Sam ‘not sacked’

16/04/2019 Posted by admin

MILDURA community radio station Hot FM has denied it sacked popular presenter and sports commentator Sam Smythe.

Volunteer Sam Smythe has parted ways with Hot FM after 14 years.

Social media was rife at the weekend that Mr Smythe — a volunteer of 14 years at the station — had been axed by management, however station president and manager Bernard Denner yesterday said that was not the case.

“I didn’t sack Sam,” Mr Denner emphatically said.

“We love Sam … he’s an absolutely fantastic sports commentator and we’d love to have him back in that role, but it’s been made quite clear to me by some that he’s not coming back,” he said.

Mr Denner said Mr Smythe’s departure followed an altercation between the pair last Thursday when the latter was hosting the station’s 5pm to 7pm “flagship” shift.

He said he became upset by Mr Smythe’s inability to manage new technology and which may have had the potential to cause some concern for station sponsors.

“We have provided numerous training sessions for Sam and all new presenters go through a four-week training program — we simply want to be a better community radio station for the volunteers and the listeners,” Mr Denner said.

“I may have been crosser than I should have been with Sam, but my frustrations boiled over,” he said.

“He has to get it right …. that’s all.”

Mr Denner also denied that staff had left the station en masse since he took over as president in December last year.

“One person has been asked to leave and all others have left for personal reasons and have been replaced,” he said.

“Currently, the station is owned by the community, not individuals, and we have 37 community presenters who volunteer their services.

“When I came to this radio station it was a huge mess and if it hadn’t received federal funding in the last budget the station would have been teetering on the brink.

“Now we have new presenters, new programming and have spent $50,000 on new technology to get us out of the 1960s.

“In the past six months the state of the station has improved out of sight.”

Mr Denner said he yesterday invited Mr Smythe back to the station during his own on-air morning program following the weekend flurry of social media.

“I was a hoping Sam might be listening,” Mr Denner said.

“I made it clear that he would be welcomed back with open arms as a sporting commentator — he does that so well and has a great knowledge of local sport,” he said.

“That offer is there, if he chooses not to, then I wish him well.”

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