UK & World News
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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what do you think?
d and d Phillips
And good riddance.
It is not funny in any situation ,some one had to die to see that.
Tv prank shows are hilarious, but i also got to say that ive often wondered how id react to such pranks.id proberly to okay with it but i can understand some peaple wouldnt.
tv prank shows are mind numbingly boring!!!
Well see here is the thing when Tv prank programs are made they have to then ask for permision from the person that was pranked to now show that footage on tv so realy it is not the same because you get to choose if others see it where as with radio it is sent out live so that person is instantly and publicly made a fool of
This may seem an extreme point of view but.... It could be likened to a form of bullying. Think about it. A victim is selected, then they are subjected to some form of humiliation. I wonder how many people have pretended to see the funny side when they are let in on the joke but have been boiling up inside. I think that it's human nature to laugh at others misfortune, but this event shows how much it can hurt someone.
In this case the nurse was collateral damage. No one had taken her feelings into account.
Fun ends when some one dies
I've no problem with pranks done properly. Fonejacker was very good at it. But at the expense of someones job, in a delicate situation (basically don't prank when a royal is involved), i think oversteps the line.
Fonejacker is class
Don't prank when a royal is involved......who better to prank other than a pm. Admittedly this one was in poor taste but no harm was meant, the royal family are the same as us but worth loads of money and full of pomp and show...not untouchables, well not to any reasonable folk.
The thing is with Fonejacker, is it could be just an ordinary cold call. That's the beauty of it. When you impersonate someone in an attempt to gain information, especially when it involves a royal, someone's job is at risk. Whether it's the one making the call or the one who receives it and gets duped. As for Brand and Ross, they knew full well who they were calling and set out to aggravate him because he wasn't answering the phone.
very bad taste and very very immature behaviour.
How would u like it I dont think u would like most people they can give it but not take it
Well said Darren, there are so many people on this site who have very little humour and think they are above it all.
Some joke mate...................
Darren I can take a joke and have a weird sense of humour.But these things are not funny.how do the people who do make the calls know if the people on the other end of the phone are not ill in some way
Personally I think it would be a good idea to rid the world of detritus like Penk and the two Australian morons ... along with other similarly ignorant entities such as Brand and Woss. Such action would also have a very beneficial effect on the quality of the human gene pool!
Says the person who has just had a public dig at someone over his speech impediment I think you will find his name is Ross not Woss if you are so anti jokes at other peoples expense maybe you should look closer to home
Whose door should it be at other than the "aren't we smart" pranksters
For every action we take there is a reaction: we need to think through what might happen. This tragic death was perhaps impossible to predict but it doesn't take much thought to realise that a hard working and dedicated nurse might come to feel humiliated and distraught. Funny ? Certainly not for her. Referring to the DJs Penk says "I think it is unfair that at the moment the blame is at their doorstep" Well who does he think should get the blame? Presumably they chose to do it and now they have to live with the consequences.
It might be nice to get back to the days when radio stations simply played music and gave out occasional news bulletins.................
I agree the only thing I listen to on radio is football
It would be a massive shame if prank calls were to be outlawed on the back of this. I did prank calls on university radio when I was younger. The best two were calling up Time Computers and asking the if they sold Time Machines...yes... how far back in time can you go in one? And I once spoke to quite to what seemed like half of Cadburys trying to find out where they got their magic chickens from, the ones that lay cream eggs. Both were harmless fun. I would never in a million years have dreamed of calling up a hospital though trying to get information on a patient, no matter how famous they were. The trick is knowing where to draw the line, the two Aussies are muppets for thinking it would be okay and deserve sacking. Its a big shame that Penk feels he has to cancel a hugely entertaining feature from his show. There is the initial anger that people feel when they get duped, but Penk is a master of his craft and would never leave a dupee feeling bitter, because what he does is funny and its apparent he knows what ranks are genuinely funny and a step too far.
Has anyone stopped to think maybe this woman had other reasons to finish her life and this is just a coincidence.....!