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Accusations over financial pressures which closed Pennine FM

THE director of Pennine FM says the radio station closed because of mismanagement.

THE director of Pennine FM says the radio station closed because of mismanagement.

Listeners heard a message on Monday night saying that the dedicated Huddersfield station was to cease broadcasting.

Sole director Carl Marx says “severe financial pressure” and “historic debts” forced the closure of the station.

But the previous management deny Mr Marx’s claims.

The licence has been returned to Ofcom and because of the ending of FM spaces due to the forthcoming digital switchover, there is no chance of a reprieve.

Mr Marx told the Examiner that when he took over in September 2009, he found no paperwork.

The Examiner can also reveal that the station owed money to Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), which radio stations must pay to broadcast music, as well as Archiva, an archive company which stores broadcasts.

Arrears on the rent to Huddersfield Rugby Union Club at the Lockwood studio also grew so severe that locks were changed on the building.

Non payment of wages also resulted in a string of employment tribunals which he says were not dealt with.

Mr Marx says it became effectively impossible to turn the station around.

He said: “My priority was to start running the company as a business rather than a radio station.

“Until Christmas this worked and we were reducing the massive debts built up by the previous owners.

“However, January was a horrendous month, and it was apparent that unless investment was found, the station wouldn’t have survived.

“Regrettably all investors who looked at the company identified that previous issues made the venture too high risk.”

Huddersfield Rugby Union club declined to comment about Pennine FM which started life as Home FM.

Previous owner Adam Smith – who took over in May 2009 – strenuously denied the allegations and said Mr Marx’s claims that he could provide backers for the station proved unfounded.

He added that he and partner Stevie Shaw maintain they are owed £30,000 from the sale of the station.

He said: “In our defence Carl Marx is a clever businessman. He did due diligence before taking the station over and had full access to our books.

“He knew what he was taking on and had meetings with the Huddersfield Rugby club.

“We took the station over wanting to give it a new lease of life.

“We ran it successfully month to month but the debts that were there were too big to get rid of. Other stations were having difficulties left, right and centre.

“The landlords did want their money and that’s when we made our decision.

“We took things as far as we could. As for claims Mr Marx has been surprised, he was fully aware of the situation – or why would he have gone on to a station that had already been off air?”

Pennine FM is not linked to Pennine Radio Ltd.

 

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