John Leslie among Castle FM radio hosts locked out

Darren Smith, Ian Schofield, Edwyn Newman, Jim Welsh and Susan Cohen. Picture: Joey Kelly
Darren Smith, Ian Schofield, Edwyn Newman, Jim Welsh and Susan Cohen. Picture: Joey Kelly
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PRESENTERS who staged a mass walkout at a community radio station turned up to demand bosses let them back on the air – but found the studio locked up.

Many of the 98.8 Castle FM staff, including flagship presenter John Leslie, stormed out after a bust-up with management.

Others claim they have been shut out of the volunteer-run station ever since a vote of no confidence in the chairman.

A team of presenters went to the Leith studio during what would have been Leslie’s drive-time slot, but Edwyn Newman, who presented a two-hour jazz show on Sunday evenings until last year, said there were no signs of life.

He said: “As far as we could work out, the studio was locked, the chairman’s room and middle floor looked abandoned.

“We were able to get into the building and up the stairs, but the studio was locked up which is a strange thing.

“I don’t know if the plan was to lock people out, but we didn’t get to speak to anyone.

“I stopped presenting last year, but I am a legitimate and paid up member so I’m allowed to go in and out. It’s a community station and it’s important that it survives and prospers.”

Ralph MacGillivray, who has the Sunday afternoon slot at the station, said he had turned up to broadcast last week, but couldn’t get in.

He said: “I had a show planned for St Patrick’s Day and I had to cancel it because I couldn’t get in and broadcast. I’d got guests lined up, but I managed to tell them on time.

“I’d been before with other presenters and said ‘we just want to come in and do our show while this gets sorted out’. We were told in no uncertain terms not to come back. It’s all because of the vote of no confidence.”

The fall-out follows complaints over the station’s finances – a matter which is being probed by police.

Last week, desperate station bosses advertised for fresh talent on trade website Gumtree – and it is understood that they have been drafting in presenters from other community stations in order to fulfil the terms of their broadcasting licence.

Ian Schofield, who has hosted In Session on Monday evenings for six years, said the presenters had wanted to hold talks about getting back on air.

He said: “We have every right to be in the station and do our shows. It’s a really great station and set up, but this is as bad as things have ever been.”

No-one at 98.8 Castle FM could be reached for comment.