Ra­dio ri­vals throw in­sults in the air

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY RACHEL FLETCHER

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.

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