Kate Prank Call 'Could End Radio Wind-Ups'

Tom Parmenter, Sky News correspondent
Kate Prank Call 'Could End Radio Wind-Ups'

One of Britain's most notorious DJs has told Sky News the death of a nurse after a prank call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge could mark the end of such radio wind-ups.

Steve Penk built his career winding up unsuspecting members of the public and high profile celebrities.

In 1998, his Capital Radio show famously got put through to then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr Penk now believes the tragic consequences of a stunt that saw a nurse apparently take her own life days after putting a hoax call from two Australian DJs through to the ward where the pregnant duchess was being treated could change the entire radio industry.

He told Sky News: "I think there will be huge fallout. I think it will be, for want of a better phrase, the death of the wind-up phone call.

"Ofcom (media regulator) will wrap it in so much red tape that it will make it almost impossible to get these things on the air, which I think is a shame because they can be entertaining."

Mr Penk has duped hundreds of people through his career at various radio stations.

Often people were set up by friends or relatives who wrote in and suggested victims. Unlike the Australian stunt, permission was then sought from the victim before the calls were broadcast.

Mr Penk now owns The Revolution 962 in Oldham and has cancelled his latest prank show after the hoax call to the hospital treating the duchess.

He feels sympathy for the two DJs who are now being vilified for their role in the stunt.

He added: "You can't predict something like this, I genuinely feel very sorry for them.

"I think it is unfair that at the moment the blame is at their doorstep."


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