Graham Moir elected to Highland FM community radio station board

FORMER Highland FM community radio co-manager Graham Moir was elected to the Highlands Media Co-operative Ltd board at a heated annual general meeting on Monday night.

Mr Moir’s nomination was originally refused by the former board, which dismissed him from co-manager’s position in January. The board was forced to accept his nomination after it was found the station’s constitution did not allow it to reject it.

Also elected to the board on Monday were presenters Carolyn Beaumont and Zina Thompson and lawyer Tony Glenn. They join Nick Padol, Bobby Stuart and Luke Broadbent on the seven-member board.

Ms Beaumont, who lives in Allambie, near Manly, was elected chairman of Highlands Media Co-operative Ltd and Mr Moir has been appointed as interim station manager.

Ms Beaumont said the permanent station manager would be appointed from Highland FM’s 89 members.

A dispute broke out before the election when Ms Beaumont challenged the right of candidates Stephen Peacock and Terry Oakes-Ash to sit on the board, arguing that as directors of the youth radio station, their election could jeopardise the Highland FM licence.

Mr Peacock said the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had advised that it had no objections to directors serving on the boards of two community stations.

Neither Mr Peacock nor Mr Oakes-Ash was elected.

Mr Peacock is considering challenging the result, since Ms Beaumont’s advice from ACMA, dated October 2, was not listed on the meeting agenda.

The meeting passed resolutions that the agenda and minutes of board meetings be distributed to all members, but rejected resolutions to allow members to attend board meetings during general business and to make quarterly financial statements available.

The meeting also rejected an ordinary resolution from candidate Stephen Richardson, which would allow the board to suspend a member who breached the station’s harassment policy for up to six months.

Mr Richardson’s resolution also called on the members to “draw a line in the sand”, and set aside any grievances not resolved.

“A lot of members feel the board is being taken up by grievances rather than running the station to any great effect,” he said.

“If there’s a grievance going on that hasn’t been sorted out by now it will never be sorted out. It should be closed - finished.”

Retiring director Penny Cowell thanked the outgoing chairman Dianne Hammond, for performing “an extraordinarily good job with grace and integrity”.

While some members expressed concern about the “public and very vitriolic disputes” at the station, member Karl Kroeger described the Southern Highland News’ reporting of these disputes as “gutter journalism”.

“Any dirty washing should be kept behind closed doors and not hung out in public,” he said.

Mr Kroeger also reminded the members of Highland FM’s purpose.

“We are forgetting the most important thing - the listener,” he said.

“Did anyone ever think about the listener here?”