September 25, 2022

First with the Alderney News

Quay FM volunteers ‘on strike’ in support of station manager

3 min read

Dougal Bohan has been station manager since 2014

There is no live broadcast from community radio station Quay FM this morning because its volunteer team have gone on ‘strike’ in support of their station manager.

Dougal Bohan has worked for Quay FM as director/station manager and presenter since it went daily in 2014, and is the only paid member of the not-for-profit enterprise.

Mr Bohan has reportedly recently been under some pressure by several of the station’s other directors to retire from the role as he approaches his 65th birthday next month. They want him to step aside to allow someone new to step in.

But volunteers at the station rallied to Mr Bohan’s side.

Directors at QUAY-FM are the three founder members Colin Mason, John Russell and Mr Bohan himself along with Tony Le Blanc and Barbara Benfield

Director and presenter Tony Le Blanc this week stepped down from his role after volunteers rallied to the side of Mr Bohan.

Mr Russell was asked to to resign, but he refused.

At a meeting held last night volunteers resolved to down tools until Mr Russell also stepped down.

This morning there is no live Breakfast Show being beamed from Quay FM.

All remaining 18 volunteers at the station have now signed a letter to Mr Russell requesting his resignation, which has been pinned to the door of the Quay FM building at Braye.

We are all effectively ‘on strike’,’ said Ralph Burridge, who has presented on the station for 15 years.

‘Sadly, he has made it impossible for us to continue doing what we do unless he stands aside now,’ he said.

Presenter Jenny Rowley said:

‘What it comes to is that three of the directors had been having meetings where they wanted to get rid of Dougal. No-one seems to know why. According to Barbara and Dougal there was a character assassination.

‘They want to retire him because he’s coming up to 65. They said ‘we’ll pay you up to Christmas and then you can be a volunteer. They put him in a corner. Dougal is QUAY-FM. There’s no doubt about it. We all said, ‘we will stand behind you’.

‘We all came up for a meeting and decided that we couldn’t continue to work at Quay FM if John Russell stays we can’t come into work.

‘Dougal rang him up and asked him to resign and he refused. It’s an extraordinary situation.

No-one was at work at Quay FM this morning
A press release and letter to Mr Russell was pinned to the door

Mr Russell offered his side of the story.

He confirmed that the issue of succession had come up in recent meetings. The feeling was, he said, that Mr Bohan was nearing his 65th birthday and it could be an opportunity for him to scale back his demanding role as station manager. This idea was tabled at a ‘robust’ board meeting two days ago.

It was suggested he could be paid his full salary until Christmas and after that continue as a volunteer, allowing someone else to take the reins as station manager.

According to Mr Russell that idea was thrown out. A second option was was discussed whereby Mr Bohan split his salary 50-50 with a deputy in an open ended arrangement. That, he claimed, was accepted by all parties as a way forward.

Shortly afterwards however, Mr Bohan informed Mr Russell he planned to take a months holiday and part ways with Quay FM.

According to Mr Russell, when the prospect then loomed of all the volunteers walking out in support of their station manager, he offered to keep Mr Bohan in his current role and restore the status quo. But volunteers were unanimous in seeking his own resignation.

Mr Russell is seeking advice from broadcast regulator, Ofcom.

A bunch of flowers left at the station this morning

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