Wednesday 21 February 2018

Radio station boss denies pressurising top DJ into quitting

Greg Harkin

THE advertising boss at a leading local radio station has denied he pressurised its top DJ into quitting.

Highland Radio is defending an action for constructive dismissal being taken by former presenter Steven Lynch before an Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Today Mr Lynch alleged that his boss John Clancy had “chipped away” at him until  he quit.

He says his wages were cut from an average of €611 per week to €390 after most of his advertising sales clients were taken off him in January 2013. Mr Lynch left four months later saying he could not support his wife and children on the €390 he received for presenting his popular afternoon show.

But giving evidence today, Mr Clancy completely denied all the allegations.

He said he repeatedly tried to encourage Mr Lynch to improve his sales performance.

He said the station's Inishowen sales, of which Mr Lynch was in charge of, were in "cardiac arrest" and needed to be addressed.

One included the idea of Mr Lynch taking off two weeks from his afternoon radio show to concentrate on improving his relationships with his existing clients and building new clients but he refused claiming his show would suffer.

He also said an idea of having an outside broadcast featuring the station's most popular presenter Shaun Doherty for two weeks in Inishowen was also rejected by Mr Lynch.

Mr Clancy said that despite trying repeatedly to address the issue of falling sales, Mr Lynch would not return his emails for a number of days.

He said his job was to drive the sales team and that in 2012, when other radio stations were dropping revenue by 9pc, Highland had actually increased their sales by 8.5pc.

"That was unheard of," said Mr Clancy.

When he heard that Mr Lynch's father was seriously ill, he said he gave him time and didn’t pursue the issue.

"I was trying to help him out. I was trying to create a bit of a buzz. All radio stations were finding it difficult but I was offering to help Stephen," he said.

The case was adjourned until October 6th next.

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