Hadley suspension row: the show's not over until Singo sings
No comment … John Singleton and Ray Hadley. Photo: Peter Rae, Tim Elliot
SYDNEY'S 2GB radio station is in crisis after a clash between morning show star Ray Hadley and the network's managing director which has embroiled the company's biggest shareholder, John Singleton.
Sources told Fairfax Media that Macquarie Radio Network's managing director, Rob Loewenthal, had on Tuesday suspended Hadley for the rest of this week for allegedly verbally abusing Richard Palmer, a young digital content manager who had been hired last October to improve 2GB's website.
You've got a majority shareholder who makes it very hard for experienced management to make a call, when the bloke who owns all the shares intervenes.
But Hadley, unhappy with his suspension, phoned his friend John Singleton, sources said.
Singleton, the majority owner of Macquarie Radio, decided that Hadley would remain on air, overruling his managing director.
Embarrassingly, Loewenthal had already allowed an email to be sent to staff on Tuesday telling them Hadley would not appear on his show until the following Monday.
The alleged bullying is understood to have happened last Thursday morning while the staff of The Ray Hadley Morning Show were preparing for the day's program. Hadley summoned Palmer into his office and verbally abused him in front of his staff, accusing him of not uploading a podcast quickly enough, sources said.
Hadley was angry because ''[Palmer] was running the IT and he suggested that Ray's staff could do more of the production work, more uploading. They disagreed. Ray backed his staff''.
"[Hadley] dragged this bloke in and humiliated him'', one source, who had been briefed on the matter, said. Palmer was "visibly upset, crying".
Palmer formally complained to Loewenthal, who took the unusually serious step of suspending the network's star presenter, before Singleton intervened.
Neither Hadley nor Singleton returned calls on Wednesday. The Macquarie Radio chairman, Russell Tate, declined to comment, as did Loewenthal. Palmer would not comment.
A source familiar with the situation said: ''You've got a majority shareholder who makes it very hard for experienced management to make a call, when the bloke who owns all the shares intervenes.''
This week is not the first time Hadley has been accused of displaying an excessive temper.
Last October he denied allegations that he or his police officer son assaulted a 17-year-old boy at a party held at their north-western Sydney home. Hadley admitted to his listeners that he did have to ''escort'' the drunken 17-year-old off his property but at no time was the boy attacked by anyone.
At the same time Hadley was being disciplined for alleged bullying in Sydney, the Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, was announcing new measures aimed at clamping down on workplace bullying, including a mechanism that would allow victims to seek help from the Fair Work Commission.