4ZZZ – 2013 AGM

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday

we won’t get fooled again – The Who*

2013 4ZZZ Annual General Meeting

The 2013 AGM was well attended and the main item on the agenda was the removal of board member and chairperson, Kath Bates.

Removal of board member
At the meeting, the board revealed that the chairperson (Kath Bates) wanted to discipline the then sole manager (Michelle Brown) – the majority of the board disagreed with its chair and did not accept that the manager’s behaviour warranted discipline.
In a democratic vote of members  the meeting removed the chairperson from the board of Creative Broadcasters Pty Ltd. There was no discussion of what the manager did or did not do that led to the dispute that split the board.
In correspondence from the board and chairperson the dispute was portrayed as a difference over what the memorandum and articles of association of creative broadcasters mean. These articles of association unambiguously state that the board are elected for a period of two years; not one as previously thought. The meeting was told that all the board members elected at this AGM will vacate their positions after one year (i.e. at the 2014 AGM). The memorandum and articles are seriously out of date (they were out-of-date when they were drafted). A review of the constitution was ordered. A number of the incoming board discussed the nature of the relationship between the board and paid workers at the station. The wages bill is the single largest item on the balance sheet of Creative Broadcasters Pty Ltd being just shy of $250K. All of the prospective board members characterised the relationship as being that of employer (board)/employee (paid workers). One person asked how the 8 board members felt about this as there are only 2 full-time workers at the station. The 4ZZZ constitution (drafted in the early 1970s) actually refers to the power of the board to  remove its ‘servants’ (sic). 4ZZZ operates from subscriptions and volunteers. Yet its constitution remains in the dark ages. Approximately 1/3rd of its funding comes from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA).
4ZZZ as a media organisation?
In his critique of Zed as a News broadcaster Alan Knight states: ‘It attempted but not always achieved independent and critical news.’

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Yet there was very little discussion of the news room or its function at the AGM.
When the constitution of 4ZZZ was drafted the station was a stepping stone into a career in mainstream journalism, for some. Here is a shortlist of ex-Zed reporters:
  • Marian Wilkinson reporter for 4 Corners previously Exec Producer of 4 Corners (i.e its boss for about a decade) also Washington Correspondant for both ABC and SMH, also Managing Editor SMH.
  • Prof Alan Knight, ABC Radio and TV reporter, who now runs Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS
  • Jim Beatson was the Aust. Correspondant for The Guardian and written for Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Time magazine, etc etc, radio presenter and producer for BBC Radio etc
  • Ray Moynihan ex 4 Corners and 7.30 Report as a reporter
  • Andy Nehl, ex GM Network J, Head of Television, AFTRS, Producer of The Chaser for ABC TV
  • Prof Steve Stockwell, Head of Journalism School Griffith Uni (Gold Coast)
  • Amanda Collinge, Amanda was the Producer SBS Dateline as well as being a reporter for JJJ and SBS.
  • Margo Forster EP of RN’s Bush Telegraph for a decade, also a reporter there.
The financial statement showed an almost 20% reduction of cash flow from member subscriptions in the 2013 financial year compared with 2012 year. This will be partially reversed in 2014 by the radiothon that occurred after the end of the financial year.
4zzz agm 2013
4zzz agm 2013

Notice of Annual General Meeting

All subscribers are invited to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) being held by Creative Broadcasters Ltd. See http://www.4zzzfm.org.au/boardofdirectors

Date: Monday, 2nd December 2013
Time: 7.00 pm sharp (arrivals from 6:30-7pm please)
Where: Maida Lilley Community Centre Level 1, 5 Green Square Close, Fortitude Valley (Corner of Alfred and Constance Streets)

: Recently there has been a lot of discussion about how 4ZZZ is run.

Much of the discussion has focused on legal matters, ‘articles of association’ using words like ‘governance’.

Whatever your opinion of 4ZZZ no one sees it as a corporation, least of all its members.

4ZZZ is a community organisation run by a collective and for it to continue the decisions made need to be democratic.

Zed is also a workplace which should also be democratic; there should be no talk of bosses telling workers what to do.

See the history of 4ZZZ as told by Alan Knight – Won’t get fooled again: The 25th anniversary of radical radio in Queensland.Thanks to Radical Times

All members who are able should attend as it’s a chance to hear how the station has been going over the last year financially etc and for election of new Board members.

4zzz board 2013-14 (only) michelle - one of 4zzz's managers is seated at far right
4zzz board 2013-14 (only)
michelle – one of 4zzz’s managers is seated at far right

It is important for people to participate otherwise the words of The Who will surely come around again:

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!”
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

So where to now? In an age of internet streaming a radio licence may prove to be more of an impediment than an advantage to community broadcasting – especially if you wish to retain the original purpose of 4ZZZ as an independent media organisation, not answerable to government restrictions that protect the rich and keep management of the station tied to government funding for their wages.

Ian Curr
28 Nov 2013

*First song played on 4ZZZ in 1975

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