Sunday 17 January 2010

Cairns community radio website closed down

In another shocking development of the besieged Cairns community radio station, president Rod Coutts ordered the website be closed down on Friday.

Wayne Hipgrave, who has run a weekly juke box programme on the station for the last year, is shocked by the latest event.

"I'm appalled and disgusted at this and what is going on," Wayne Hipgrave said this morning.

"After I learnt how people were being treated by Coutts and Blaauw, I stood down from presenting my show two weeks ago. I will not go back until this is cleaned up."

The website, which used to contain programme details, committee members information, and the membership form, have all been removed, following scrutiny by a large uprising against the autocratic leadership of Rod Coutts and his co-opted deputy, Pieter Blaauw, who is subject to a police assault complaint against Councillor Diane Forsyth.

The website description below the station's logo reads "community radio for the Cairns community by the Cairns community," which makes a mockery following this latest move to block the community out.

The website has now effectively been closed down, with only a front page now containing a feedback form and a telephone number. Links on the page go to an "access denied" page.

You can still access to the archive pages prior to 2008. The only remaining introduction on the website says...
  • "Cairns FM 89.1 reaches out into the community to provide access for programmes presented by Cairns residents from many different ethnic backgrounds and specialized community groups."

The statement is of course laughable, given the last three month leadership under Rodney Coutts, who has since co-opted supporters of the Arona community back onto the management committee.

The week after the September AGM, the newly-elected committee demanded that they move ahead with a forensic audit, to expose the mis-management and possible fraud over the last nine years. Therefore it's extremely unethical to engage the immediate past president John Fielder on the Coutts-led committee, just weeks after he and his committee were forced to resign.

It will be unlikely that Coutts will wish to proceed with the required forensic audit, and one wonders what he is protecting and hiding from the public, and the six committee members that abandoned him in the last two months.

"I'm shocked and simply can't believe what's going on with the community radio station," Wayne Hipgrave says. "Why this isn't on the front page of the Cairns Post, is simply amazing."

"Taking off the membership form from the website is clearly wrong and is yet another way that they are blocking the communty out," Hipgrave says.

It is believed tha the website, set up under the Arona-controlled committee, is managed on behalf of of Cairns Community Radio by Clemens Vermeulen.

  • A full list of the CairnsBlog coverage is available in the right-hand sidebar.


WhatisitwithMediathesedays said...

Wayne, if it didn't involve a press release of a snake eating, say, a wombat in a bikini with shock horror headlines across the front page and providing potential for bogan txt comments when they link the story to the Courier Snail, then the "journos" at the ComPost couldn't give a rat's arse about local news.

Unknown said...


I have whinged about you a few times on here, and to others i know.. but bringing all this to light has been great work.

Lets hope ACMA get involved and a independent committee put into place

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

This is a "story" that no one is interested in - that's why it isn't in the Cairns Post. NO ONE cares about "community radio", in much the way that NO ONE cares about John MacKenzie and is appallingly bad hairpiece.

It isn't relevant technology anymore.

I don't understand why with so many serious issues in the community, all this ink (or bytes) is being wasted on a non-issue. There must be some personal animosity driving this thing - it isn't logical.

One look at next week's Council agenda has two or three good, community-based stories. Why the radio beat up?

Al said...

You've missed the point again Clifton Ratbag. You may be right that many don't care to listen to 4CCR, but considerable public funding is provided to the station for those who do.
It doesn't matter whether the technology is relevant or not, or if the ratings are high, low or non-existent. The issue here is the unaccountable and possibly fraudulent use of public funding by a very small and unrepresentative group.

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

Yo Al,

Misuse of public funds? It's only $200K. Main Roads pisses that much away in Cairns every day with their stupid decisions and wasteful practices. And it ALL isn't being misused - the station is still obviously on the air.

It just isn't broadcasting anything YOU want to hear. Tough titty. Move along. Nothing to see here.

KFC said...

So what technology is relevant Clifton Canyons person? Where is your evidence that community radio is no longer relevant? Perhaps your mainstream tastes may enjoy the mindless crap that passes for commercial radio in this town or the musical blandness of ABC but I regularly listen to streaming digital community radio online from progressive community stations all over the country. I agree 4CCR is total crap at the moment and certainly does not live up to what is even expected in the station's own constitution and license obligations, but only a fool would discount the value of community radio as a relevant media alternative.

Al said...

It's not 'only' $200K Clifton Ratbag Rule, it's $200K PER ANNUM!

Floppy Ears said...

In the end, if the station carries on like this, it would be easier to just hand back the licence and start again as a TCBL group - to prove you're worthwhile granting a licence to.

Of course a new hot-headed group out for revenge against a whipped up emotional rant or rants by the "leaders of the opposition" is likely to want to kick people out, and make life difficult for them - and then prevent them being part of the station - thus becomig no better then the people thet they try to evict from the management.

The station is obviously in free-fall, volunteers just wanting to present shows and do their best being pestered by both sides of the great divide - causing them to ask why they bother at all - and the people of cairns who have nothing but a 4ZZZ wanna-be station, reaching out to everyone in every minority known to man in the town, with total disregard for the greater cairns community.


T. Ryobea said...

Gee Floppy Ears. Here I am actually happy that 4ZZZ is now streaming on the net. Great alternate radio not found anywhere here in North Qld. Perhaps it's a wannabe radio station in your eyes but it has been around providing great independent radio to Brisbane since 1975, surviving all sorts of political turmoil - probably longer than you've been around. Great bands like the Saints, Go Betweens and the Riptides to name a few have been grateful for its existence in the 'Pig City' days of Brisbane. Might not be your cup of tea but it certainly is mine.