Thursday 4 February 2010

Cairns community presenter Col Johnson vents radio rage

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT: Veteran Cairns community radio presenter, Col Johnson (left), with president, Rod Coutts, posing for an exclusive CairnsBlog photo in October 2009

Just 24 hours after the launch of the Friends of Cairns Community Radio, one of the station's longest-serving and remaining on-air presenters, fired off an angry rant about the campaign to open dialogue and have transparency with the community.
"You are nothing more than a liar, a cheat and a fraud," Cairns community radio 89.1FM Kaleidoscope presenter Col Johnson writes, in an open letter to CairnsBlog, about the on-going campaign to expose the fraudulent and secret goings-on at the community radio station.
It's a script right out of the Freebody Guide to Good Christian Behaviour.
"Your whole campaign is a tissue of shit stirring because that's what you are - full of shit," Johnson says.
Johnson has recently set up private meetings with Councillor Diane Forsyth and the chair of the newly-formed Friends of Cairns Community Radio, Ross Parisi, who is also a current member of the community radio association. It is his attempt to play the game of appearing to be on both sides of the community radio debacle. His actions are in direct conflict with Coutts' plan to not discuss anything outside of the committee.
The community station is in tatters, with total internal chaos since last September, following 15 presenters who have left in the last three months, after advising Rod Coutts they would not work under his management. There have also been many membership terminations and resignations, along with six members of the elected committee resigning within weeks of the AGM, leaving it without a legal quorum. They have continued to flout dispute resolution procedures, even after a directive from the media communications watchdog, ACMA.
Cairns Community Radio is also subject to Federal intervention by Jim Turnour MP and a second ACMA investigation, directly related to Rod Coutts' management activities since the AGM on September 28th last year.

Just prior to Christmas I engaged in a long two-hour conversation with Col Johnson at the Edgehill Cafe. During it he explained what he saw as the serious ongoing problems and his total distrust of vice president Pieter Blaauw and Rod Coutts.

"Coutts told me specifically not to meet or talk with you Michael," Johnson said at the time. "However it's better for me to be on the 'inside' where I can have the most impact," he says. "He has to go," Johnson said in reference to Rod Coutts.

The latest email dialogue from the long-time on-air presenter is in contradiction of Coutts' famous often-quoted dialogue that members of the community radio should not bring the organisation into disrepute.
Johnson has had a falling out with Coutts over recent months, when he wasn't allowed to be on the management committee, even though he was a member of the interim committee. Coutts used information about Johnson's personal affairs, as a reason to bar him from the committee. Coutts also undermined Johnson's long service to the station and put in the less-experienced and disliked, Pieter Blaauw, to head the programming sub-committee, much to Johnson's disgust.
Johnson also wanted a number of things printed in the station's December newsletter, however he was very angry when they were all discarded by Beverly Blaauw.
Coutts likes to surround himself in "yes-people" who will not challenge or question his autocratic decisions. Johnson often bought up ideas to publicise the station, but was shut down.
Col Johnson also helped Rod Coutts distribute 'meeting cancelled' posters on the 20th January, to support his actions keeping the community out from scrutinising his activities, including the use of the station's money.
In his latest angry email to CairnsBlog, Col Johnson went on to draw an odd and confused analogy of George Orwell.
"What you want is Animal Farm. We lose the farmer but end up with the pigs. A typical example as the product of your deliberate lies is chicken man ala 'KFC' and the coward 'Uncle sam' threatening me with dismissal," an enraged Col Johnson wrote to CairnsBlog.
"Where's the cooperative spirit of the so call friends of FM 89.1 there? For the umpteemth [sic] time, I am non-aligned but the moore [sic] I see of your crowd, the moore [sic] even Pieter Blaauw looks decent," Johnson says.
"Nowe [sic] FUCK OFF and sulk in your little corner," he writes.
"A copy of this missive will be on everybody's email by tomorrow morning, including your group so they can see you in light of what you are - a nobody," Johnson says.
It sure will Col.


cam said...

this fella rod coutts looks a wee bit similar to my dad and my dad's a top bloke so before any of you loy go kicking some old man in the shins because you think it's this idiot coutts, just check first you've got the right fella.

earlville earl said...

i hope col ws not using radio station equipment or email/internet service to send the email you are referring to.

Nowe moore Confused said...


Are you really a "Christ nobody pig that sulks in a little corner" and if so, what is that? If I tune into 89.1 will they explain?

Michael Hyams, former presenter 4CCR (current member) said...

