The ‘shock jock’ debate continues

Staff Writer

Should radio 'shock jocks' tone down their behaviour after recent episodes ? That's a question News Limited have posed.

They mention the Richard Palmer vs Ray Hadley case, the Royal Prank call, and recent controversies from Howard Sattler at 6PR, Alan Jones and Kyle Sandilands.

K&L Gates partner Bryan Belling told The Australian: "The radio shock jocks are now being brought to book – and it's fascinating to watch. These cases will be in the nature of precedents because they show that you can take them on."

University of Technology Sydney law lecturer Geoff Holland said: "Part of the problem with shock jocks is that you have a radio industry code of conduct and they have quite a well-established code with regard to journalists but shock jocks don't fall into that category."

"They are entertainers. For journalists there are about a dozen pages [of code] whereas for shock jocks it's two or three pages. It may be something the industry has to look at."

"In particular the Alan Jones matter (after comments that Julia Gillard's father 'died of shame') showed the radio stations that social media is a powerful tool that can be used to organise protests or opposition to a particular person and the commercial consequences are beginning to hit."

"Even if it's a temporary loss, it certainly has a large impact in the short-term. All media companies are aware of and responsive to anything that's going to hit the bottom line."

Director of Radio at AFTRS, Mark Collier (right), disagreed saying: "Certainly there has been a lot of legal action but I think we're becoming more politically and legally correct. There are more rules and regulations than at any time in our history and not just for radio."

Collier said broadcasters like Jones and Hadley are unlikely to change. "It works because they get a loyal band of listeners who stick to them like glue. It reinforces their own position, it gives them ammunition to support their own arguments. You know where they're coming from and what to expect from their programs. It certainly fulfils a need in the market."

"There was a backlash to Alan Jones' comments but the listeners didn't desert them. Non- listeners were highly critical but two or three months later and the advertisers are back."

Read more at here.

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