MediaWorks, the company that owns Radio Live, has suspended all dividend payments for this financial year.
The company has been under intense scrutiny, after an on-air explosion by Radio Live talkback host Michael Laws sent noxious pollution into the airwaves.
MediaWorks has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the explosion, and of failing to take action to prevent the spread of toxic waste into the political environment.
Last night MediaWorks Chairman Brent Harman promised to place all profits for the financial year into an escrow account. He said the money would be used to compensate people whose way of life and mental wellbeing had been damaged by the toxic Laws spill.
The spill occurred in February this year, when Laws exploded on air, sending large volumes of toxic bile spewing out into the airwaves. The explosion injured the family of a boy who had died in a farm-bike accident. Laws accused the boy’s parents of being no better than child abusers.
MediaWorks says it will do whatever it takes to clean up the mess caused by Laws.
“My company is committed to protecting the environment we live in from toxic speech. We have committed to paying $35,000 to the Fowlie family, who were the initial victims of the disaster,” said Mr Harman.
“We will make further compensation available as and when legitimate claims are made. Let me reassure the people of New Zealand that we will fix this mess.”
But critics say the package does not go far enough, and that Laws has been leaking noxious emissions into the airwaves since long before February. They say that the residue of Laws’ filth has been washing up in sports clubs, blogs and letters to newspapers for a number of years.
So far all attempts by MediaWorks to find a solution to the outpouring have failed. Radio Live staff have been trying desperately to stem the flow of filth escaping from the blowhole that is Laws’ big mouth. However, polluting muck continues to spill from his mouth at the rate of three hours a day.
MediaWorks’ latest plan involves covering Laws with a blanket of taxi drivers and right wing bloggers. The company hopes these people will absorb the hate and intolerance spilling from the problematic orifice and release them out into the political environment in a much less harmful way.
But engineers working on the cleanup say the method is untried.
“The extreme depths of hatred we’re having to work with present unique technical challenges”, said head engineer Darius Desderillo.
“And we’re working with extremely difficult material. This stuff sticks to anything and is hard to get rid of. I can tell you from firsthand experience that it gets into your head and is hard to shift. It just sits there. A bit like all those bludging Maoris.”