Crikey Says

Dec 11, 2012

Crikey says: the radio CEO should walk

Last night's TV tell-not-quite-alls were a lesson in crisis management. But who will take the fall? The Power Index on the man holding $200 billion in ASX wealth. Inside Kirribilli for the PM's pitch to women. On the road with China's leader-in-waiting. And prosecuted for sharing a link?

Media reporter Tim Burrows writes of attending the press conference on Saturday afternoon from Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran in the wake of the suspected suicide of the London nurse caught up in the royal phone prank saga:
"I started to write a news story about his resignation. Of course, he wasn't to blame for the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, but somebody within the company needed to take responsibility, and I suspected they knew it."
The story wasn't needed then, nor since. Instead, Holleran sent out the two DJs who made the call into the burning lights of commercial TV interviews yesterday. Like trapped deer, they pleaded ignorance and presented as remarkably naive victims themselves. As corporate consultant Toby Ralph writes for Crikey, the pair were clearly coached in crisis management 101. The apologies were as genuine as their determination not to name or blame anyone else in the organisation. Holleran, meanwhile, went on Channel Ten's The Project -- after his DJs were too emotional to complete that interview -- and refused to answer repeated questions about who green-lit the segment or even what the process for editorial approval was. He says the station didn't breach regulations, but won't say how he thinks he can dodge the requirement to seek permission before putting someone to air. The CEO didn't resign for any of Kyle Sandilands' despicable indiscretions on the same station -- name your favourite -- and he's not quitting now. He's sacrificed two on-air patsies but refuses to give anyone else up. It's not good enough. Holleran percolated the culture of shock and scandal that wins ratings and pleases shareholders. He's responsible for when it goes wrong.

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6 thoughts on “Crikey says: the radio CEO should walk

  1. Peter

    Can you please stop referring to these radio stunts as ‘prank’ calls. They are not pranks, which are tricks or practical jokes. They are attempts to hoax. I’m sure you will grasp the difference.

  2. Ian

    A pathetic performance by the pair of them but it got international news coverage. What more could you ask really.
    It probably got more coverage recently than the failed climate talks or the recent Israeli attack on Gaza which was not, as far as I’m aware, covered at all by Crikey..

  3. Jason Whittaker


    Crikey provided more coverage on the Doha talks than any other Australian outlet:

    And we ran a number of stories on the latest Middle East conflict:

  4. AR

    When organisations become dysfunctional, generally an enquiry is held and the tealady & mailroom boy get the chop.
    So Holleran sails on, jettisoning minor players,but never the great dollar earning Vile Sandilands.
    Quel bloody surprise.

  5. Ian

    Thanks Jason,

    I was not complaining about their Crikey’s coverage of Doha (compared to other Australian media) but its coverage of the Israeli attack on Gaza. I missed the articles to which you have drawn my attention although I did ask someone at Crikey about it and she checked and found nothing.

    I’m afraid though that for the most part the articles provide a very superficial slant on the situation and completely neglect to provide a context for the conflict. Most of the articles appear almost as if the Israeli propaganda machine provided the major input.

  6. John Bennetts

    “Holleran percolated the culture of shock and scandal…”


    Maybe the author meant “cultivated”?

    So much coffee… so little time.

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