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Aussie royal hoax DJ named “best in the land”

By | Published on Thursday 6 June 2013

Michael Christian

One of the Australian radio presenters involved in a hoax linked to the suicide of a London nurse last year, Michael Christian, has been named Top Jock by broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo.

Christian and co-host Mel Greig phoned London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital, which was, at the time, caring for a then recently pregnant Kate Middleton, during their show on the Southern Cross-owned 2Day FM station in Sydney. Pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, they convinced one nurse to connect them to Middleton’s ward, and another into discussing her condition. The former nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, took her own life just days later.

The pair were put on leave shortly after the news broke and their show was eventually replaced in January. Grieg remains off the air, though Christian returned with a new show on Melbourne’s Fox FM in February.

After hearing confirmation this week that he was getting the internally presented award from his employer, Christian said in a statement: “From the start I felt like I had something to prove to myself. That regardless of all that’s happened in the past few months I’m still at the top of my game. So it felt good to see my name at the top of the final leader board”.

However, perhaps understandably, some have condemned the prize, with Australia’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy telling Fairfax Radio: “There were some very serious consequences of what was a prank and to be seen to be awarding people so soon after such an event I think is just in bad taste”.

No charges were pressed against Grieg and Christian, following an inquiry by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service. An inquest into Saldanha’s death is due to begin on 12 Sep.