HotFM in hot water after prank backfires

Local radio station HOTFM913 has dropped its deejays and its morning radio segment The Married Men for airing inappropriate content.

The termination came as a result of a prank call last Thursday morning in the "Kena Pluck" segment.

SPH Unionworks, owners of the station said in a statement that the move was necessary because of a breach in contract.

The segment has since been replaced with Hot FM's Hot Breakfast show.

A spokesperson from SPH also told Marketing that the situation has since been explained to advertisers and "majority of the campaigns ran as planned". The spokesperson declined to name advertisers that dropped off for "competitive reasons."

He also added that most of the campaigns for the station were not solely for the morning drive time show.

When asked how the station hopes to compensate advertisers, the spokesperson said SPH UnionWorks was committed to delivering on its commitments.

"As such, they (advertisers) understand that we will do our best to ensure their brands' frequency and presence across our stations."

On Thursday morning, one of the deejays called a woman claiming to be an officer from an embassy who was doing a background check on her and asked if she hit children.

He then went ahead to advise her to only "hit children from poor families as they could not afford lawyers" as opposed to "expat kids from rich families who could afford lawyers."

The Married Men team is made up of three on-air personalities, Rod Monteiro, Andre Hoeden and Jillian Lim, along with two producers. The team has been with SPH Unionworks since 2007.

Listeners react

The news came as a shock to many fans of the programme, with many hoping this was just another prank pulled by the show. On the other hand some listeners have commented that they would stop listening to the station completely.

Reacting to the mixed yet extreme reaction by the public, the spokesperson said in such a situation, "there will always be divided views" and the station hopes to "continue to engage listeners with relevant music and information."

Jamie Meldrum, senior programme director at SPH UnionWorks, said in a statement: "As much as it pains us to take this action after having worked with them for so many years, the segment that was aired was indefensible and we had to take the matter seriously. We apologise to listeners who were offended by it."