TRIPLE M muted talkback radio guru Ray Hadley in Orange and a stack of other regional areas. It only made him louder.
Listeners in regional parts of Australia were cut off from listening to him this morning, but Hadley used his 2GB radio show - which is broadcast to those areas via Triple M's regional network - to cry foul of the attempt to "censor" him..
He called Triple M out for "censoring" him "to protect an advertiser".
The trouble began when Hadley started talking about a court story out of Orange he had "taken in interest in this week and last week" concerning an employee of West Orange Motors.
The dealership is one of Triple M's big advertisers in Orange, Hadley says.
When he raised the story, the station cut to an ad break, followed by a George Michael song.
Mystified listeners wondered where Hadley had gone. It's understood callers to the station were told Hadley's show was off air due to a "technical problem".
The problem was, if they tuned in online he was loud and clear - still broadcasting.
Yesterday morning, a furious Hadley called Triple M out, retelling the story of the truck driver whose licence had been suspended after a road incident which resulted in the death of a 72-year-old man. The driver, an employee of the car dealership, is charged with dangerous driving causing death and negligent driving causing death.
"My interest was sparked when last week a magistrate overturned a police decision to suspend his licence," Hadley told his listeners.
"The magistrate based this decision on the basis of a letter from his employer saying that his licence was essential to his work ... I found that intriguing and surprising."
Hadley went on to berate Triple M for cutting his show as he spoke about the case.
"I just want to make some things clear to my listeners ... What I do here is represent the interests of my listeners," he began.
"I don't like being stood over by radio management in provincial stations. If you have a problem with advertisers, sort it out but don't try and censor me.
"I don't care if West Orange Motors are an advertiser with Triple M in Orange. My comments are my comments and I'll continue to comment on the matter as it makes its way through the courts.
"I won't tolerate this sort of nonsense. We don't live in North Korea."
About half an hour later, Hadley was back on air.
This morning, Hadley backed up on air, calling Triple M management for "lying" about the reason his commentary was dumped whenever he brings up the case. "This is unprofessional, it's petulant and it's nonsense," he said.
Hadley said suggestions he was being cut off because the matter was before the courts are "lies".
"If they're going to ... tell fibs by instructing the poor switch girl to lie, then we have a problem," he said on air.
"As long as we don't report anything but the facts as we know them, as in the fact sheets from the New South Wales police, we're not breaking the law. It's not sub judice to talk about a court case.
"It's nothing to do with a court case. It's about an advertiser who spends a lot of money and all of a sudden they are starting to worry about whether that advertiser will continue to spend money because of my comments about them."
He also observed "we are talking about it because it's a story" and "the silly part is that by doing what they are doing, they are bringing more attention to what we are talking about than if they just let me have my say and move on."
He also gave listeners details of how to listen online if the dump button is hit again.
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