Edge Radio Station Apologizes After Making Listener Feel ‘The Target of a Cruel Joke’ | 1 NEWS
A listener for The Edge radio station says she felt “like the butt of a cruel joke” after being caught up with two men who were not who they claimed to be.
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The men she had been assigned to weren’t who they claimed to be. Source: 1 NEWS
Emily *, a 25-year-old teacher, says she signed up for The Edge’s “The Masked Single” promotion last month in hopes of finding a real relationship.
“They promoted it as something where you would go on dates, but it was personality based, which appealed to me. I wanted to find something real and lasting; that was the point of participating, ”she says.
She says she went to The Edge’s Auckland studio several times to participate in the promotion for a week and a half in April.
The segment was moderated by The Edge Breakfast hosts Dom Harvey, Meg Mansell and Clinton Randall.
She wore a mask, as were the three contestants who she said were listeners who had signed up to date her after her introductory segment, where she spoke to listeners about herself.
“I have been fairly open and honest about my past relationship situations and experiences. I was pretty open and honest about who I was. I arrived with real good intentions.
Over the course of the week and a half, she was introduced to the three masked men, including “ Ryan ” who told her he was a 21-year-old AUT student and “ Jeremy ” who said he was a 27-year-old builder. .
“I just love being outside and working with my hands and watching what you’re doing… like seeing it happening in front of you is really rewarding,” ‘Jeremy’ told him of his career in construction.
Emily said that while she wasn’t impressed with ‘Ryan’, she was excited to get to know ‘Jeremy’, but it wasn’t until the competition was over that she discovered that the two men were using false names and identities.
“I only had two candidates left to choose from. I eliminated one and they went on a musical break. I was having a friendly chat with the eliminated guy. Coz [sic] we both studied communications. I was like “Hey, what’s your middle finger?” and he was like, ‘Oh actually, I don’t study communications. I work for Mediaworks… It was a shock, I had no idea he was working for Mediaworks before this conversation. “
At this point, Emily says she still believed “Jeremy” was who he said he was, because no one had told her otherwise. The Edge Breakfast listeners weren’t the wisest either.
“They made a big revelation with the guy I picked. It was cool and we took a picture together. He took me out of the building and there was nothing to say he was working for Mediaworks at the time, I thought he was a builder ”.
She says she shared other personal information with “Jeremy”.
“On air with the final date, they asked me why my last relationship ended… out of respect for my ex-partner, I didn’t want to share this with the whole nation. Off the air, I was very happy to discuss it. I discussed it with “Jeremy”. I was open and honest about it; it was quite a personal and stimulating story. “
She says hours later she got a call from a producer on The Edge telling her that “ Jeremy ” wasn’t who he said he was either.
‘Emily’ participates in the ‘The Masked Single’ promo. Source: provided
“[He said] “I have to admit… the guy you picked ‘Jeremy’… he’s not a builder. He works for Mediaworks as an intern. I spent a few hours thinking I had met this person excited about it. It just wasn’t real.
Emily says she felt “disappointed, used and thrown away”.
“I felt like the butt of a cruel joke… the fact that they were so willing to use me for a show and lie to me shows very little respect for women in terms of time, energy and dignity.”
Media commentator Gavin Ellis says that while promotional stunts are common in commercial radio, it looks like it has crossed a line.
“I think it ranges from amusement to deception when it uses people without their knowledge and places them in a position where they could reveal personal information and where they will be faced with acute embarrassment as a result.”
“This raises two very fundamental questions: one is informed consent. Did the young woman know what the real purpose of the program was and did she know the real identities of those involved?
“Did she know that the two would have consented to participate? It seems she didn’t know either. There is also a separate problem with the subterfuge, that of saying who you are not and using a false identity.”
The incident comes amid an independent cultural review at Mediaworks, sparked by allegations of assault, harassment and intimidation that have surfaced on the ‘Beneath the Glass Ceiling NZ’ Instagram page.
1 NEWS spoke to current and former employees about their experiences this week.
Former employee Katie * says she has long been concerned about how Mediaworks is handling its on-air promotions.
“Much of what happened on air was surrounded by embarrassing women, sexualization of women, and disgusting pranks and jokes,” she says.
“The whole challenge was to be more outrageous – to do the next big thing. Do you receive a broadcast complaint? Great, that was literally a pat on the back for a broadcast complaint. It was a successful radio promotion.
Radio Broadcasters Association CEO Jana Rangooni says she doesn’t think it’s common for stations to view BSA complaints as a “ badge of honor. ”
“When I first returned to New Zealand about 20 years ago, there was a bit of that around some specific hosts, but that’s not the attitude of most of the top executives with whom I treat. I think most people focus on growing and engaging with audiences, not turning them off.
“There are times when a radio station makes a call or a ‘prank’ where part of the value of the entertainment lies in some form of deception, although usually there is a ‘reveal’ at some point. given that makes it clear.
“I wouldn’t say it’s okay to deceive a listener in the context of a promotion. In terms of strong relationships with the public and clients, deception is usually not a hallmark of a good. relationship.”
Mediaworks told 1 NEWS that it does not celebrate complaints and that the way the “ The Masked Single ” promotion was run was flawed.
“While we had the best of intentions when we decided to run this promotion, we recognize that the decision to launch it, because we ended up doing it, was not the right decision. We apologized to the person involved, ”said a spokesperson.
“Our standards committee has received a complaint about this and is in the process of responding in accordance with BSA processes.”
Mediaworks claims hosts Dom Harvey, Meg Mansell and Clinton Randell did not know the candidates were interns.
“It was organized by the producers,” said the spokesperson.
“We apologized and revised our practices accordingly.”
Do you know more about this story? Send a confidential email to our reporter Kristin Hall at [email protected]