JOY 94.9: When two sides go to war

The SAVE JOY committee has returned serve in what’s descended into a ‘tit-for-tat’ squabble about the running of Melbourne gay and lesbian community radio station JOY 94.9.

It’s returned serve after the board issued a statement in response to a petition that’s called for a spill of all positions at a Special General Meeting.

The SAVE JOY committee has released its own statement to correct what it claims are ‘misconceptions and defamatory’ comments made about the group.

The committee says it is motivated by a love for the station and a concern for the direction its taken under its current management and board.  

The statement is below:

We are made up of passionate volunteers and members whose involvement at JOY spans many years and in some cases, decades. 

Members of the group have given over many years, hours of their lives to broadcast, volunteer, fundraise, donate and generally contribute to the growth and sustainability of this vital community asset.

Our decision to call for a SGM was not the first step we took to try and resolve our issues. We have repeatedly tried to directly engage the JOY board with the issues we have raised. Our issues have either been dismissed, unsatisfactorily addressed or buried and denied.

Furthermore, our intentions are not ‘vicious’ or ‘ridiculous’. To label us so is clearly a blatant PR spin by JOY’s president, Melinda Rich, to smear our reputations and our objectives.

We are not ‘vicious’, we love JOY as much as any other volunteer or listener. For us, JOY is family.

We refute many of the claims in Rich’s statement including the assertion that, ‘a small group of JOY members has sought to bring into the public domain internal matters that deserved to be dealt with in-house’.

The SAVE JOY Committee, since inception, has always wanted to keep its concerns out of the public so as not to risk JOY in any way.

We have followed JOY policies and procedures to the letter to tried repeatedly to seek a resolution. For the sake of full transparency, these are the actions we’ve taken so far:

         1 February 2018: SAVE JOY sent a letter to the board informing them of our concerns and proposed a set of resolutions.

         21 February 2018: Three JOY volunteers – including two life members – met with three board members to further discuss the matter.

         The board sent a letter in response following the meeting, but SAVE JOY was not satisfied with its response. 

Rich also accused the group of stealing a JOY database. This is an accusation we categorically deny and we welcome a full Victoria Police investigation.

We are also seeking legal counsel to pursue a complaint of defamation against Rich and the current JOY Board.

From day one of our interactions with JOY’s board it has been made clear they do not take our concerns seriously.

The board and CEO claim to have achieved high levels of listenership and a healthy financial position. But none of this would have been possible without the 25 years of hard work from a range of volunteers, staff and board members that preceded them.

SAVE JOY is so much more than the leadership illustrated by the 28 people who were prepared to put themselves on the line by signing our recent letter to members.

SAVE JOY is the many, many people who are disgruntled with the direction and management of the station. The many, many people who have let their memberships lapse or actively cancelled their membership after the way they were treated. 

Momentum is growing rapidly for the SGM. 

We urge people who would like to know more about SAVE JOY and members who wish to sign our letter calling for a SGM to reach out to us: [email protected]

The ball is now in the board’s court.

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23 Apr 2018 - 11:40 am

Typical community radio boards ego ego ego. Think about your listener and community that engages with you

24 Apr 2018 - 2:58 am

What memories this invokes of the ‘aspirant group’ run of community radio we got here in Melbourne 20 to 25 years ago (ah, when EDM got served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner)… the days of Hitz FM, Kix FM and even Kiss FM (Kiss, unlike the other two, happens to still be operating on a narrowcasting licence). JOY was also one of these aspirants before being one of the few that got given a full-time licence (in 2001). As each of these aspirants (Hitz, Kix, Kiss) entered the fray and each made their own impression, a management or board tussle was always what followed. If you wrote a book about those days you’d surely title it “From audience impact to navel-gazing”. Neither side communicates very clearly what the essential grievance is that’s being debated, yet the ‘gist of it’ seems all too similar to numerous community radio internal disputes over direction and control. If you agree the head, heart and ego are the key factors that drive decisions, it’s understandable that community radio decisions are probably driven more by the heart than in commercial radio (and this is particularly what made those aspirant days so much fun to be involved with). Yet here’s another example of how difficult it seems to be in community radio to uphold that ideal.


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