Radio station cops flak for in-fighting

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Security vision from the AGM.
Camera IconSecurity vision from the AGM.

The peak body for Australian community radio has called on Albany Community Radio to ditch political in-fighting in the wake of a physical incident at its annual general meeting last week.

The Community Broadcast Association of Australia confirmed it was aware of the ongoing dispute within ACR, after an altercation at last week’s meeting allegedly left a man bruised and on painkillers.

Police were called to the station’s AGM on February 26 after some members nearly came to blows over a leadership no-confidence vote.

A CBAA spokeswoman said it had been working to resolve the dispute.

“The CBAA has had ongoing liaison with the station board, management and members and offered information, resources and access to services including mediation in an effort to calm tension in the station,” she said.

“The CBAA recommends that members take actions that adhere to the station’s constitution and other relevant policies.”

The spokeswoman recommended the station move to establish “a board or management committee that can lead a station that best serves their community”.

The dispute has been ongoing for years, culminating in last week’s confrontation between security and two members, and a protest walk-out by others.

Mark Mehrer, 73, was evicted after 15 minutes, allegedly with a bruised and sore back, after calling for a vote of no-confidence in the station’s leadership.

It was the second time such a motion had been raised, after a 47-4 vote of no-confidence in the board was rejected by leadership as unconstitutional in August, 2018.

Former Perth MP Ian Alexander was a program host for ACR until he was removed from broadcasting following the AGM.

He accused the station’s management of being “extremely heavy-handed” in employing security to the event.

However, station co-ordinator Harold Simmons said members had attempted to hijack the meeting.

“(The motion) was refused on the grounds that no other business other than the agenda business could be discussed,” he said.

“Then all hell broke loose.

“Four times the meeting was adjourned for five minutes to allow those who were disruptive to leave ...or sit down and be quiet.

“Unfortunately this did not happen so the police were called.

“It seems that come hell or high water this group have one aim in mind — and that is to pull the station down.”

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