Bissell & Romaro on radio pranks

Staff Writer

Radio legend Barry Bissell and ex-2Day FM PD Cherie Romaro have given their opinions on radio pranks and the recent tragedy.

Bissell has told The Herald Sun today that he left radio after having to do a buck's night stunt.

"I hated the thought of setting people up, so I left. When I first started, it was a music based and music research culture, then it became a culture of comedy and entertainment. It's moved on now to this culture of pranking.

Music fills the gaps between the stunts."

Meanwhile Cherie Romaro, who was PD at 2Day FM for 7 years from '82 to '89, has given her thoughts including what this event will mean for the 'gotcha' call:

"In my view, what was lacking in the current situation is old fashioned common sense and use of the adage ''when in doubt, leave out''. Today's codes of practice are clear and concise, as is the law, and in most radio networks, including SCA, there are legal teams on staff, producers, program directors, group directors of programming and senior managers to check and scrutinise every word that goes to air."

"The question remains: how did this call get the green light for broadcast? There is no need for more regulations to deal with this. It is clearly covered by the codes of practice currently in place and the law."

"There remain many unanswered questions.The pressure on radio presenters and their program teams in this day and age is constant and unrelenting, the demand to be noticed and create ''the water cooler effect'' is a common request. However, it is not funny to make fun or dupe any more, the general media combined with social media can be a deadly combination."

"The ''gotcha'' call has long been used as a mechanism to get attention on air. But it is clear that this old method of entertaining now needs to be edited out of the format manual. It is a different era and different times demand different approaches.

The best of the new generation of broadcasters will find alternative ways of entertaining and connecting with their audiences."

Read the full opinion piece from Cherie Romaro in The Age here.

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