So, at last the owner of the suave and sophisticated radio voice of MrJohnson has
finally nailed his colours to Mr.Coutts wobbly mast after months of
trying to be all things to all men.

He demeans himself by the use of
gutter language, not to mention his spelling (!) 0/10, and his complete
misreading of George Orwell.

I am forced to the conclusion that he
must have been very "tired and emotional: (to use a parliamentary
expression) when he wrote his pathetic diatribe.

It will come back to haunt him soon, and I for one will have no wish to share a microphone with him. He is going to need more than a winged keel if he seeks to maintain his links with real Community Radio in Cairns.

By the way, if you want some real meaty facts, ask about how much
M/s. Mimilelle Alvaro (the station's treasurer) is being paid. It would be a good starting point for him to
understand what is going on behind his back.

Chris Forsberg said...

Whoah-up Col Johnson, as a frequent listener to 89.1 FM, have found your musical contributions to be AOK - and you would have to be one of the station's most polished

I have no knowledge of, or interest in, whatever might have gone-down in any previous discussions you may have had with Mike Moore - or indeed any of the former station members who have subsequently been denied membership renewals. Or prospective members who sought to join, but had their applications rejected.

However, the use of foul language and nasty slurs (as quoted today on the blog) would appear to confirm
the point that the newly formed 'Friends of 4CCR' are seeking to make: that the station is incapable and/or unwilling to recognise that it's supposed to serve
the entire community - not just a select few who believe that any criticism of their conduct deserves a spray of a few mis-chosen four letter words.

Candidly, I would have thought that Col Johnson was well-above this kind of language - it's disappointing
to say the least that he should stoop so low. His angry rant serves no purpose - but tends to confirm the need for a serious shake-up at the station.

James Appleby said...

How many more reasons do we all need to switch off Cairns Crappy Radio?

What a tossa johnson is. True colours alright Mr Hyams.

He is a awful individual to carry on like that as a "public" person and supported the rort that this guy Coutts is up too. I will be glad to see Johnson and HIS animal farm thrown out.

Paul Taylor, Maryborough said...

Well said Chris Forsberg.

Time for a total spring clean - including Johnson's potty mouth

Al said...

Great analogy, and great photo of two pigs. Presumably Blaauw is feeding at the trough out back.

Donn Corcoran said...

Col, I have seen the exchanges between you and Michael Moore, including the reference to members of Friends of Cairns Community Radio as 'PIGS'. Since Judi and I are members, I assume you are using this epithet against us as well.

You also say of Michael Moore: "You are nothing more than a liar, a cheat and a fraud." I am surprised that you have written this because, as you point out, defamation is an offence, and this is hardly the 'play the man, not the ball' approach you have proclaimed in the past.

But supposing that you genuinely believe Michael to be a 'liar, cheat and fraud' let's have the facts. What lies have appeared on the blog? There have been several previous allegations of lies but no-one seems to be able to actually identify one. Who has Michael cheated or defrauded?

You say "We lose the farmer but end up with the pigs. A typical example as the product of your deliberate lies is chicken man ala 'KFC' and the coward 'Uncle sam' threatening me with dismissal." This may be perceived as a threat, although no-one actually used the 'dismissal' word, but is not a lie.

Col, are you characterising all members of Friends of Community Radio, which include two Councillors and a number of former members of FM 89.1 as pigs?

You pride yourself on not being a quitter, and you wrote to Judi on 18 October saying "You are well (aware) of my views on quitters and I think we are better off once they have left. My trouble is I'm likely to tell them as I do not pretend to be supportive." How is it that the previous day you also wrote to Helen Jarroe to ask her to persuade Judi to resign?

You also said "I'm not interested in who is right or wrong". Are you really not interested in right or wrong? What sort of a morality is that?

You think that the station is better off without 'quitters'. Does this mean you agree that the station is better off without the following presenters:

Greg Dwyer
Helen Jarroe
Michael Hyams
David Rentz
Barbara Foster
Wayne Hipgrave
Mark Jennings

Who are the high-quality presenters taking their places? Are you proud of the station's output? What happened to the blues program you started?

You also said elsewhere (23 November to Michael Moore) "There are those of us who are not quitters and we are making slow headway in the teeth of strong opposition".

Where is the headway? It seems to me, and to many others, that the whole station is going backwards. Where is the transparency? Have you been shown the minutes of the latest management meetings? I am sure they would be interesting reading....

Donn Corcoran said...

...Part 2....

