



Australia’s public relations community is urging Southern Cross Austereo to allow 2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Christian Michael to speak out about their prank call at the centre of the suicide of British nurse, Jacintha Saldanha.

Greig and Michael called the King Edward VII hospital last Tuesday posing as the Queen and her corgie, asking the nurse on call intimate details about the Duchess of Cambridge’s medical condition. The call was subsequently broadcast on air. 

Saldanha had been manning the hospital switchboard and transferred the call through to Kate Middleton’s ward.

Both presenters have been in hiding since the news of Saldanha’s death, their show suspended and their Twitter accounts deleted.

Southern Cross Austereo released a statement to the media early on Saturday morning saying the presenters were “deeply shocked” and stressed that “at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances”.

SCA CEO Rhys Holleran updated the media at an emergency press conference on Saturday but neither of the radio hosts has been permitted to speak with press, personally apologise or explain the context of the prank call.

While shielding the presenters may be a necessary evil for legal reasons, it’s not the best PR strategy according to Kat Thomas, managing director of PR agency One Green Bean.

“The one thing I would do differently is that I would field those two DJs. They want to speak. It looks like they are being held at bay by management and legal but there is an appetite for people to hear an apology from them. I think that would be a more appropriate way of handling it than having them in hiding behind corporate spokespeople and lawyers.

“The reaction from the British media is almost witch hunt like and they are baying for an apology, not of the corporate kind but of the human kind.”

According to crisis management experts, the keys to communicating with the public about this tragedy are transparency, honesty and timeliness.

While some have criticized the station for being slow off the mark with their public response –  (the Australian media received SCA’s statement at 5:40am on Saturday morning, but CNN had the story at midnight on Friday) – Brian Shrowder, director of crisis and issues management at Hill + Knowlton Strategies believes the network has, so far, handled the situation appropriately.  

“In crisis management speed of response is important and the fact that they got their CEO Rhys Holleran in a press conference on the same day that the news broke in Australia is important.

“This is a tragic and unforeseeable outcome of prank call and I think the tone of their communications so far has been pretty right. They’ve voiced their concerns for the family, which is the right thing to do.”

But apologies won’t be enough for the public to forgive the network any time soon. According to Ogilvy Public Relations’ media director Sam North, someone’s head will have to roll.

“Their contrition is obviously genuine but I think the public will need to see someone be seriously disciplined for this.

“Someone made this decision and we need to see that person – whether it be the program manager or the station manager – be disciplined in a really dramatic way.”

Furthermore, SCA should carefully avoid positioning itself as a “victim” of the UK tabloid media, stresses Hill + Knowlton’s Shrowder.

“The one thing they have to be careful of is making themselves out to be the victims of the British press. The British press and tabloid media is hopping into this in a very big way so SCA has to avoid the temptation to say ‘We are the victim of an attack by the British press'.”

Ultimately, however, the network needs to change the discussion if it wants to save its reputation, says Ogilvy PR’s North.

At present SCA is scrambling to diffuse the tirade of global anger and is focusing on the short term ramifications of this disaster, but it should turn its attentions be re-positioning itself as a station committed to furthering the case for responsible radio practices.

“What they’ve got to do is change the debate and take it forward rather than have everyone looking back. If I were advising them I would ask them to try and take a step forward by saying ‘We are going to lead a radio industry push to have much stronger self regulation’,” North told B&T.

“They should use this as a position to lead the industry into a new era of responsibility of making sure facts are right and making sure stations act within the letter and the intent of any ethical standards that they set.”

To read more of our coverage on the issue, click here

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Rakuten Marketing Launches Consent Management Platform In Line With GDPR
  • Marketing

Rakuten Marketing Launches Consent Management Platform In Line With GDPR

Performance marketing company Rakuten Marketing has unveiled a new consent management platform (CMP) for retailers, advertisers and publishers. Compliant with the IAB Europe/Tech Lab Transparency and Consent Framework and developed to-date within a DigiTrust (now IAB Tech Lab) working group, the CMP is a proactive measure to help retailers, advertisers and publishers gain consent under […]

Five Top Tips To Improve Your UX And SEO
  • Opinion

Five Top Tips To Improve Your UX And SEO

Is your UX & SEO performing like a brattish MAFS contestant? Well, let this be the penetrative lube to their love woes.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Marc Edward Agency Snares PR Account For Cruiseco Australia
  • Marketing

