Curb on NZ stunts after shock death

By Kathryn Powley

Former radio host Iain Stables advised the Australian DJs to lay low for a couple of years. Photo / Getty Images
Former radio host Iain Stables advised the Australian DJs to lay low for a couple of years. Photo / Getty Images

The shockwave caused by the death of UK nurse Jacintha Saldanha could mean changes on the airwaves here.

The Radio Network's general manager of content, David Brice, said he would review whether stations such as ZM, Hauraki and Classic Hits would continue to be involved in prank calls - a staple on many New Zealand radio stations over the years.

He indicated there would probably be tighter editorial control on the various shows.

"It is totally tragic what has happened and I just feel terrible for the woman's family," Brice said.

"It's easy for people to forget how there can be unintended consequences and how being belittled in front of the world was so upsetting for her.

"It left us upset and frankly speechless."

The Australian DJs had made matters worse by exploiting the stunt on social media to achieve global exposure.

"It's horrifically backfired on them."

Brice thought such a stunt here would be career-ending.

One of the more notorious pranks in New Zealand was shock jock Iain Stables contacting LA airport in 2000 to claim fellow DJs Jason Reeves, JJ Feeney and Clark Gayford had kiwi eggs in their "rear cavities". They were held for two hours and searched.

Last night, Stables told the Herald on Sunday he would have made the same prank call if he'd had the opportunity.

"Should prank calls go ahead like this? Absolutely. You can't stop people having fun. I believe there is more to this than we know about."

Stables advised the Australian DJs to lay low for a couple of years, as he had done for the past three years. "They need to go into hiding. No one will want to know them right now."

Last year, Ben Boyce and colleagues from the TV3 show Wanna-Ben were arrested after attempting to get into Auckland Airport in bogus uniforms, but they were discharged without conviction.


Click here for an edited transcript of the prank call.

- Herald on Sunday

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