Is the station making headway when so many Committee members and presenters resigned (Wayne Hipgrave and Mark Jennings the latest to go) and why have five people had their memberships terminated or threatened with termination?

Is the station making headway when one ACMA report against the station is still unresolved and a second inquiry is underway. Rod Coutts claims he has been working on the first ACMA report since September when in fact I did the work and would have had it completed if I was not forced to resign. The fact that ACMA has upheld the appeal suggests that no further work was done.

Is the station making headway when you have two Councillors and a former Councillor, along with former leaders of the station, criticising its performance and being reported on TV, radio and in the Cairns Post and Sunday Mail?

Is the station making technical headway without Shane Wilson?

Is it a happy place to work in? Do you enjoy being there? Is it better now than in October? How much training is being done?

Is the station making headway when it is reported that it is making salary payments to its own treasurer, in spite of Rod Coutts giving an undertaking to the AGM that all Committee work was voluntary? Remember the question asked on that topic by Erli Bowen?

Is the station making headway when 14 membership applications are received and only two are accepted, in spite of ACMA's ruling on open membership?

Are you aware that, in addition to the other allegations made against Judi, in which you profess to have no interest, Rod Coutts also falsely accused her, in comments to both Shane Wilson and Michael Hyams, of misappropriating money? How would you feel if that happened to you? Yet you seem happy for her to 'quit' and suffer further abuse while you to continue to work hand in glove with him. Is this a principled approach?

Col, you protest that you are not aligned. But just by remaining there as a general presenter (ethnic presenters are in a different position as their work provides financial support for the station) you are aligned, like it or not.

Christine O'Brien, Bayview said...

I don't know you Mr Corcoran, but have been watching this horrid story unfold on cairnsblog over the last few weeks and then the cairns post and also the sunday mail.

I only moved here 3 years ago with my family from southern NSW. We have always loved getting involved in community programmes and sports etc and when I first heard about the problems at the community radio, I thought it would be good to offer help. However I am very much disturbed about the way in which almost all the senior officers of the current organisation are angry and very not community minded.

I heard the so-called president on the ABC far nth radio this evening and he was far from convincing in not explaining why he refused membership to a great number of members.

I will get involved and will be watching cairnsblog for when the coutts-committee gets sacked either by a special general meeting or by ACMA.

I can't wait as he has no idea how to be respectful or inclusive, as does this person call Johnson.

KFC said...

Mr Colin Johnson, why do your silly, childish slanderish antics not surprise me. Still no different than when I had to sit in the 4CCR board meetings in the late eighties and listen to the same tripe. By the way, which part of what I have ever written are lies? I know more about you and this station's history than most other people currently involved in the station. What I don't know so much about is the dirty dark history of community radio in Cairns for the past decade, but I'm sure you know more about that than I would. And no, I'm not a member of the friends of 4CCR although I do support their aim and certainly do not wish to see 4CCR become an exclusive little club as you and some of your cohorts tried to do in the earlier days of the station. Oh and I prefer to remain anonymous as (a) this is a blog, (b) I have a real job and (c) I don't want to put my anger management therapy and medication to the test dealing with silly people such as yourself. 4CCR got along famously in your station hiatus in the eighties and early nineties and after your recent outburst I'm sure it could benefit from your disappearance right now.

Unknown said...

The story is pretty horrid, Ms O'Brien, but the positive side is that when people like you choose to get involved, a good community-based radio station can result. There are plenty of examples around Australia of community stations with popular support, good
funding and a wide range of programs, including sport. With commercial radio becoming increasingly centralised, the space for community radio is actually increasing.

Former Member said...

It's true then. A Leopard doesn't change it's spots. Based on his diatribe - my memories of col at 4CCR certainly are accurate. Careful Mike, he's threatened legal action for lesser.

A smooth, polished voice isn't everything.

Harry the Bobcat said...

hahhha col threatening legal action "for less" what's he gunna sue with? his dishwash?!! hahhaha tthe guy's have not even two cents to rub together..........just like coward coutts who is wanting to steal money from the radio station because he doesn't have a penny of his own.......never mind - they will both be gone before tooooo long .....yay!!!!!!!!!!!

Rabi Blaauw Blaauw said...

if I met johnson in the street, or the bottom of the stairs of the radio station, i'd ram him with my shopping trolley where the sun don't shine. he's proven himself to be one almighty tosser and such a snake, he should be awarded teh Alan Blake Memorial Award for two-sidedness.

Col Johnson - and I bet you read this - the public out here don't put up with your behaviour. Wake up and go play with your little boys.