It was unsurprising that the recent spat between 2GB host Ray Hadley and Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) came up at the Radio Alive conference in Melbourne on Friday, with one panellist in particular voicing his support for the controversial shock jock.
Speaking to B&T, Jason Morrison (pictured above), director of news at Channel Seven in Sydney, said SCA’s decision to pull Hadley from its Triple M Central West broadcast every time he talked about a court case involving an employee of one of the network’s advertisers was uncalled for.
“I don’t know if this is a commercial decision or not, but I know SCA’s legal advice is wrong, because the advice that everyone else seems to have is that it’s very, very safe to talk about this issue in the way it’s been talked about, including us, Fairfax, News Corp,” he said.
“Even the ABC has broadcast this story, statewide and in that region.
“Perhaps they’re just being cautious, but to pull somebody off the air and decide it’s too risky, I think they should make a decision as to whether they have him at all.”
Having worked at 2GB himself, Morrison described it as a well-run organisation that’s genuinely respectful of legal processes, and said Hadley would have got his facts straight on the story before reporting on it.
“If SCA doesn’t trust certain parts of his show, they shouldn’t have him on the station at all,” he said.
“Ray is an edgy broadcaster who is known for his provocative discussions, and that’s his attraction, and why he’s been number one for as long as he has.
“For SCA to decide that they didn’t like one bit of his show, they should’ve taken he good, the bad and the awkward.
“I mean, you back the guy to have him on your station, but there’s something you don’t like him doing, so you just pull him off for that bit, but put him back on for the rest. I’ve never heard of that.”
Morrison said there is always a genuine separation between church and state in radio stations and media organisations around the advertisers and what goes to air.
“I am amazed that somehow there’s been an allowance for one to dictate the other, if indeed that is the case, but SCA is saying it’s not and I’ll take their word for that.”
Please note: Morrison’s views represented in this article are his own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the Seven Network.