Lessons from Kyle: Today 'careful' when airing Kate Middleton prank

By By David Blight | 7 December 2012

The Today Network has said it had been "very careful" before putting the Kate Middleton prank call on air, hinting it had learnt its lessons from the Kyle Sandilands controversy at the beginning of the year.

The network has been caught in some controversy this week after two presenters – Mel Greig and Michael Christian – rang the London hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton had been staying and impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles, asking for an update on Middleton's health.

A hospital staff member provided details about Middleton's condition, which led to the call becoming an international headline, with British press particularly vitriolic about the incident.

Today Network owner Southern Cross Austereo has since apologised for airing the content.

However, a spokesperson also told AdNews this morning the company had been “careful” before it put the prank call on air, and had carefully examined the content before clearing it for broadcast.

The spokesperson hinted that the Kyle Sandilands controversy from earlier in the year had encouraged the network to be careful. “In the wake of previous situations this year, we are very careful about what we put to air.”

The Today Network had been shrouded in scandal after presenter Sandilands called a News Limited journalist a “fat slag” on air, which led to an advertiser boycott.

It has been questioned whether the call breached privacy or any radio standards.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has confirmed it had received complainst about the prank, but said in a statement: “The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has received complaints overnight regarding the 2Day FM prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital in London.

“Under the co-regulatory model, code complaints should first go to the licensee. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the response, then a complaint can be made to the ACMA.”

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