herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Once I got the radio permit 'they tried to get rid of me'

CLASSIC HITS: Now I can hold my head high again, says fired boss

A FORMER radio boss who learned he was to be sacked just five minutes before a board meeting has spoken of his "appalling treatment".

Martin Block (61) was fired as chief executive of Classic Hits 4FM in October 2009 - just seven months after securing its official broadcasting licence.

He provisionally settled an unfair dismissal case with the station at the Employment Appeals Tribunal on Monday.

Mr Block has today broken his silence on his sacking, claiming that there was an attempt by the station's board to "get rid of me asap".

He told the Herald: "I was appallingly treated. I was the author of the licence (of the station). I had been working on the licence since 2005.

"As soon as I got the radio station up and running, there emerged huge issues between myself and the board. But none of these were ever expressed verbally to me."



Damaging

He added: "There were fractious issues with the board. But I was doing my job. Despite the protests that were made I was doing my job within the budget constrainments.

"In hindsight, it appeared I got the licence for them and they wanted to get rid of me asap. I was let go seven months after the radio station came on air."

Mr Block added that he is "satisfied" with the verdict and that he "holds his head up high".

He told the Herald that the dismissal has resulted in "huge questions about my reputation" but that he hopes to return to the radio industry.

"Of course I hope to return to radio one day, but this dismissal has really blotted my copybook... it's been highly damaging to my reputation".

Tom Mallon, counsel for Choice Broadcasting - the company representing the station - stated that while Mr Block was chief executive, 4FM was "bleeding money".

Mr Mallon said that a number of contracts were awarded and several positions were filled without proper procedures being followed.

In response to Mr Block's claims, the current chief executive of Classic Hits 4FM, Sean Ashmore, told the Herald: "For Classic Hits 4FM, this is very much a thing of the past.

"The issues date back over two years. They predate a lot of the management team who are here now."

He added: "We are quite happy that any outstanding issues have been resolved. We wish Martin the very best of luck and thank him for the work he did for us.

"The details of the resolution are confidential but we are very happy with the outcome."

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