An open letter to the board of WMAfm
16 April, 2013
When I first moved to Castlemaine I would tune in to WMAfm occasionally to try and what was happening locally. Most of the time I heard the same music repeated hour after hour with nary a presenter in earshot – most disappointing. When I listened in the evenings there were some interesting shows but they seemed to be a bit thin on the ground. Lately, that changed, the grid filled out, the muzak dried up. Broadcasts sounded more relevant to what was going on in town.
Having had a bit of experience with radio in Melbourne and finding a station that was doing something that I wanted to be a part of, I decided to get in touch. The station manager, Martin Myles was very welcoming and energetic. He had a vision for the station that was in line with its mission statement – to be an exemplar of community radio. Martin realised, as I did, as all the readers of this letter will, that we are lucky to live in an amazing town with a deep pool of talent and genius.
It is a great pity that the board of WMAfm has chosen to end its association with Martin who did excellent work transforming the station into something representative of the whole community. During Martin’s time as Station Manager, WMAfm moved from being an under-attended station to a living entity with a full grid broadcasting a wonderfully diverse range of shows.
Locals now have a place to tune in to check the pulse of town, not just sporadically, but all the time. And not just the pulse of a week day morning clique. This is the essence of community and it is rightly celebrated by those who listen in – and there are loads listening in now: every one I speak to in my travels around town agrees that the station has blossomed.
In an email to presenters announcing Martin’s dismissal, the WMAfm secretary advised that the “decision was made in the best interest of our members and WMAfm.” WMAfm’s mission statement states that it aims to be the small community radio station by which others are judged and a station in which its volunteers can have real pride. I am concerned that the committee’s decision to sack Martin is based on personal politics and not the best interest of the station as a whole – presenters and listeners. I challenge the committee of management to provide evidence that they have the whole community’s interests at heart, and not just those of a select few.
May WMAfm continue to be a guiding light to other stations and to our listeners, providing an eclectic and inspiring mix of programming that showcases all facets of our splendid community.
With best wishes for the future