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Radio Academy's future unclear

By James Cridland for media.info
Posted 11 December 2014, 3.32am est

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  • Trustees to all stand down in March
  • Extraordinary General Meeting to be called in February
  • Members to be given a vote about future direction of Academy
  • Trustees split
  • Founder member says he is "ashamed and disappointed"

In the Annual General Meeting, held last night in Broadcasting House, Radio Academy Chair Ben Cooper announced an EGM, which he hopes will happen in February. During this EGM, members would be given the chance to vote on proposals for the Academy's future.

Ben Cooper confirmed that, financially, the Radio Academy could survive until the end of March.

In a meeting that was at times fractious and bad tempered, Ben Cooper spoke passionately about the need for an industry-wide body. "We need to unchain ourselves from governance which has allowed some people to use the Academy for their own ends," he said. He believed that the Radio Festival should return to London, and be open to other industries, he said. However, he said, this view is not shared by all Trustees.

"I believe in the Radio Academy," he said. "I believe I was given a hospital pass by the previous chairman", he said, alluding to Global's Ashley Tabor. Describing differences between the Trustees, he said, "it's been like herding cats."

Gloria Abramoff, temporary part-time CEO and the only staff member of the Radio Academy to survive the cuts, highlighted the amount of organisations the Radio Academy worked with, and paid tribute to the editorial focus of the Festival. However, she added, it lost money.

Former CEO John Myers described it as "bad timing" that both the Festival and the Radio Academy Awards had both lost money in 2014. While the Awards were planned to be loss-making, the Festival was hoped to still earn revenue, he said. It was, in his opinion, hugely important that the Awards and the Festival continue.

Deputy Chair Travis Baxter announced that all Trustees were to stand down at the end of March, giving a "clean slate" for the Academy's future.

However, one founder member, David Treadway, said that he was "ashamed and disappointed" at what he'd heard. "We need leadership," he said. "All I'm hearing is vague statements. This is just nonsense."

We have comprehensive notes from the event.

More information

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James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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Comments

PRO2 years, 11 months ago

There are blogs on this from others...

Just imagine [Ben Cooper's] gig. Behind closed doors, you chair an organisation which is funded by, essentially, three factions which are at war during the day; and have to reach accord over warm orange juice by night. - David Lloyd

While the need for change is acknowledged, nobody senior seemed willing to offer suggestions as a way of getting the ball rolling. For a meeting filled with some of the industry’s biggest brains that disappointed. - John Collins

It does feel that the old Academy has been dismantled before anyone has any clear vision of what the new Academy will look like. And that’s probably the biggest frustration everyone has. - Adam Bowie

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