Australian royal hoax radio programme 'Hot 30' axed but presenters keep jobs

DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig are discussing 'future roles' with 2Day FM

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The Independent Culture

The radio programme behind the hoax call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge last month has been axed.

2Day FM’s Hot 30 programme fronted by Michael Christian and Mel Greig has been cancelled.

The presenters have been on leave from the station following the tragic death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha who transferred their hoax call to the ward where the Duchess was being treated for acute morning sickness.

Christian and Greig are still employed by the station and are discussing “future roles”.

"We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents,” said Rhys Holleran of Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2Day FM, in a statement.

The pair became the target of a backlash after a joke that they played on air while the Duchess was in the early stages of pregnancy suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum went further than they expected.

They phoned King Edward VII’s Hospital pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles putting on fake British accents. Believing the call to be genuine, Mrs Saldhana transferred the call to another nurse who provided information about the Duchess' condition.

Mrs Saldhana, 46, was found hanged three days later.

2Day FM today pledged to give more than A$500,000 from its advertising profits to Mrs Saldhana’s family, which includes her husband and two children.

Last month Australian police the DJs were unlikely to be charged with criminal offences over the prank call. However, the country’s media watchdog launched a formal enquiry into the incident.

Soon after Mrs Saldanha’s death on 7 December Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2Day FM, said: "Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances. SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."

Mrs Saldanha's funeral took place in Shirva, India last month attended by more than 1,000 mourners.