You will probably have seen an article in today’s Herts Ad:
I hope it goes without saying that the right way to raise internal volunteering concerns is to talk to Leona or one of our Directors and not to approach local press. None of Danny’s concerns were raised with us before the Herts Ad was approached. I think that’s a shame as perhaps all of this could have been avoided.
It is unfortunate that this damaging article has appeared. There is no doubt it will have lowered our standing with listeners, advertisers and influencers. Leona will be following up with Danny and Alex to understand the reasons for their concerns and actions. In the meantime, we have taken the decision to suspend Danny’s volunteering with us. We will also be contacting key local businesses and organisations to address any concerns they might have.
Let me be clear; we won’t always get everything right, but airing your negative views about the station in the local newspaper is contrary to our volunteer policy. Talk to us…if we can’t satisfy your concerns, you might conclude this isn’t the right place for you. We hope not, but we’re volunteers so we have free choice.
As far as Drivetime is concerned, we will need to provide cover as Danny has made it clear that he has withdrawn his voluntary effort. If you have ideas or can help, let Andy or Leona know. It won’t be easy or quick to get something in place. Losing the current Drivetime is a shame because it had masses of community content within it, supported local music, local charities and people and has recently highlighted issues relating to mental health. All what I would call community content.
We have not commented to the Herts Ad because we think the right way to have conversations about volunteer concerns is face to face, not in the local paper. I hope you understand that it is also not appropriate to air individual discussions with everyone. I do understand that not putting our case forward publicly can seem frustrating.
We are taking a more commercial approach, yes, and we make no apology for that because to sustain what we do, we need money. But we simply don’t accept that we are doing less for our community. I was very proud of our last annual report highlighting our community activity, and I’m proud of what we do here. Of course, we can always do more.
As far as faith programming is concerned, we think it is important, and we want to cover all faiths. We attempted to find ways in which Elspeth’s Afternoon could be expanded to cover all faiths, but this proved not to be possible. We also have to be very mindful of the strict provisions of the broadcast code relating to religious output and needed to modify output to avoid any possibility of breaching our licence conditions.
Finally, Leona and I would be very happy to hear from you. If you feel uncomfortable talking to one of us, please approach any of our Directors (Clive Glover, Phil Richards, Aline Bavister, or Mandy McNeil).