St Albans’ Radio Verulam faces hostile takeover coup

The inside of Radio Verulam

The inside of Radio Verulam - Credit: Archant

Radio Verulam has been targeted by a takeover coup from within its own ranks.

Just before the local station’s annual general meeting, an unidentified person tried to register 25 new voting members, a figure which would account for about a third of the membership.

Although the exact intentions of this action are unclear, if all the membership applications had been accepted, they would have held enough sway to dictate company decisions.

When the board of directors approached the volunteer who registered the group, they gave Radio Verulam an ultimatum - accept the new members or face legal action.

Radio Verulam has sought their own legal advice and rejected the applications.

One of the directors, Clive Glover, said: “We were shocked and obviously very disappointed that someone has felt they needed to take this action.

“We do not understand why - we were aware of people raising issues and inevitably in an organisation people will have different views but we always try to reach a consensus.

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“Unfortunately we have had to take legal action.”

The sudden influx of members hailed from all over the country and were paid for in one single payment.

An email sent round to volunteers said: “This appears to have been a co-ordinated attempt to take control of the company with assistance from an existing volunteer or volunteers, by people from outside our area with no previous connection to the radio station.

“We can only interpret this a ‘hostile takeover’ but do not know the intentions behind it.”

The company directors have now tightened membership rules - only people living in AL postcodes or who have volunteered at the station for more than six months can apply to be includefd within its ranks.

It added: “We believe that this is a step we must take in order to ensure that the radio station remains one which is run for the benefit of our community as required by our OFCOM Broadcasting licence conditions.

“Unfortunately, this attempt has wider implications which we are working through.”

There are six directors, one chairman, and about 50 members at the parent company of Radio Verulam, Verulam Community Radio Limited.