Radio rivals throw insults in the air
A WAR of words has erupted between a new Jewish communityradio station, Jcom, and the nowdefunct Shalom FM.
Jcom was formed after a dispute between Shalom FM presenters and founder Richard Ford over whether the station should be available only on the internet, or should hold out for a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) platform.
Since then, Jcom has been accused of taking support from Shalom FM and of being a “breakaway group” that has given no credit to the original station.
In a letter published in today’s JC, Shalom FM co-founder and now talkSPORT presenter Mike Mendoza accuses Jcom of making “outrageous” claims and being “backstabbing to their former colleagues”.
The new station, he says, has treated Richard Ford “appallingly”, yet its own programmes were “nothing more than a shambles”.
Mr Mendoza’s letter criticises a claim on Jcom’s website that British Jewish media had been limited to print for over a century. He told the JC: “There was a Jewish programme on Spectrum Radio in the 1980s and Shalom FM was broadcast on the internet and several restricted service licences (RSLs). Jcom has taken all the support and sponsors.”
Mr Mendoza, who left Shalom FM three years ago, said: “I’m not bitter.
“I don’t live in London or work in Jewish radio any more. But I feel Richard has been treated appallingly.”
Mr Ford told the JC: “Every director on Jcom, I brought into Jewish radio.”
He said the breakaway came after he declined a suggestion that the station become internet-only, believing there was no audience for it.
“It wasn’t the way forward. The way forward was not RSLs or internet, but 15-hour days with DAB and Sky. I have been in radio since the 1960s and I know how it works.
“We made a profit on Shalom FM. After this there was no point in carrying on. It was my decision to wind it up.” Shalom FM had four RSLs, each one allowing it 28 days of airtime a year.
In 2005, it applied unsuccessfully for a full-time community licence.
Michael Peters, one of six directors of Jcom’s owner, Jewish Communications Limited — all of whom were presenters on Shalom — said: “We never forced Shalom off the air.
“It was Mr Ford’s decision to take it off. Anyone who has supported us has done so of their own free will.
“In 16 days of broadcasting, over 20,000 people have hit ‘listen now’ on the website. We are very excited and we want to take this forward.
“Ofcom won’t say why they denied the community licence, but the rumours were that it would look only at a not-for-profit station.”
He dismissed claims that Jcom did not credit previous Jewish radio.