One of the radio DJs at the centre of the royal phone call scandal has been crowned Australia’s Next Top Jock in an internal Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) competition.
Michael Christian was the joint winner of the national award and said “regardless of all that’s happened in the past few months I’m still at the top of my game”.
Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, this morning said on Melbourne radio station 3AW that the award was “in bad taste”.
“There were some very serious consequences of what was a prank,” Conroy said.
“And to be seen to be rewarding people so soon after such an event, I think, is just in bad taste.”
Christian’s award comes six months after he and fellow presenter Mel Greig made a prank phone call to London’s King Edward VII Hopsital were Kate Middleton was admitted for severe morning sickness.
The pair was put on to nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who later committed suicide after transferring their call through to a colleague who revealed details about the Duchess of Cambridge's health.
Christian, who now works at FoxFM in Melbourne, added: “From the start I felt like I had something to prove to myself.”
“So it felt good to see my name at the top of the final leader board.”
In a 3AW blog post, breakfast host Neil Mitchell described Christian’s award as “absurd” and said SCA had “learnt nothing”.
“You do something so stupid, a woman dies and Southern Cross Austereo rewards you,” Mitchell said.
“The radio industry is capable of bizarre and insensitive management at times – I have seen it myself often enough – but this takes the cake. This is absurd.”
The winners were decided by a panel which included SCA's head of content, Craig Bruce, and the content directors of 2DayFM and FoxFM – Derek Bargwanna and Dave Cameron. Cameron is also head of the Today Network for SCA.
Christian and 2DayFM presenter Ellie Mobbs have won flights to Los Angeles to tour the studios of KIIS FM.
SCA is yet to return B&T’s request for comment.