Leadership rift sends student radio Ga-Ga

Michael Fotis - Interviews Editor 1 October 2009

CUR1350’s Station Manager, Martin Steers, is facing a challenge to his position over allegations of profiteering and unprofessionalism. The attempted coup threatens to provide significant disruption to the station in the run-up to the all-important fresher’s week.

A formal call for a ‘vote of no confidence in the Station Manager’ was made by the Head of Membership and Training, Tom Faulkner, two weeks ago.Steers has subsequently been challenged over his alleged attempt to ‘duck the issue’.

Many accusations have been levelled against the manager, including his inability ‘to perform under pressure’, and ‘misinforming his colleagues in an effort to make them look bad in front of the rest of the committee.’ However, no member of CUR1350’s committee has formally declared their interest in challenging Mr Steers for his position, making a rudderless ship a possibility.

However, Steers told The Cambridge Student (TCS) that he had “received a large amount of support from the members of this committee to continue in my role as Station Manager.

“Over this summer we have been very busy on a number of projects. This has meant a huge amount of time and work has been put in by all our volunteers, and naturally as part of this some nerves have been frayed and tempers have flared. Every organisation during its growth and development has problems in its management and disagreements of styles, policies and actions”.

This split first surfaced in an e-mail from the Finance Manager, Edmund Bolton.  The subject line of the e-mail read: “Martin Steers is attempting to personally profit from our community radio station” – a charge Steers denies.

A “new CUR1350 Managerial Code of Conduct” has been proposed, which would also act as a formal warning for Steers. However, this Code of Conduct has not healed the rift. One committee member declared that: “these rules essentially tie his (Steers’) hands in being able to shoulder responsibility that nobody else seems able, or willing to, which would lead to chaos in the station”.

In an e-mail dated 25th September 2009, Steers proposed a meeting in an attempt to avert a blow to the station during Fresher’s week. “Once freshers is over”, the email reads “we can have a meeting to sort the issues out.”

The station has recently garnered critical acclaim, being nominated for nine Student Radio Awards in October 2007 and receiving three, including the prestigious ‘Best Student Station of the Year 2007 – 08′. The station was also awarded a community FM license in March 2009. According to its website, CUR1350 aims to ‘become a 21st Century Media Hub’.

Michael Fotis – Interviews Editor