Marc Edward Agency Snares PR Account For Cruiseco Australia

Experiential marketing firm Marc Edward Agency (MEA) announced the addition of Cruiseco Australia as client for its communications division. Following on from its execution of the Cruiseco 17th Annual Conference in Brisbane earlier this year, MEA has been appointed as the cruise specialist’s PR agency of record. Cruiseco CEO Amanda McClelland said: “Having demonstrated their […]

Why All Email Should Be Mobile First
  • Opinion

Why All Email Should Be Mobile First

Here's an authoritative article on email and mobile, and be safe in the knowledge it wasn't penned by any B&T staff.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced
  • Media

39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced

B&T was a lucky guest at the AWARD Awards last Friday, although misread the bit about fancy dress & went as a chicken.

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr

When B&T was offered to interview a lady named “Zeina”, we initially thought it was the warrior princess herself.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage
  • Advertising
  • Media

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage

If you mistakenly thought this was an interview with Kojak's Telly Savalas, as it turns out, it's even better than that.

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand
  • Marketing

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand

Didn't much fancy that Telstra story above? Well, perhaps B&T could tempt you with this tasty Optus tickler instead.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018
  • Media

AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018

AKQA R&D in collaboration with Google has developed a process called Somesthetic Transfer. It uses machine learning to take both the style and texture of an artwork and apply it to another image to be 3D printed with a UV printer. The works will be displayed at Semi Permanent 2018 in Sydney from Thursday 24 […]

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid
  • Marketing
  • Media

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid

Design students from Torrens University’s Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with WPP AUNZ’s Health & Wellness division to decode clinical data on ‘Medicinal Marijuana in the Treatment of Epilepsy’. Their creative solutions will be presented at a Vivid Ideas Exchange titled ‘Design can save your life: how can creativity improve comprehension of health data?’ […]

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals

If you read one diversity case study on B&T today, make it this one. Not that there's any others to choose from, really.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor
  • Marketing

Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor

B&T was going to insert a homage to Sherbert's classic "Howzat" here before realising it was naff and showed our age.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account
  • Media

PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account

ICYMI, PHD has FTW the HSBC business IRL. It's not so much a LOL or NSFW, but a TL;DR. Ahh, forget the whole thing.

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition
  • Media

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition

Customer experience (CX) intelligence platform, InMoment, has expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of customer experience agency, brandXP and appointment of Claire Fastier as its APAC business head.

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now
  • Opinion

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology. From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance
  • Advertising
  • Media

SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance

Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has announced the launch of an online resource library for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The library can be found on the company’s website and is part of a wider educational initiative by SpotX – which is headquartered in the US and has an office in […]

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert
  • Marketing

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert

Integrated communications firm Daylight Agency has cemented its presence in the government and political arena with the appointment of industry veteran David Begg. A practising solicitor for over 28 years, Begg (pictured above) will head up the agency’s new government division. He has extensive experience working with large commercial clients on high-profile regulatory and legal […]

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland
  • Marketing

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland

Frost Design has shown off its comprehensive rebrand of iconic Australian infrastructure and property business John Holland, based around the brand idea of ‘Transforming Lives’. John Holland CEO Joe Barr said Frost was the only branding business who understood that the impact of the rebrand was just as important internally as it would be externally, […]

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston

We've got an absolute cracking Women in Media profile today. Not to say it's approved by the Chiropractors' Association.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama Dance Together at the Presidents Ball
  • Media

Netflix Secures Producer Deal With The Obamas

It seems former US president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama aren’t quite done with the international spotlight just yet. The Obamas have officially signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will see the power couple producing films and series with the streaming giant. According to Netflix, “The Obamas will produce a diverse […]

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad
  • Opinion

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad

One need only view our editor's hot pink leg warmers today to realise he's neither fad nor trend.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content
  • Opinion

Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content

And why is B&T running a photo of an engaged couple for this content engagement article? It was either that or a carrot.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles
  • Media

Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles

Fairfax Media has today announced the recruitment of 20 trainee journalists to join the newsrooms of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times and WAtoday. This represents one of Metro’s largest trainee intakes in years and underlines the commitment of the mastheads to fostering a new generation […]

Sydney Australia - November 7, 2011. An extreme close up of an American express card issued by the Australian bank Westpac.
  • Media

AMEX Launches Global Media Review

Are there not enough hours in the day? Are you cheek-by-jowl with your co-workers? Well, hopefully you won't win this.