Date: Dec 3rd, 2009 5:03:52 am - Subscribe
Moving on from Harborough FM
To various people who had enquired about why I had left the radio station I was involved with, I had indicated that at some point I would tell the story - not that it is very exciting.
It would appear that media people, radio in this case, are just as motivated by self interest as in any other business even when using the community resource banner as a promotional tool.
From my perspective I moved on because I found a number of people to be dishonest, spiteful and unable to admit to errors of judgement.
I daresay they might say the same about me (and I believe that the initial justification of turning against me was to perpetuate one or several myths), however I am fortunate in that I know that my integrity is valued by other colleagues who have had my support over many more years than the wholehearted 16 months or so I was able to give to my home town radio station.
I am also fortunate in that I have been able to investigate the creation of a different set up elsewhere.
Regardless of whether that proves to be successful or not by other people’s measures it has already enabled me to show that community activities can be inclusive of all - this might create other issues, but hey that’s life!
(Actually, and with the benefit of hindsight, it has all done me a bit of a favour and I have had several much more interesting situations to deal with - those stories will have to wait for another day)
So what was it all about (you might ask)?
To be honest I really have no idea.
I suspect, however, that it was about control and influence.
About having people do as they were told without question.
Probably having intelligent experienced people suggesting that it is important to get facts correct and treat people with respect and consistency proved to be an inconvenience too far.
By not immersing myself 24/7 into the spin doctoring that everything is marvellous all of the time and observing that you earn respect through actions rather than by demanding it, I inevitably was going to end up on a crash course with those who might sell their grandmother to make a quick profit!
Possibly a future vision for local radio I expressed on training courses was not what was wanted.
And it was probably about money too!
OK, I am not perfect, but I have always been prepared to admit that.
If I do wrong I try to put things right.
If I am asked to do something and I say that I will, then it will get done.
If I am asked to provide something that I cannot then I will admit that rather than try to sustain an unsupportable stance.
Unfortunately I can’t say the same of those I had to deal with.
I have been on the receiving end of several unsubstantiated accusations for which I have been given no opportunity to defend my position.
In attempting to do so, and knowing the consequences of doing so, it has been interesting to observe untruths that have been further perpetuated and also the little bits of subsequent pettiness.
Sadly I had realised right from the off that nothing I could say or do would make any difference.
My show, the SRD Rock Radio Show, was removed from the website scheduling lists before I had been told of any decisions, and I was removed from the regular communication circular.
(I was later told independently that in a group meeting other presenters had been informed that I had done things - although no evidence has ever been presented to me.)
It was also interesting to note that that during my efforts to communicate and find an agreeable way forward (a compromise if you like) the story was changing along the way.
In closing the chapter and providing the simple courtesy of writing to confirm the situation from my perspective I have had no response.
I think that spoke volumes and endorsed what I had always believed - it didn’t matter about what was supposed to have happened, it was about sweeping things under the carpet.
I actually feel sorry for them.
My experience has served to reinforce much of the external perception of how the radio station is operated from people I have known for many years who live in the area. Those were perceptions that I had been working hard to try and alleviate through my involvement.
Without wishing to offend any honest second hand car dealers, the way things are run at the “community” radio station have been viewed by inhabitants of the community as little different to what had gone before with a local car dealership.
I have heard the following comments made about the people I tried (unsuccessfully) to reason with -
“What did you expect?
“Once a crook, always a crook”
“Harborough community radio? They’re all from Leicester!”
“It’ll only be about the money!”
Much of that perception may not be fair (for example many of the team are from areas such as Corby or Wellingborough), but I do know that my experience of trying to receive money owed to me was protracted.
I also know that the petty vindictiveness I have experienced has surprised me too.
My involvement was very quickly airbrushed away from the station website. I have already mentioned above the rapid schedule changes.
In identifying this had happened before there had been any engagement with myself, first of all there were denials but then this was obviously seen as irrelevant.
Access to the link below was also removed from the public domain very quickly, as clearly it no longer supported references to the regular schedule.
I had offered much compromise, indeed I was quite happy to step away and make things easy but I had hoped that there would be some genuine acknowledgement of things that may have been misjudged.
That did not happen.
It seemed that once minds were made up that was it.
In recognising that matters had been pre judged and concluded to a predetermined choice with great effort to shut it down swiftly. I chose to have a little sport.
The initial claim that things “would be done properly” very soon turned into frustration when it became obvious that I didn’t believe them.
My request for appropriate evidence of the accusations being made and how this had been communicated also created frustration.
As did my request to understand why they were ignoring the facts that I had made (accepted) suggestions for improvement that they were now saying they wanted to reprimand me for.
In extending the timeframe of the “case” beyond that which they had attempted to close down rapidly, I did offer several suggestions by which this could be achieved.
I wanted to see if those opportunities might be taken.
I decided that even though I could provide sufficient proof to substantiate my claim that money (reimbursement of costs) had been promised to me, I would give them every opportunity to reach agreement without me having to resort to the “Small Claims Court”.
Once again my suggestions of compromise were ignored.
The upshot of this situation is ironic.
In wanting to deal matters too quickly they had managed to box themselves into a corner.
Firstly, they ended up spending significantly more time on things than they had set out to, and secondly, the cost of that time must have been massively disproportionate to both the original amount owed and then even more so than the amount I would have accepted anyway.
By July 2009 (don’t forget this all started in June 2008!), when faced with the County Court over the non payment of money promised (and then denied), the mediating officer reported to me that they “just wanted things over and done with”.
A cheque arrived in the post two days later (with no acknowledgement) and probably they congratulated themselves that they had got off lightly because I did not insist upon full payment.
This was some 12 months after I had offered a compromise agreement with no payment needed to me!
Whether the donation to charity (part of the originally suggested compromise) that they had said they would make was ever paid I will leave to your imagination…………
Where are we now?
As far as I am concerned I had moved on when I realised that I was not dealing with people with integrity - June 11th 2008 - having been summoned to a meeting of which I had no prior knowledge, where I was insulted and accused of things that were not true.
After that date my actions were solely to prove to myself that my judgement was sound (seeing if a genuine complaint would see questioning of independent witnesses to verify events, asking for evidence to support accusations made, offering a compromise agreement etc.) in having come to that conclusion.
Further evidence of this was quite recent.
Somebody asked me if I had noticed that a link in the website photo gallery had been removed.
(This one - harboroughfm.co.uk/gallery/IanFrasermeetsBlazeBayley.htm)
I hadn’t, but it further illustrates the petty nature of those I fortunately do not have to deal with any more (see if you can find it from the “gallery” itself harboroughfm.co.uk/gallery - it would have been May 2008!).
I wonder if (and when) these two pages I have posted links to now will be removed completely rather than just “hidden” as they are currently.
As I have stated before, I wanted a local radio station to be successful.
If I am honest I would like to still be involved.
Having said that, I have never been prepared to stand by and turn a blind eye to things I believe to be wrong or sell my soul for personal gain as a consequence.
Therefore my brief involvement is something that will remain as an enjoyable interlude even if it ended with a sour taste.
As ever, I am happy to discuss any aspect of my commentary with anyone willing to engage in debate.
Just send me an email at email@example.com
I respect your freedom to hold an opinion even if it differs to my own, and thank you to the many people who have affirmed that sometimes it is correct to stand up to autocratic despots
And if anybody is still interested at this point, a lot of grief could have been saved if I had been given a fairly simple apology for the false allegations made…..