Strife And Joy

graphic: Jared Hansen

LGBTI community broadcaster Joy 94.9  undergoes another of its periodic upheavals.

From time to time Australian LGBTI community radio station Joy 94.9 is convulsed by internal upheavals and periods of instability – I managed to survive at least three during my time there! It seems another one is currently under way.

First, Program Manager James Findlay was headhunted from the station by JJJ. Since then, popular, successful and well-respected presenters including Dean and Anna Murphy, Chris & Cam from C & C Drive Factory, and others have either left voluntarily or been placed on hiatus, or moved to uncongenial timeslots.

The stirrer understands that Dean Beck, of Word For Word, the long running and highly-regarded program distributed across Australia via the Community Broadcasting Association, and Hide and Seek, has been ordered to take a six month furlough, forbidden to enter the station’s premises during that time.

The CBA, loath to lose such a high-quality program, will run repeats during this time.

As if this haemorrhage of valuable front line talent, whose podcasts were among the most downloaded, were not problematic enough, insiders tell the stirrer that the supporter base is also shrinking and volunteer numbers dropping.

Then last week ongoing technical problems with the stations computer systems came to a head. Joy’s server collapsed Wednesday, leading to fears precious archived content stretching back years had been lost. The station website disappeared, and is only now coming back on line.

The stirrer hears that this is not the first computer problem in recent times: JOY’s systems are said to have been hacked repeatedly in the last 6 months, causing major disruptions, lost data files, and loss of archives: full backups were months behind schedule, making restoring the system even more difficult.

However, it appears everyone can now breathe easy: the lost data is being recovered, according to Joy Operations Manager Josh Pearson. Laying everyone’s fears to rest, he told the stirrer Friday:

“Nothing’s lost, just a malfunction with our provider.   Website on its way back just awaiting over 10 years of podcasts to be restored from backups.”

Those terabytes of data are going to take some time to restore.

Whether the loss of on-air talent and volunteer support can be as easily reversed is yet to be seen.

Comment was sought from the President and Vice President of Joy, but nothing has yet been received.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)