The cacophony of negative publicity just got louder yesterday at Toronto’s public broadcaster as the call for a special meeting of station supporters has elicited a counter letter from a member of the station's board of directors suggesting a palace coup is in the making with an orchestrated negative publicity campaign backing it.
A press release headlined 'JAZZ.FM91 Targeted in Hostile Takeover Bid' can be viewed here, and below is what Board member Alan Broadbent wrote in a letter emailed to station supporters on Tuesday, Feb. 5:
“I am a Board member of JAZZ.FM91 and a long-time listener, since the days when it was the Ryerson campus radio station. For many of those years, I was a listener but not a donor, until I called the CEO and made a donation to catch up for all those years of free-riding.
“This led to my support of the station in the development and funding of the documentary series Identities, which looked at the path followed by jazz musicians coming to Canada as either refugees or immigrants. Featuring musicians like Robi Botos and Sophie Milman, it told how they and their families arrived, got through the legal and regulatory hoops, and how they found their way to opportunities to play, perform, and record. It told wonderful stories about the human spirit, and about the jazz community embracing them. Identities won an award from the New York Festivals.
“I’m currently supporting the upcoming JAZZ.FM91 documentary, The Journey to Jazz and Human Rights, looking at how jazz and the development of human rights have gone hand in hand. I think this will be another important and award-winning series that will help shine a light on the importance of human rights in creating more just societies.
“The last year has been a difficult one for our station stemming from issues raised by a group of former and current employees and contractors. The JAZZ.FM91 Board conducted an investigation and took the remedial action suggested by the findings. The situation has been exacerbated by a well-funded dissident group aiming to take over the station and its assets. Its actions and accusations have damaged the station and cost us precious resources in order to deal with lawyers and slick communications.
“In my view, most of their claims are invalid. The JAZZ.FM91 Board has been largely renewed with mostly new members with a broad skill set in business and the industry. There has been great new programming, featuring hosts such as Carol Welsman and Marc Jordan. There are new advertisers and sponsors.
“There is no question that the barrage of negativity aimed at the station has hurt fundraising, but most donors are undeterred. JAZZ.FM91 is resilient.
“And, most importantly, it still plays the best music. It is the absolute “go-to” place to hear the best jazz both through radio here at home and through the internet when you’re on the road.
“I believe that the station is on the right track and that the Board is acting in the best interests of the station and its listeners. Those who want to overthrow it haven’t disclosed their plans, their interests, or who is funding their aggressive take-over campaign. Supporting them is very risky. I would suggest you put your proxy vote behind the station’s Board in order to keep supporting the orderly renewal of JAZZ.FM91 which is well underway.
Please click here for a copy of the proxy, previously sent to you. I would ask that you immediately complete it in support of JAZZ.FM91’s current Board and Management team.
JAZZ.FM91 Board Member
Chairman and CEO, Avana Capital Corporation
Chairman and Founder, Maytree