Holleran: “Mel & MC completely shattered”
Just moments ago Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran has conducted a media conference in Melbourne regarding the Hot 30 prank phone call.
He started by saying that given the level of interest SCA thought it appropriate to make a statement. He then read the statement that had been released earlier this morning, and went on to add;
"Southern Cross Austereo is commited to working with authorities in any investigation into the tragedy. Our primary concern at this time is for the family…..this is a tragic event that could not have been reasonably foreseen".
Holleran then opened the floor for questions, and in a tightly managed 10 minute question period fielded a variety of queries from the gathered journalists. Responding to the questions surrounding the legality of the prank call, he said;
"We followed procedures that we have within our company, and we're satisifed that those procedures were met. We're confident we've broken no rules"
Pushed further he reiterated;
"We're satisfied that the procedures we have in place were met."
When asked about the recording of a phone call and whether permission was sought, or required, Holleran said;
"It depends on the jurisdiction and they vary from state to state, and they vary between countries as well……it's a bit early to be drawing conclusions from what is a deeply tragic matter. Our main concern is for the family, I dont think anyone could have reasonably foreseen this result."
He was then asked if SCA had sought legal advice before or after the call was made, Holleran replied;
"I think the more important point is that we're very confident we haven't done anything illegal."
One of the journalists asked how the presenters MC and Mel were handling the situation, he said;
"I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it's fair to say they're completely shattered. We have made sure that their needs are addressed and counselling is certainly part of that offer".
Asked under what circumstances they will return to air, he replied;
"Our concern is for their welfare at this point in time. This is a tragic event, these people aren't machines they're human beings, there is no straight forward answer to your question. We'll make sure their well-being is the priority for us".
"Prank calls, as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades, they're not just part of one radio station or network or one country, they're done worldwide".
In response to a question about advertiser fallout Holleran said;
"We are in constant dialogue with our advertisers at all times and those conversations will remain private…(but) I don't think that's the important issue at this time".
The media conference, in contrast to the recent rambling Alan Jones one, was a tightly managed affair, with an SCA representative stepping in after about 10 minutes to end the discussion.
Watch the full press conference: