Saturday 23 January 2010

Saturday SoapBlog: Howard Thomas - In the interests of the station, stand down

Howard Thomas is CEO of AussieLogos (also Africa & America Logos), a former Technical Director at Immedia UK, and was the manager Alice Sountech, the studio builders of both Virgin and Talk Radio in the UK, and sponsorship director of GWR radio, a media production company.

Thomas consulted for DMG Radio in the sale of HOT FM brands across Australia and associated AM stations.
Howard has lived in Cairns for 6 years and will become a citizen of Australia on Australia Day.

He has taken an interest in the kerfuffle and drama at Cairns Community Radio. No money changed hands over today's feature ;-)


Dear Mr Coutts and Mr Blaauw,

I would first like to confirm to you, that I know neither both of you, nor Michael Moore. I am not a member or associated with Cairns Community Radio or any of its members in any way.

I have been watching this story unfold on CairnsBlog and in the Cairns Post and obviously without going into the history of the previous committee, I know that as the current president and vice president, you have duties to the community.

These are I feel as follows and raises many questions to me...

  1. I feel regardless of the true nature of events that occurred at the meeting two week ago that you need to realise that whatever actions you took be they violent or non violent that you have both brought the station into complete disrepute. Obviously from your apologetic emails sent you realise you have upset two prominent Councillors and this alone surely brings disrepute upon yourselves and the station itself. In the interests of the station do you not think that you have an honourable duty to stand down now?

  2. My understanding is that the idea of a community based Radio station is to involve everyone across many sections of the Community for the furtherment and free flow of information within our Cairns community without any commercial prejudice and to assist in unlocking broadcast talent of the future-not just people of your liking and as you are both the leaders of the station is it not your role to ensure harmonious relations between all volunteers . It would appear that you are both hopelessly and haplessly doing this judging by the number of negative comments left online about your management?

  3. Are your duties to ensure that a regular and varied output goes to air? Judging by the number of repeats and silent parts of the day can you honestly say that you are truly fulfilling your duties?

  4. Is it not the case that another part of your duties is for you have to ensure the Transmission signal is audible within the boundaries set by the relevant authorities. Have you had the signal checked recently? –does it comply with the legal standards. As you are in dispute with the current contracted technical manager. Are you covering the engineering needs of the station properly and legally?

  5. Correct me if I am wrong but do you mean that you have to ensure that correct and proper accounting practices are in place. What have you done since taking office in this direction?

  6. Am I correct in saying that your jobs should not be to misuse public monies on Lawyers in any personal disputes. If you are charged with any offences arising from last week’s meeting then you should use your own monies in any legal defence you take. I would imagine your members would want this assurance as well?

  7. Rumours abound that one of you intends to seek a personal $50,000+ pa. paid position-what can possibly justify this salary-when money so obviously needs to spent in other areas of professional accounting and studio output if what we read is correct?

I do not wish either of you any harm but it seems obvious to me that you are both somewhat out of your depth in your running the station and as such shouldn’t you both step aside in the interest of the station and your own future reputations and dignity?

I very much doubt i will receive any reply to this message. But I would, as part of the small amount of listeners to the station, hope that you will consider what I have written as a fair reflection of what just one member of the public thinks.

It is important that we have a very strong Community radio station at a time when all media are converging/merging or contracting more so than ever before.


If other countries are anything to go by Commercial radio is headed towards convergence and maximising share holder profit.. What does that mean- it means that you get centrally generated programming by big names presenters from the main capital cities (despite the fact that the licence award states that they should have all programming generated at a local level) The stations get away with this change in output by stating market conditions are against them so they end up by paying one big name to present the lunchtime show across its network instead of 20 Mackers or Potssy’s etc. Noticed the creep of networked Jono onto your commercial dial?

If this trend continues, the government have two choices to offer the population a choice of local Radio listening:

Increase funding to ABC-would not be popular with commercial networks and will be politically blocked; or more likely, increase funding to Community stations and back it up with a great community website. Your current site still shows the old committe still so please don’t try and defend it. [Website since closed down]

I hope you take this on board and think about your own short-comings in this area, we all are fallible, and consider standing aside.

If a paid position is to be created should it not go to someone with relevant experience. Looking at the current site you have a combined experience at CCR of 2.5 years between you. Maybe that fact is hopelessly out of date as well. Even so hardly the grounding to run something way beyond you.

  • If you would like to get on the CairnsBlog SoapBlog, drop me an email telling me the story you need to get off your chest. I accept almost anything, honestly.


Rod Coutts, president 4CCR said...

Dear Mr. Thomas,

Your comments are duly noted.

I will be bringing to the attention, over the next few days, your comments to the rest of the Management Committee.

A responce therefore to your e-mail letter will be forthcoming.

Rod Coutts
Cairns Communty Broadcasters Inc.

Blind Freddy said...

There will be a lot of other people as well as Mr Thomas who will be eagerly awaiting your "responce" Mr Coutts. I am sure some of them will be 4CCR members as well as concerned community members. Let's hope you show some common sense and do the right thing.

Smithfield Sam said...

I note that this Mr. Thomas, who claims no affiliation of bias, then goes on to pummel station management for things he didn't witness and don't know are true. Indeed, there is a vast difference in reporting of these issues between this blog and the Cairns Post. Differences that have yet to be explained.

Anyone acting in official capacity has the right to have their organisation defend them, including lawyers, if necessary.

And your understanding of the current state of radio is trivial - community "broadcast" radio is a dead letter, replaced by internet radio around the world. Australia's massive data charges for internet access have meant we have dead community radio and no rational replacement. Thank KRudd for this situation.

CairnsBlog said...

You are bang on Smithild Sam. There is a "vast difference in reporting of these issues between this blog and the Cairns Post."

Very observant of you.

Differences, as you say, that "have yet to be explained."

Suggest you write to the Cairns Post and ask why they haven't reported more about this.

You could start by emailing the reporter Brad Ryan

....Or you may care to highlight the "vast difference" you are referring to, instead of making an empty claim?


Unknown said...

Smithfield Sam says "Anyone acting in official capacity has the right to have their organisation defend them, including lawyers, if necessary."

Regrettably, while I was still the elected Secretary of Cairns Community Broadcasters, and my wife was a Committee member, the legal resources of the station were used against us. We had to pay hundreds of dollars for private legal advice while the President, Rodney Coutts, used station funds to pursue a malicious and unwarranted campaign against us.

Correspondence prepared by the station's solicitor included false information provided by Mr Coutts. I can document this if you would care to send me your e-mail address via the blog.

The station's solicitor was involved in action against one other member and possibly more.

We wonder how much of the membership's funds have been used for this purpose.

Donn Corcoran

Raintrees Snopper Pooper said...

Hey Mr Donn, what about all the money Coutts and Blaauw are stealing every day from the community radio's petty cash tin for their lunch???

You can see evidence on that video when Bryan went in the other day. Look for the lunch bags from Brumbys, Healthy Bite and Coffee Break at Raintrees.

Unknown said...

Smithfield Sam ( I do wish people would just say who they are on here..what have you got to hide SS that you cannot say whom you are? )How could I possibly have any bias..I have never met Michael Moore and know nobody at the radio station..I don't even shop at Raintrees and certainly have never set foot inside the station!

One of my points was based upon the fact that a complaint has been made to the Police by a Community representative (in this case a Councillor-so I guess that would lend some credibility to the complaint plus it was witnessed by several members of the public present-I was not there nor have I attempted to join or attend a meeting) and in normal circumstances when one holds a public position, the right thing to do is stand down until the investigation is complete-its called the honourable thing to do. Added to that many areas of financial irregularities have been raised-not against the current President and Vice but the former Board.

The present Chairman/President I understand had stated upon taking office that he would look into this financial abyss and yet he has not and has now also stated that the records are unavailable!! So there are a couple of reasons for starters..need I go on as to why they should stand aside?

Anyway to answer your other point and I was not really sure what your point is apart from yes I would actually like to see what the point of view of the current station management is & I guess like most others watching this unfold..seeing as they have closed meetings that even members cannot get into nobody really knows what is going on...

Internet radio is not the answer in any way shape or form SS. Having myself founded the worlds first live dedicated Internet radio station back in 1999 and made it out of the other side of Dot Com crash in London (as a non Internet station) ..I can tell you Internet radio's only use is as a bolt on for out of transmission area listeners to an existing FM signal (or Digital output* see future post by Cairns blog)..Please explain to me SS how anyone in Toowoomba or Timbuktu would be remotely interested in tuning into CCR on the Net unless say they have lived here once and were pining for a bit of Smoothy Sams gay classical music hour-because anything goes I hear on Community radio?

Your point about bandwidth is irrelevant really.. You could listen to a 128Kbps stream of net radio & it depends on the bitrate the output is streamed at for e.g. 128 kilobits per second (very passable sound and used by most Internet streamed stations) would be close to a megabyte per minute .960. Per hour 56.25mb. @ 96kilobit rate for an hour would be 42.19mb. So in the ideal world to listen regularly via the NET you need a 10Gb+ pm account. I agree that bandwidth is expensive here but that’s not just Kevin Rudd’s fault is it? Or maybe everything is all his fault in your world- I dunno??

Most internet radio usage around the world for your information is in station specific genre not available in that area or from people tuning into their favourite station from the town they used to live in thus it will NEVER be the mainstream of listening EVER.. Thus my blend is KFOG ( World Class Rock) a station based out of San Francisco.

However much more pertinent to all this is Digital Radio(I have outlined a plan for Digital to Mike for open discussion and he at some stage i hope will present it on the Cairns Blog.