'Radio hosts deserve our support'
There was nothing wrong with Mel Grieg and Michael Christian's 2DayFM prank and the radio hosts should be given support, says Chairman of beyondblue, Jeff Kennett. Lifeline: 13 11 14.PT2M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2b2nf 620 349 December 8, 2012
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UP UNTIL Friday night, radio host Michael Christian had been bragging about the notoriety he and his co-host Mel Greig had garnered for their royal prank.
''The only bad thing about our Royal Prank and [sic] is knowing that I will NEVER EVER top this,'' he told his Facebook friends. ''Less than a week in the job & I've already peaked.''
Sorry ... Mel Greig and Michael Christian. Photo: Twitter
But that was only the beginning. While the original radio prank caused worldwide headlines, it was after the death of prank victim and nurse Jasintha Saldanha that the story really escalated, becoming front page news in every UK national paper, and earning the ire of tens of thousands on social media.
Christian had just this week begun his 2DayFM career, following a rise through the ranks of smaller radio stations.
His career started at a small community radio station in his regional hometown of Gilgandra in northern NSW. He then nabbed a job at Newcastle station NXFM, becoming afternoons announcer and later anchoring breakfast. He moved to Sea FM on the central coast and then to Austereo's 92.9 in Perth. After a stint in Melbourne, he started his 2Day FM Hot 30 Countdown gig in early December where he joined Mel Greig.
''With my skills as social media specialist here at the Fox I'm hoping to do things on the hot30 that have never been done before,'' Christian told a radio news website this month.
He was no stranger to controversy, however.
Just a fortnight ago he made global headlines as the man responsible for causing a near mutiny aboard pop star Rihanna's private jet for his incessant harmonica playing.
With 200 journalists from around the world aboard Rihanna's seven countries in seven days promotional plane ride, Christian and his harmonica made international headlines after his interminable playing drove fellow passengers to despair.
Website Gawker reported: "Some Australian guy on the plane was playing a harmonica, which is internationally recognised as grounds for justified homicide." MTV reporter Maude Deitch Tweeted: "This Australian motherf***er with the harmonica on the plane is about to get murked."
At the time he relished in the notoriety, actively promoting the controversy he had created and embracing the subsequent media attention by promoting it via social media.
Christian's counterpart, Greig scored her 2DayFM co-host role in March, days before her 30th birthday, and declared she was ''the luckiest girl in the world''.
Ms Greig’s dream was to “lick chocolate syrup off Usher’s abs… and get mongst his sexiness” she said about her new Sydney job.
For five years before that she had racked up radio experience and listener loyalty in her home city Adelaide.
She is dating North Adelaide footballer Steven Pollock and things became more serious when he packed his bags and moved to Sydney last month.
She has always had a passion for radio, running classes at the Australian Radio School with radio presenter Sean Craig Murphy.
In 2011 Ms Greig was a contestant on The Amazing Race with her younger sister Alana Munday, where she revealed she had run away from home at 15 and her family had in recent years began to heal.
Since Ms Saldanha's death, both pranksters have gone to ground, removing their Twitter accounts and having been ordered by their employer not to answer questions.
They have also been pulled off air, with no indication when - or if - they will return.
Christian's Facebook messaging could well prove prescient.
with Andrew Hornery
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.