Trouble at Tulip FM as bosses pull the plug

Hereward Media, the organisation recently announced as saviours of Tulip Radio, has pulled out of its plan to rescue the station.

The company cites ‘irreconcilable differences’ between them and the former station management, after what they describe as a ‘catalogue of unhelpful behaviour’.

A message has appeared on the station’s Facebook page saying the station has now closed. It reads: “God Bless everyone who have been so helpful, kind and supportive to Tulip Radio, we will always be grateful to you all. Thank you, we all enjoyed it whilst it lasted and thank you for supporting our great volunteers who gave up their time willingly to present the programmes and give as much knowledge to you about what was going on in our community as we could. Many thanks x.”

In response to RadioToday for a comment, Tulip Radio’s Chris Carter said: “In Mid December Tulip Radio entered into an agreement with Hereward Media to undertake solution of technical issues and engage more presenters to enable us to continue our Community Radio service and to maintain our Key Commitments to Ofcom, the government regulator.

“It was agreed that Hereward Media would provide these services entirely free of charge.It became increasingly clear that over the last two weeks that our established aims and objectives didn’t coincide with those of Hereward Media.

“A meeting which was arranged, to which they were invited to discuss matters, but they declined to attend when our accountant found he was too busy to be there. Eventually on Friday, we advised Hereward Media that the best interests of Tulip Radio Limited were not being served by continuing our association with them and that the arrangement was terminated forthwith.

“Accordingly broadcasting ceased and we shall be informing Ofcom that we intend to hand in our Community Radio licence, ending 7 years of full time Community service following several month long trial broadcasts commencing in 2001, naturally we are all extremely sorry that this has ended.

“Once again we would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts all our presenters, sponsors, advertisers and friends who have faithfully supported us over the last 16 years.”

Alex Geairns, Station Director of Hereward Media commented: “We believe there has been a steady backtracking by Tulip Radio as to what had been agreed. In a crunch meeting last Friday, it was made clear to us that since we entered into the partnership, Tulip Radio has received numerous other offers of technical and presentational help. They seemed to consider they would be better served by people who didn’t want anything to change. In addition, they wanted to shut the station down immediately, and it was difficult to convince them otherwise. Our original strategy was to implement what we believed was necessary, in our view essential, and were led to believe we could simply get on with things. This was not the case. We had to scrap our plans for a new logo, brand, on-air identity, signage, and a new responsive website, as their reaction was so hostile to these revisions. As a charitable organisation, we have invested a significant amount of resources to make a success of this project, and are now forced to retreat to protect our charity.

“They wanted a business plan, which is difficult when you don’t have any information to build one from. I was unable to obtain details of previous advertiser deals, new grant bids which had been submitted, outgoing expenses, and previous market research which had been carried out, despite numerous requests. This wasn’t a start-up operation, so it wouldn’t have been right to treat it as such in any projections for taking the business forward. We weren’t even allowed access to the general ‘admin’ email address that people contact the radio station on, as these were deemed as ‘personal’.

“When you are trying your best and meeting such resistance, then it is frustrating to say the least. We wanted this to be ‘the station you can really call your own’ for the people of Spalding and South Holland, and had even begun taking on training of local presenters. But you can’t keep banging your head against a brick wall when so much necessary information is being with-held. As it is, we believe Hereward Media is within its rights to claim standard market rates for the hours put in, and the expenses incurred. Something is very wrong when, after all our efforts, I just feel relieved that we have finally taken action to get clear of this nightmare.”

Nik Fox, Technical Director of Hereward Media noted: “Financial information has not been forthcoming, with their line being to simply trust them while they sorted things out for their year-end. There was no time initially for due diligence by us, as speed was of the essence. Now, six weeks later, there has been a constant failure to provide information on the state of the business, and no assistance in carrying out company requirements as specified in the Memorandum. There is probably nothing to worry about, but one key staff member claimed they didn’t even know who the Limited company banked with, which was very concerning and contrary to other evidence we had.

“There were some niggling acts of what can only be called sabotage, these being self-inflicted wounds at that. For instance, internet routers suddenly being off in parts of the building we were deliberately not given the keys to. And then network cables which you have to press a tab to release from their sockets were disconnected, and these were ones related to specific functions – it was not random and not by accident.”

Nik and Alex from Hereward Media

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