Radar Radio has suspended broadcast following a series of allegations of abusive and exploitive behavior by the company and those around it including some of their artists and their parent company.
The story began when on April 5 Pxssy Palace, an all female London DJ collective creating platforms for women of color and LGBTQ+ people, cut ties with Radar saying they “they have tokenised women, feminism, queer and trans culture.”
In an Instagram post, which is now not available to view because they took their account private, but we saw before it happened, read, "After a string of disappointing experience with Radar, and after having multiple members of our community confide in us regarding the station, we felt the need to speak out."
“We feel that they have tokenised women, feminism, queer and trans culture, and Black and other people of colour, for capitalist purposes, whilst making little to no effort to practise intersectionality within their own organisation.”
They cited some examples to back up their statements that include, via Mixmag: “Allowing the airing of sexist, homophobic and transphobic shows, with no evident attempt to apologise, or take reparatory actions following this”; “the theft of intellectual ideas from people of colour with little transparency or attempt to share credit”; “asking staff (DJs, presenters, producers, members of the in house team) to work for free/low pay - despite financial capability, evidence by them pouring excessive amounts of cash into Radar’s refurbishment and to specific members of management and staff”; and “creating an uncomfortable and toxic environment which has led to the departure of many women of colour staff.”
They also noted that Radar Radio should be well positioned financially given that Ollie Ashley is the son of billionaire founder of Sports Direct Mike Ashley and hated owner of Newcastle Football Club. Radar Radio is funded through MASH Holdings, which gets its money from Mike Ashley who doesn’t like to spend (ask Newcastle fans).
On April 13, Radar Radio released a statement, saying they were built on a “commitment to championing talent from all backgrounds, communities and beliefs” and were “very concerned and disappointed” by the statement by Pxssy Palace.”
They continue, “We have taken immediate action to review and assess any shortcomings with the input of all Radar staff, especially those who are female, LGBTQI+ and POC.”
The statement was published on their website and not sent out via press release or put on socials.
The upper management comes into play for the next part.
A post by Mixed Spices, a former producer, Ashtart Al-Hurra, was posted on Sunday, April 15, which went into more detail about exploitative and abusive workplace practices at the company.
Hurra, a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse, details where she tried to report alleged abuse by fellow employees and artists that the company worked with to senior management and was met with little response or resistance.
“At times when harassment took place at the station itself, I notified whoever was in charge. For some reason, nothing ever really seemed to come of this. Most of the time, though, I was victimized while out at events, but by Radar DJs,” she writes. “To me, this was an industry issue, not just a Radar issue, so I took to Facebook to complain.”
Then an HR person from Eacotts, who works with Sports Direct came in to allegedly sweep things under the rug. Hurra had to recount the problem with the HR person, talk to the manager again and in the end sensitivity training was the solution, but according to her, that never happened.
In addition to that, they made her sign an NDA. “Other than that – and this is where it becomes some real capitalist conspiracy type shit – they made me sign a confidentiality form declaring that I would not reveal any of this information to anybody without the permission of Ollie Ashley or a member of Eacotts. They also asked me not to post any material ‘in any way related to Radar Radio, the Ashley family or the music community’ online.”
She also mentioned that in her nine months working there, she never got paid.
So after all of this, the company has ceased operations and is not broadcasting right now. We will see if this blows over or it is a fatal blow with more stories to come. Stay tuned for more on this.