Sydney radio station 2Day FM tried to contact London's King Edward VII Hospital several times to discuss its pre-recorded prank call before putting it to air, the station's boss says.
Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the station, says the hospital was called several times about the prank call to a nurse to inquire after the sick Duchess of Cambridge.
“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions,” Mr Holleran told Fairfax Radio today.
“We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded.”
Mr Holleran said the calls to the hospital were made before the prank call piece went to air.
“Absolutely. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions,” he said.
“We wanted to speak to them about it.”
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead on Friday, three days after she answered the prank call at the hospital from radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian.
The presenters were posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, seeking information about the condition of the Duchess.
Ms Saldanha put the call through to another nurse, who divulged details of Catherine's recovery that made headlines around the globe.
Ms Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, is believed to have taken her own life.
Mr Holleran denied the station had a cultural problem despite offensive on-air incidents by another of its hosts, Kyle Sandilands, in recent years.
“No, I think you're joining a couple of issues here inappropriately,” he said.
“I can only say the prank call is not unusual around the world.
“That style of call, it happens every day in radio around the world.
“No one could have reasonably foreseen what has happened.
“I don't believe there is a cultural problem within 2Day FM.”
But he said the station would still review its actions.
“We think that's an appropriate thing to be doing and we'll do it,” he said, adding the station would make changes if appropriate.
Mr Holleran said he did not think anyone could have foreseen the tragedy of Ms Saldanha's death after the prank call.
“I think that the day prior, people took it as being a harmless prank in good humour,” he said.“If anyone could have foreseen the circumstances ... I don't think anyone could have.”
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